Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015

China imposes airline-like restrictions on bus passengers in Xinjiang capital

Published on Jul 25, 2014 7:59 PM
A Uighur man looks on as a truck carrying paramilitary policemen travels along a street during an anti-terrorism oath-taking rally in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on May 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has banned bus passengers in the capital of western Xinjiang region from carrying items ranging from cigarette lighters to yogurt, state media said on Friday, in the latest effort by authorities to prevent violent attacks.

The new rules in the capital Urumqi, similar to restrictions usually imposed by airlines, reflect how nervous officials are about trying to contain outbreaks of violence in the region, home to the Muslim Uighur minority.

Xinjiang has been beset by violence for years, blamed by the government on Islamist militants and separatists it says are bent on establishing an independent state called East Turkestan.

Fires have erupted on buses in various parts of China, including in two eastern cities, Hangzhou and Guangzhou. Authorities have blamed those incidents on arsonists, not militants.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!