China police in fifth week of August 2014 detected dozens of cross-border tunnels in troubled Muslim-majority Xinjiang province as well as northeast area bordering North Korea. The tunnels were detected with the help of a high definition satellite, Gaofen-1.
The detection of the tunnels is a cause of concern for China as the Xinjiang is a part of the country that in the recent past has witnessed violent attacks in the area bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan. The violent attacks were staged by the al-Qaeda linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Following the attacks, China deployed security forces in a large scale to quell the spread of the outfit.
Xinjiang province had been restive for the past few years due to protests by native Uygur Muslims. They are objecting to the increasing settlements of Hans.
Gaofen-1 is a high-definition earth observation satellite which is capable of identifying objects as short as two meters wide. Gaofen-1 first of the seven-satellite network of China that will become fully operational by 2016 and will provide global coverage. Gaofen-1 was launched in April 2013.