The uncomfortable truth is that in the years after 9/11, the United States was often willing to accept China’s depiction of Xinjiang as a strategic outpost in its global war on terrorism. In 2001, the U.S. government held 22 Uighurs in Guantánamo Bay—a decision now widely seen as a mistake. Then, as now, China has worked to tie the Uighur separatist movement to international terrorism.
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