91e6620446f86f380e309b28_ms3805c.jpg Margaret Scott

An Old Problem on China’s New Frontier

In the short and medium term, China’s rule in Xinjiang (and Tibet) seems secure: the international community will not challenge a Security Council member state. In the longer term, however, the Chinese authorities have every reason to be worried, because political maps are never carved in stone.

WARSAW – Had the August 1991 putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev not failed, the riots and death recently seen in Xinjiang could have been taking place in Russia. Instead of hearing about a crackdown in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, we might be reading about hundreds killed on the streets of Almaty, and columnists would be making comparisons to the bloody crushing of Ukrainian independence demonstrations in Lvov the previous year.