One side points to a series of brazen attacks attributed to Islamic extremists.
The other side complains of religious and ethnic persecution by government authorities.
A Washington Post story last month highlighted worsening relations between Chinese leaders and Muslim Uighurs in that nation’s western Xinjiang region.
Key history from the Post:
For years, many Uighurs and other, smaller Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have agitated against China’s authoritarian government. Their protests are a reaction, Uighur groups say, to oppressive official policies, including religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.
The government has long denied oppressing Uighurs or any other ethnic group and has blamed terrorist acts on separatist Muslims who want to make Xinjiang an independent state.
In a report titled “Who are the Uighurs?” BBC News noted:
Activists say central government policies have gradually curtailed the Uighurs’ religious, commercial and cultural activities. Beijing is accused of intensifying a crackdown after street protests in Xinjiang in the 1990s, and again in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Over the past decade, many prominent Uighurs have been imprisoned or have sought asylum abroad after being accused of terrorism. Mass immigration of Han Chinese to Xinjiang had made Uighurs a minority in Xinjiang.
Beijing is accused of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists in order to justify repression in the region.
The above background helps understand the context of a front-page Wall Street Journal story today that features this provocative headline:
Web Preaches Jihad to Chinese Muslims
(Hint: If you hit a paywall when you click the story link, try Googling the exact words of the headline to get an “article free pass.”)
The top of the WSJ story: