Perhaps some problems cannot be solved.
The recent massacre at the Kunming train station is part of an escalating series of attacks by Uyghurs (a Turkic people who are usually Moslem) and government reprisals in China. It is fair to describe the recent attack as terrorism.
Here is a good overview of recent violence: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/special/UyghurUnrest/Home.html.
The Han-Chinese dominated People’s Republic of China cannot loosen its grip on the areas of significant Uyghur population (in part of northwest China known as Xinjiang) for several reasons.
1. The Communist Party has spent decades trying to assimilate and to dominate Uighurs. Just as Beijing is not going allow significant democratic reform in eastern China, the regime is not going to make sudden or major changes to its policies toward minority peoples.
2. Western China has vital natural resources needed for China’s economic development. In particular, China is eager to access resources that do not need to travel by sea.
3. Western China is a sensitive border area. Due to a century of unequal treaties and imperialist pressure, China is extremely sensitive about protecting its borders and in preventing an perceived threats to sovereignty.
4. Any loosening of policies towards Uighurs would raise expectations of changes for Tibetans or others.
Many Uighurs will never embrace citizenship in the PRC, for several reasons:
1. The conflict is multifaceted: ethnic, linguistic, economic and religious. China’s treatment of Moslems (and other religious groups) has been brutal, particularly during the Mao years (1949-1976).
2. The hatred between Han and Uighurs has been hundreds of years in the making, and will not disappear.
3. Some of the most militant Uighurs are inspired by and supported by radical Islamic movements in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
4. Uighurs are poorer than Han Chinese, a gap that has probably grown over recent decades as coastal China enjoyed the fruits of the reform and opening policies started by Deng Xiaoping.
In short, neither side will win. China will not gain the support of many Uighurs, and the Uighurs have no hope of obtaining greater autonomy, much less of establishing an independent regime. In this context, the best one can hope for is that Uighurs seek non-violent ways to gain support (inside and outside of China) for better treatment and the Beijing government can more finely tune its efforts so that individual murderers can be captured without large scale arrests or harassment of Uighurs. In short, there is no good short-term solution.
Mosque in Xinjinag. Note the cameras monitoring activity.