China flight turns around after passenger burns toilet paper

BEIJING, Jan 30, 2010 (AFP) - 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.

Source: AFP

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