Saturday, July 11, 2015

China says Uighurs being sold as 'cannon fodder' for extremist groups

REUTERS - Sat Jul 11, 2015  

BEIJING | By Ben Blanchard

Uighurs from China's Xinjiang are being given Turkish identity papers in Southeast Asia by Turkish diplomats and then taken to Turkey where some are sold to fight for groups like Islamic State as "cannon fodder", a senior Chinese official said.
Beijing says the Turkic language-speaking Uighur minority are firstly Chinese nationals, and those who flee China should be returned to their home region in the far west of the country bordering central Asia.
"Turkish embassies in Southeast Asia will give them proof of identity," Tong Bishan, division chief of the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Investigation Department, told a small group of foreign reporters in Beijing on Saturday.
"They are obviously Chinese but they will give them identities as Turkish nationals."
The accusation is likely to further anger Ankara, already alarmed by the return of more than 100 Uighurs to China from Thailand this week.
Some Turks see themselves as sharing a common cultural and religious heritage with their Uighur "brothers".