More evidence of the global reach of the tiny minority of extremists: “China released a wanted list of Muslim separatist groups and individuals on Monday, accusing them of acts of terror and appealing to foreign governments to ban the groups and track down and hand over the wanted individuals.”
“One day after the United States announced the capture of toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, China’s ministry of public security fingered four groups in the restive north-west and 11 ethnic Uighur suspects, all of whom remain at large.
“‘They have planned, organised and carried out a series of violent terrorist activities such as bombings, assassinations, arsons, poisonings and attacks,’ Zhao Yongchen, deputy chief of the ministry’s anti-terror bureau, said in a statement.
“He appealed to other governments to ban the groups, prohibit them from receiving support or asylum and freeze their accounts; and to prosecute and investigate the wanted individuals and hand them over to China. . . .
“Many Turkic-speaking Uighurs want to establish an independent state in the Xinjiang region, which they would call East Turkestan. China has blamed pro-independence activists for a string of bombings and riots since the 1980s in Xinjiang, which borders the former Soviet Central Asian republics and Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as in other parts of the country. . . .
“Many Western diplomats and scholars also doubt there is a unified Uighur independence movement. They say most Uighurs are struggling against cultural and economic inequities and, living with heavy police and military presence, lack the coordination to execute sustained violence.”
More irrelevance from “Western diplomats and scholars.” What difference does it make if the independence movement is unified or not, or can execute “sustained” violence or not, if such groups exist and are capable of any kind of violence?
Moreover, China is linking them to the global jihad movement: “One of the groups police named on Monday was the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim), which Washington added to its terrorist list in 2002 at Beijing’s bidding. China says Etim members trained at bases run by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and, with Taliban backing, returned to Xinjiang to plot violence. Police said Hasam Mahsum, a key figure in Etim, was among the 11 wanted.
“The other three organisations were the Eastern Turkestan Liberation Organisation, the World Uighur Youth Congress and the Eastern Turkistan Information Centre. . . . In one of the more recent incidents, police said Etim hatched a plot in March to blow up train tracks linking Xinjiang to the neighbouring province of Gansu, but gave no further details.”