China Installs Thousands of Surveillance Cams in Muslim Uighur Region

The cams come ahead of the anniversary of a crackdown on separatist protesters.
Publish date:
Updated on

A year ago, in July 2009, China came down violently on protests in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in its far northwest, earning widespread condemnation from human rights groups.

Ahead of the anniversary of the unrest--just the latest in a long history of ethnic tension in the Muslim-majority area--China is plastering the regions' capitol city, Urumqi, with high-definition surveillance cameras.

Several news reports say some 8,000 cameras are now installed. Xinhua News Agency reports the cams have "riot-proof" protective shells. Cameras were installed on more than 3,000 buses, at 200 bus stops, 270 schools and 100 stores or malls--with an additional 4,000-plus on public streets,

The 2009 arrests ("riots" according to the Chinese government) injured nearly 2,000 people. Amnesty International reports that with news blackouts and tight control of travel, reliable information from the area is tough to get.

Some 8.5 million Uighur Muslims live in sprawling, oil-rich Xinjiang, which has been under China's control since 1949. The Chinese government reported in June that it had smashed a terrorist ring in the region and has long maintained that Muslim separatists pose a violent threat to the nation.

Follow Government Video on Twitter: