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Violence In Western China Harms Trade With Tajikistan

Chinese authorities have cracked down on the unrest in Xinjiang, neighboring Tajikistan.
KHORUGH, Tajikistan -- The deputy customs chief for Tajikistan's eastern Badakhshan Province says border traffic between China and Tajikistan has nearly stopped since violence broke out in China's Xinjiang Province two weeks ago, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Yormahmad Faqirov told RFE/RL that almost no traffic is moving through the post at Qulma -- the only border crossing between China and Tajikistan.

Faqirov said before the deadly violence broke out in Xinjiang, some 25 vehicles loaded with goods would cross the border every day. But since the riots began in Urumchi, the capital of Xinjiang, a total of 57 vehicles have crossed the border, or just three or four each day.

Tajik trader Nigina Vatanbekova, who just returned from Xinjiang, told RFE/RL that she hid in several hotels during the weeks of unrest and returned to Tajikistan without any goods.

Vatanbekova said the Chinese border guards are searching all computers and mobile phones and deleting all photos taken in China.