BEIJING — A China Southern Airlines flight had to turn around Saturday, returning to the capital of China's restive Xinjiang region after a passenger burned toilet paper in the washroom, state media reported.
The crew of the flight from Urumqi, in the west, to the central city of Wuhan, discovered the passenger's actions after take-off, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Police said a man and a woman were arrested after the flight landed, according to Xinhua.
The case is under investigation, the report said, giving no further details.
The security situation is more tense in Xinjiang than other parts of China because Beijing says it faces a serious separatist threat in the region.
Exiled members of the region's Muslim Uighur majority say Beijing exaggerates the threat to justify harsh controls in the region, which is rich in energy reserves and borders several central Asian countries.
Earlier this year, authorities also issued orders to step up identity checks and monitor religious activities in Xinjiang in a renewed bid to quash terrorism, separatism and extremism, state media reported.
And, of course, China is wiser than us, when it comes to handling terrorists. We give KSM the rights of an American and a "fair" trial in front of a "jury of his peers" in Manhattan. China? They don't take no shit:
China must account for the whereabouts of ethnic Uighurs forcibly repatriated from Cambodia, a US-based rights group has said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said such groups had "disappeared into a black hole" on their return to China.
The Uighurs fled to Cambodia after mass ethnic riots in China in July. Beijing has referred to them as criminals.
In December, a group of 20 Uighurs were put on a plane to China despite opposition from the UN and US.
They said the group were likely to face persecution in China.
"Uighur asylum seekers sent back to China by Cambodia have disappeared into a black hole," said Sophie Richardson of HRW.
"There is no information about their whereabouts, no notification of any legal charges against them, and there are no guarantees they are safe from torture and ill-treatment."
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