18 July 2017
Dozens of police officers wearing bulletproof vests and toting assault rifles guard the camp of an international off-road race across China’s troubled far-western region of Xinjiang. The show of strength at the mobile camp that follows the Silk Way Rally highlights China’s concerns about security in Xinjiang, a vast region that has been hit by violence in recent years.
The Silk Way Rally, which held its first race in 2009, aims to rival the famed Dakar Rally which has run every January since 1979.
The capital of Urumqi, this past weekend’s race stopover, was the scene of a bombing that killed 43 in 2014 and riots that resulted in about 200 deaths in 2009.
The rally “has to be secured and protected because the character of terrorism is there whether the event is organised in Paris, in London or in Xinjiang”, Rohan Gunaratna, a professor of security studies at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told AFP.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 19/07/2017