15 September 2014
Just who are the alleged extremists responsible for the wave of terrorist attacks across China in the last year?
A bearded man who recorded himself burning the flags of China, the U.S., Pakistan and Egypt. But also his elderly mother, wrinkled and missing many teeth. A couple with two children, ages 6 and 2. An 18-year-old with a pregnant wife. And a 19-year-old construction worker from a poor family with a junior high school education.
These are among the details provided in recent weeks by state-run media amid an intense crackdown by Chinese authorities aimed at halting the knifings, bombings and other acts of violence that have claimed hundreds of lives.
China has blamed separatists and Islamic militants, including those affiliated with a group it identifies as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. East Turkestan is another name for China’s far western province of Xinjiang, home to a Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic minority known as Uighurs.
… Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said that although such TV broadcasts do not mention it, “there is resentment, frustration and anger on the part of Uighurs against Beijing and the local administration. That is why the [extremist] ideology is finding such resonance.”
Gunaratna said Chinese authorities ought to work hand in hand with local Islamic religious leaders to “preserve the traditional moderate character of Xinjiang Muslims.”
GPO / ICPVTR / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/09/2014