Counter-Terrorism: China Confronts Its Angry Ethnics

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August 31, 2014: China accused three Chinese Moslems of murdering a pro-government Islamic cleric (Juma Tayir) in late July. Police tracked down the three, shot two of them dead and captured the third. The one who was captured admitted that they killed the clergyman for not being Islamic enough and for preaching an incorrect form of Islam. The three had been radicalized by Islamic terrorist media, some of it found on the Internet. This 18 year old Uighur said he was the mastermind of the plot to murder the cleric. The assassination was committed in China’s largest mosque, which is in the northwest (Xinjiang province). There the government continues to have problems with ethnic Turk (Uighur) unrest. China blames Islamic terror groups there of all sorts of mischief. Not just Islamic radicalism, but also a separatist movement that wants to create a new country (East Turkestan) out of Xinjiang and adjacent areas that have large Moslem populations.

China is greatly embarrassed with its inability to halt the violence. Unhappy Uighurs are increasingly aggressive in attacking the growing Chinese presence among them. In Xinjiang province the local Uighurs are not responding well to growing pressure from Han Chinese soldiers and intrusive Han government officials. Because of that many Uighurs continue to support anti-Han activity and this makes it possible for Islamic terrorists to survive and operate. Most Uighurs are found in Xinjiang province. There the nine million Uighurs are now less than half the population and most of the rest are Han Chinese. The government has been publicly urging soldiers and police to be more aggressive against uncooperative Uighurs. The government accuses Uighur activists of endangering state security and tries to keep the unrest out of the news. The same thing is happening in Tibet, where the government is using the same tools to keep everyone under control. Since 2011 several hundred have died in Xinjiang because of Uighur violence against Han rule. Thousands of Uighurs have been arrested and hundreds sentenced to prison, or death.

 

 


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