Beijing's severe treatment of Uighurs – and Tibetans, too – may be an attempt to prevent a breakup similar to that of the Soviet Union.
Police established a curfew Tuesday, as 20,000 security forces roamed the streets. Internet connections have also been cut to prevent the violence from 'spreading.'
The violence brings into question China's hard-line policy against Uighur ethnic minority.
Given political sensitivities and a Stalinist grip on the region's population, no one – from Uighurs on the street to Beijing intellectuals – appears willing to talk.
A villager from western China, Qi Xuewu headed east in search of a better life, joining 140 million ambitious migrant workers.
Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese come together at a local university in the restless region of Xinjiang to surmount poor equipment – and decades of enmity.
The attack highlights security threats posed by China's extremist groups in the run-up to the Olympics.