China’s Xinjiang Tightening Border Amid Threats of Extremism

Police stand guard in 2013 in Shanghai, China. Photo: Tim Sheerman-Chase / Flickr

BEIJING — China says it is tightening border controls in its northwestern Xinjiang region amid rising terrorism threats.


State media reported Tuesday that Xinjiang’s governor Shohrat Zakir made the pledge in a speech at the region’s main annual political meeting on Monday. Zakir said increased measures taken in the last year would be further strengthened.

Xinjiang has long been home to a simmering insurgency against Beijing’s rule being waged by extremists among the native Turkic-speaking Uighur (WEE-gur) ethnic group, who are mainly Muslim and culturally distinct from most Chinese.

Xinjiang shares a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan and four nations in the often volatile Central Asian region. Uighur extremists have also been reported to have joined the fighting in Syria and were blamed for a deadly attack on a Buddhist temple in Thailand.