Chinese police have detained two people after a domestic flight from the western region what China calls Xinjiang was forced to turn around when a passenger set fire to toilet paper in the washroom, state media said on Saturday.
The official Xinhua news agency said the China Southern flight was bound for the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
"The crew of the flight CZ6939 ... discovered the passenger's behaviour some time after take-off," Xinhua said, citing Xinjiang police sources.
"Two passengers, including a man and a woman, were taken away by police after the flight landed at the Diwobao International Airport in Urumqi," it added, referring to East Turkistan's regional capital.
"The case is being investigated," Xinhua said, without elaborating.
China subsequently banned passengers taking lighters or matches aboard flights. China airport security screening is normally very strict.
East Turkistan has 8 million Uighurs and historical records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4000 years.
Uighur demonstrators took the streets in Urumqi on July 5 to protest against Han Chineses’ attacks on Uighurs workers at a factory in south China in June which left two Uighurs dead. Hans in Urumqi sought bloody revenge two days later.
World Uighur Congress said that near 800 Uigurs were killed during a week-violence after Han Chineses attacks and following intervention of China forces. The China governmnet put the death toll 197.
Many Uighurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.
Meanwhile, human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.
ReutersLast Mod: 31 Ocak 2010, 11:30