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Subject: Uighars
cdwt    8/6/2008 1:41:34 AM
does anybody know any good sources of info on the Uighars of western china? general info, and also any info on possible links to uighars and AQ/terror groups would be great
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gf0012-aust       8/6/2008 3:28:07 AM
nope, let the chinese govt do their own research. :)
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gf0012-aust       8/7/2008 7:15:38 AM
the chinese govt can surf the internet like everyone else:
China and the Enduring Uighurs
August 6, 2008

On Aug. 4, four days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, two ethnic Uighurs drove a stolen dump truck into a group of some 70 Chinese border police in the town of Kashi in Xinjiang, killing at least 16 of the officers. The attackers carried knives and home-made explosive devices and had also written manifestos in which they expressed their commitment to jihad in Xinjiang. The incident occurred just days after a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) claimed responsibility for a series of recent attacks and security incidents in China and warned of further attacks targeting the Olympics.

Chinese authorities linked the Aug. 4 attack to transnational jihadists, suggesting the involvement of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which Beijing has warned is the biggest terrorist threat to China and the Olympics. Despite the Chinese warnings and TIP claims and the intensified focus on the Uighurs because of the Aug. 4 attack, there is still much confusion over just who these Uighur or Turkistani militants are.

The Uighurs, a predominately Muslim Turkic ethnic group largely centered in China?s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, have their own culture, language and written script distinct from their Han Chinese counterparts. Uighur ethnic nationalists and Islamist separatists have risen several times to challenge Chinese control over Xinjiang, but the Uighur independence movement remains fractured and frequently at odds with itself. However, recent evolutions within the Islamist militant Uighur movement, including growing links with transnational jihadist groups in Central and Southwest Asia, may represent a renewed threat to security in China.

Origins in Xinjiang

Uighur nationalism traces its origins back to a broader Turkistan, stretching through much of modern day Xinjiang (so-called ?East Turkistan?) and into Central Asia. East Turkistan was conquered by the Manchus in the mid-1700s and, after decades of struggle, the territory was annexed by China, which later renamed it Xinjiang, or ?New Territories.? A modern nation-state calling itself East Turkistan arose in Xinjiang in the chaotic transition from imperial China to Communist China, lasting for two brief periods from 1933 to 1934 and from 1944 to 1949. Since that time, ?East Turkistan? has been, more or less, an integral part of the People?s Republic of China.

The evolution of militant Uighur separatism — and particularly Islamist-based separatism — has been shaped over time by both domestic and foreign developments. In 1940, Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan (Islamic Party of Turkistan or Turkistan Islamic Movement ) emerged in Xinjiang, spearheading a series of unsuccessful uprisings from the 1940s through 1952, first against local warlords and later against the Communist Chinese.

In 1956, as the ?Hundred Flowers? was blooming in China?s eastern cities, and intellectuals were (very briefly) allowed to air their complaints and suggestions for China?s political and social development, a new leadership emerged among the Uighur Islamist nationalists, changing the focus from ?Turkistan? to the more specific ?East Turkistan,? or Xinjiang. Following another failed uprising, the Islamist Uighur movement faded away for several decades, with only minor sparks flaring during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

In 1979, as Deng Xiaoping was launching China?s economic opening and reform, there was a coinciding period of Islamic and ethnic revival in Xinjiang, reflecting the relative openness of China at the time. During this time, one of the original founders of Hizbul Islam Li-Turkistan, Abdul Hakeem, was released from prison and set up underground religious schools. Among his pupils in the 1980s was Hasan Mahsum, who would go on to found ETIM.

The 1980s were a chaotic period in Xinjiang, with ethnic and religious revivalism, a growing student movement, and public opposition to China?s nuclear testing at Lop Nor. Uighur student protests were more a reflection of the growing student activism in China as a whole (culminating in the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident) than a resurgence of Uighur separatism, but they coincided with a general movement in Xinjiang to promote literacy and to refocus on religious and ethnic heritage. Amid this revival, several Uighur separatist or Islamist militant movements emerged.

A critical moment occurred in April 1990, when an offshoot of the Uighur Islamist militant movement was discovered plotting an uprising in Xinjiang. The April 5 so-called ?Baren Incident? (named for the city where militants and
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Zhang Fei       8/8/2008 12:34:33 PM
I don't actually know that TIP is anything like the Taliban. It seems to me that the Uighurs are hitching their wagon to anyone who will support them in their fight for independence (and individually, joining up with any organization that promises to fight for their ancestral lands) - and that list is growing shorter every day, because of growing Chinese geopolitical heft. The sad reality is that the Turks of Central Asia (and what is now China's north west) have never been united throughout history, and are cowering* yet again in the face of the Chinese threat.

* Some time back, John Derbyshire cited an interesting item about the Kazakh leader's reaction to border talks with China. Upon his return, he moved his capital from Almaty - close to the Chinese border - all the way to Astana, smack in the center of the country.

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Zhang Fei       8/8/2008 12:36:22 PM
My impression is that TIP is more or less a Turkish nationalist group making an appeal for funds from fellow Muslims abroad. It should be interesting to see if their fundraising gets a bump after these incidents, given that few people knew of their existence prior to 2008. Their Achilles heel in terms of accomplishing their attacks is their Caucasian features. Trying to pass themselves off as Westerners is not the perfect solution, since Westerners also get a lot of scrutiny. I suspect many of them will be brushing up on their English, in preparation for the big game.
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Nanheyangrouchuan       8/8/2008 3:05:03 PM
This may be another dimension to the "clash of civilizations".  The occupation of Uyghur/Hui territory is what China was able to hold on to after its failed attempt at conquering all of central Asia (where it was stopped by the Persians at the Talas River).
At the same time, Turkey and even Iran have very ancient ethnic links to these people and might like to see a Pan-Turkick and/or Pan-Persia spread across this region.

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Claymore       8/8/2008 8:26:29 PM
The Book that came out in 2007 called "Eurasian Crossroads" 
It has a complete history on Xinjiang. Though only the last two chapters deal with the PRC era and its economic development policy. 

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