Pair of FT stories by Kathrin Hille on Xinjiang one year after the outbreak of Uighur riots.
Beijing's response has been two-fold: install all sorts of officials through Xinjiang and push social programs designed to make the locals feel less squeezed out of economic opportunities by the influx of Han Chinese settlers. Good example: the government checks all families and if it finds one that has everybody out of work, a job is automatically arranged for one member. Another: gov plans to make Kashgar (prominent city) a special economic zone.
Kashgar is sort of a gateway city to Central Asia--part of the old northern Silk Road.
Beijing is now promising "leapfrog development" for the region: per capita GDP raised to the national average by 2015 and more revenues from oil and gas development. The north side of Xinjiang has done well with O&G, but the south has not benefitted particularly, and that's where the Uighurs are concentrated.
What is this but domestic pre-emptive COIN?
Can Kashgar become a vibrant SEZ? That would require creating or tapping local markets, and the question is, will Beijing risk all that connectivity with Muslim Central Asia?
You should begin to see the strong overlap of US and Chinese security/economic development interests for Central Asia. We're there because of 9/11, and the Chinese are increasingly there because of their restive West.