Passengers and crew on a Tianjin Airlines flight in the Xinjiang province in China, overpowered and subdued six people who attempted to hijack the plane shortly after takeoff. Local authorities said the six suspects were all were members of the Uighur minority group who make up almost half the population that forms China's Western border with Central Asia. Several passengers and security guards were hurt in the brawl after the hijackers attempted to storm the cockpit.
It's not clear what they intended to do with the plane after taking it over, but the Uighurs are a Muslim minority group in China that have closer ties ethnically and culturally to the Turkic populations in nearby Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Much like the Tibetans to the South, the minority population has clashed with Communist authorities who have cracked down on attempts to break away from Beijing over the last decade. In 2009, protests in Xinjiang turned deadly when confrontations between police and Uighur marchers left nearly 200 people dead. Chinese authorities have blamed violence in the region on Muslim extremists have sentenced dozens of people to prison and death in the last few years after accusations of inciting violence and terrorism.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.