The Uighurs (or Uyghurs) are Turkic people who inhabit the western Chinese region of Xinjiang and are often resistant to rule by the Han, the dominant ethnicity in China. Ethnic violence in the region has resulted in hundreds of deaths this year.
The Uighurs who have been detained in Thailand claim they are Turks and should not be sent back to China. Chinese diplomats have been visiting the detainees and trying to persuade them to return to China, but the Uighurs have continued to insist they are Turks and to ask to be sent to Turkey. They do not want to return to East Turkestan of China.