24 September 2014
Beijing is expected to step up counterterrorism measures, analysts say, amid fears that militants will return from Syria and Iraq to launch attacks in China.
Like many of the countries that have seen their nationals fighting for Islamic State, China is wary of the threat posed by militants who have fled to the Middle East to join the brutal jihadist group.
However, experts said it was unlikely China would join the United States-led military campaign against Islamic State. The US and Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time yesterday.
Gauging the number of Chinese militants who have taken part in IS activities was difficult, as most of them had left the country by crossing the country’s vast western border illegally and some might have joined while they were already abroad, said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, Wu Sike, said in July that around 100 Chinese were fighting for IS, citing media estimates. Last week, four Chinese Uygurs were arrested in Indonesia and were suspected of trying to meet the country’s most wanted extremist, who has been linked with IS.
…Most of the recent attacks in China had been spontaneous and fewer than 20 per cent were directed by the TIP, said Rohan Gunaratna, a professor of security studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“That’s why China [spends] only 10 per cent [of its current budget] on counterterrorism, but 90 per cent on community enrichment and empowerment,” he said.
GPO / ICPVTR / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 24/09/2014