China confronts its Uyghur threat
By Elizabeth Van Wie Davis

A suicide bomb attempt on a plane from the restive western region of Xinjiang in China en route to the home of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing highlights a key security dilemma for Beijing: the Olympics have become a stage to showcase political grievances and a challenge for the host to combat violent political agendas.

While the Tibetan riots capture the attention of the Western media, Chinese officials say Uyghur militants are entering the far western province of Xinjiang - particularly across the isolated Pamir Mountains in the south that separate China from Tajikistan and Afghanistan - from training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The well-funded and well-schooled militants allegedly obtain money and plans directly from sponsors and from their involvement in smuggling opium and heroin from Central and Southeast Asia.

Uyghurs are the majority ethnic group in Xinjiang and also have a