It was Friday, the Islamic day of assembly, but outside Kashgar’s Id Kah mosque on Liberation Avenue it was the growl of diesel engines that filled the air not a muezzin’s wistful cry.
One by one armoured personnel carriers, some with machine guns poking from their turrets, rolled towards People’s Square where a 12-metre statue of Mao Zedong was preparing to preside over the latest in a series of tub-thumping “anti-terror” rallies to be held here in the heartlands of China’s Muslim Uighur minority this year.
Open-backed lorries packed with heavily-armed troops joined the procession, red and yellow propaganda banners draped from their sides.
“Unity and stability are blessings! Separatism and unrest are a curse!” read one.[Source]