The ongoing unrest in China’s Xinjiang has seen small numbers of Uyghurs mobilise to support an independent state for themselves. As a result, there is a diplomatic row brewing between two of the world’s major powers.
The diplomatic row surrounding the 2018 Olympics in the Chinese city of Beijing – for which China has already spent more than $40bn – threatens to undermine host nation’s commitment to opening its doors to foreigners.
Russia, for instance, has been quick to distance itself from the Chinese government, refusing to confirm that it will send its team to China in time for the global sporting event.
Turkey also has no plans to send its athletes, having suspended its Russian Olympic Committee over the unrest in November.
The Chinese government has been accused of mishandling the original uprising in Xinjiang, especially by members of the Uyghur minority, who in the early 1990s were officially labeled “terrorists”.
The claim is vehemently denied by the Chinese authorities, who insist that all of the violence was instigated by separatists.
Their claims have been backed up by the US State Department, which said last month that it was “concerned with the Chinese government’s arrest and detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang”.
“The current situation, as well as other incidents, raise questions about the Chinese government’s commitment to human rights,” the Department said.