Sunday, August 24, 2014

The separatist shuffle hits Europe and China

While Islamic State and Eastern Ukraine have dominated the news cycle, Fortune points out the parts of Europe on the verge of secession.
Many in Europe fear that Scotland’s independence fervor could ripple across the continent, where a number of separatist campaigns have simmered for years. The hotspots range from the mountainous Basque region at the border of Spain and France to the Mediterranean island of Corsica to the lowlands of Belgium, where many in the Flemish majority want to say tot ziens to their French-speaking countrymen. Some of these movements have a history of violence; several more seem merely rhetorical—and, well, quixotic (independent Venice?).
Separatism, as it turns out, is a crime in China -- particularly if you're a Uiguhr scholar.
Although the Chinese Constitution provides the nation’s 10 million Uighurs with a large degree of autonomy, the vast Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, as it is called, is tightly controlled by ethnic Han officials who are appointed by the central government in Beijing. Uighurs, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people, have grown increasingly unhappy with policies that they say restrict religious practices while favoring Mandarin over the Uighur language in schools and government jobs.

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