TAIPEI (TheStreet) -- Chinese officials have spent well over a decade recruiting foreign investors to the country's vast northwest. Now repeated acts of violence linked to Uighur Muslim separatists are threatening the region's reputation.
But the rash of attacks linked to Muslim separatists in or from the Xinjiang region of China will not take the fabled trans-Asian Silk Road trading route stop off the modern investment map.
The reason comes down to global politics. China sees the Muslim autonomy seekers as "terrorists," generating quiet nods from the normally skeptical U.S. and other Western countries which occasionally face their own restive fringe elements.
China announced Sunday a one-year campaign against what state-run China Daily calls "terrorism and religious extremism." Foreign governments already fearful of violent Muslim causes will say little or nothing as the government strikes back. They might quibble with a similar Chinese crackdown in Tibet, which is fiercely defended by Western human rights groups.
China has probable cause on its side, as well. Explosives killed 39 people in a public market on Thursday and hurt 94. A railway station bomb and knife attack in the same region last month left one dead and 79 injured. China blamed Xinjiang separatists for another railway station attack outside the region that killed 29 people on March 1.
Xinjiang's ethnic Uighurs, who have a central Asian appearance, follow Islam and speak a language unlike Chinese. They form an underclass across the tract of mountains and deserts bordering Mongolia. Since China annexed Xinjiang in 1951, ethnic Chinese have run the economy. Beijing also controls religious expression, use of native languages, the time zone and architectural styles, preferring modern post-Soviet over traditional central Asian.