China’s Desperate Battle Against Separatist Terrorism

Zunyou Zhou writes: Thailand’s police have linked the August 17 bomb attack on the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, to Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group some of whom have been fleeing Chinese rule. The bombing killed 20 people, including seven Chinese tourists, and injured more than 100 others. Nobody has claimed responsibility for one of the worst terrorist incidents in recent Thai history.

Two men are currently in Thai custody: one is an ethnic Uighur carrying a Chinese passport while the other’s nationality hasn’t been confirmed. Thai police and security analysts have said that the perpetrators may have sought retaliation for Thailand’s forced repatriation to China of more than 100 Uighurs in July or for Bangkok’s crackdown on a human smuggling ring that had transported Uighurs from China to Turkey.

If the Thai allegation proves to be true, the blast would mark a rare spillover of violence related to Uighurs outside China. This attack would add a new dimension to the serious issue of terrorism in China, with significant security implications not only for China but also for Turkey, Thailand and other transit countries in connection with the movement of Uighurs.

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Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority group who call China’s far-western Xinjiang region home. Overseas-based exile groups and campaigners say that Uighurs face brutal repression in China; Beijing denies any religious or cultural discrimination and maintains that its policies help bring stabilityand prosperity to Xinjiang.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Since 2008, China has faced an increasing number of violent attacks which Beijing has blamed on Uighur separatists connected to overseas terrorist organizations. The violence had typically been confined to Xinjiang until October 2013 when a jeep careened onto the sidewalk near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, killing two pedestrians and injuring more than 40 others; the three perpetrators set the vehicle on fire, taking their lives.

Several months later, a handful of Uighurs mounted a mass knifing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, leaving at least 29 civilians dead and more than 140 others wounded. Beijing said the perpetrators were separatists who had carried out the attack after they failed to flee China for Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


China Just Did What?

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Chriss W. Street continues:

…China is about to show its third straight quarter of negative real (after inflation) GDP growth. The nation had been relying on a stock market boom to play a “decisive role” in funding the nation’s “Silk Road” reforms to transition to a consumer economy.

But as Breitbart News warned in “China’s Lehman Brothers Weekend Begins,” the “Red Dragon” has suffered a financial collapse equivalent in degree to the U.S. stock crash in 2008-9. Unlike the U.S., which used a formal government bailout to stabilize markets, the Communist Party instructed the nation’s banks to use their own balance sheets to guarantee the current $8 trillion stated value of all of China’s 2800 listed stocks.

As Stratfor’s John Minnich points out, “market capitalization of Chinese stock markets hovered around $1 trillion to $2 trillion” before the recent stock boom. At its peak on June 12, “China’s stock market capitalization, all the markets across the country, was something in the area of $10 trillion to $11 trillion.”

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]

Minnich comments that people before the boom might gamble some of their personal savings into the stock market, but “it wasn’t critical to financing, corporate financing in the Chinese economy. Almost all corporate finances came through the state-owned banks.” Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Communist Party: Big, Getting Bigger

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The upper echelons of Chinese leadership appear to have come face to face with a realization that’s true all the world over: slimming down is hard to do

Felicia Sonmez writes: Quality over quantity. Less is more.

Those have been the watchwords of the Chinese Communist Party ever since its top leaders declared in early 2013 that its membership would be controlled in a bid to improve the organization’s “vigor and vitality.”

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Two years later, the upper echelons of Chinese leadership appear to have come face to face with a realization that’s true all the world over: slimming down is hard to do.

In a communique released Tuesday, the Organization Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee said that the party boasted 87.793 million members as of the end of 2014. The figure – which exceeds the entire population of Germany – represents a net increase of 1.1 million from a year earlier.

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China is in the midst of a sweeping anti-graft campaign under President Xi Jinping, with announcements of corrupt officials’ investigation and ouster from the party a near-weekly occurrence. Along with that crackdown has come a steady stream of warnings for party members to rein in behavior ranging from their mahjong playing to the use of terms like “dude” or “boss” when addressing their superiors.

[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

At its heart is the pursuit of the party’s survival. Xi and other top leaders have made a point of reminding cadres that the Chinese Communist Party must avoid the same pitfalls that brought about the demise of the former Soviet Union – particularly disloyalty to Communist ideals – with some Chinese scholars warning that the Soviet collapse came when the ranks of its Communist Party had swollen to an unwieldy 19 million, or nearly 10% of the Soviet Union’s adult population.

The membership of the Chinese Communist Party currently stands at about 7.8% of China’s adult population. Read the rest of this entry »


The Colorful Propaganda of Xinjiang

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China is in the midst of a crackdown on what it describes as “terrorism driven by religious extremism”. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur ethnic minority who are predominantly Muslim.

The government believes religion breeds terror and has been trying to control religious expression in the region by imposing rules on the Uighur community. Critics say it is exacerbating the terror problem.

The murals below were painted on the walls next to a mosque in the old Silk Road district of Kashgar where 90% of the population are Uighur.

They show what the Chinese government deems as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They are a striking example of Chinese propaganda and highlight the government’s crude portrayal of ethnic relations in Xinjiang.

Inspirational posters are a fairly common sight in Chinese cities, advocating things like hard work and team spirit. It is not clear who painted these posters, but their presence implies they have some kind of official approval…(read more)

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China’s War on Terror Goes All-Out Cuckoo Bananas on Conservative Islam in Xinjiang

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SHACHE COUNTY, China – The month of Ramadan should have been a time of fasting, charity and prayer in China’s Muslim west. But here, in many of the towns and villages of southern Xinjiang, it was a time of fear, repression, and violence.

“Throughout Ramadan, police intensified a campaign of house-to-house searches, looking for books or clothing that betray “conservative” religious belief among the region’s ethnic Uighurs…”

China’s campaign against separatism and terrorism in its mainly Muslim west has now become an all-out war on conservative Islam, residents here say.

“…women wearing veils were widely detained, and many young men arrested on the slightest pretext, residents say.”

Throughout Ramadan, police intensified a campaign of house-to-house searches, looking for books or clothing that betray “conservative” religious belief among the region’s ethnic Uighurs: women wearing veils were widely detained, and many young men arrested on the slightest pretext, residents say. Students and civil servants were forced to eat instead of fasting, and work or attend classes instead of attending Friday prayers.

A veiled Muslim Uyghur woman walks past a statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar in Xinjiang province. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

A veiled Muslim Uyghur woman walks past a statue of Mao Zedong in Kashgar in Xinjiang province.                               (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The religious repression has bred resentment, and, at times, deadly protests. Reports have emerged of police firing on angry crowds in recent weeks in the towns of Elishku, and Alaqagha; since then, Chinese authorities have imposed a complete blackout on reporting from both locations, even more intense than that already in place across most of Xinjiang.

“Chinese police have cracked down on the wearing of beards and veils, in observance of Ramadan, in Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.”

A Washington Post team was turned away at the one of several checkpoints around Elishku, as army trucks rumbled past, and was subsequently detained for several hours by informers, police and Communist Party officials for reporting from villages in the surrounding district of Shache county; the following day, the team was again detained in Alaqagha in Kuqa county, and ultimately deported from the region from the nearest airport. Read the rest of this entry »


Crackdown: China Executes Eight People Convicted on Terrorism Charges

Government continues crackdown over violent incidents blamed on Uighur separatists from Xinjiang region

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BEIJING—Chinese state media said on Saturday that eight convicted terrorists were executed in the far western region of Xinjiang, where ethnic conflicts have left dozens of people dead this year.

Among those executed were three men convicted of plotting a deadly assault in the heart of Beijing last year in which the attacker—with his mother and wife as passengers—drove a sport-utility vehicle through crowds, killing themselves and three bystanders, the government-run Tianshan Net news portal said.

Chinese police on an anti-terror operation in Xinjiang. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Chinese police on an anti-terror operation in Xinjiang. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The incident was a sign that the ethnic violence was spilling out of the ethnic region of Xinjiang.

The others who were executed were convicted of offenses including police attacks, bomb making, murder and arson, the news portal said.

The report didn’t say when the executions took place.

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim, Turkic minority of Uighurs. Beijing has blamed the ethnic violence on terrorism with overseas ties, but human rights groups say the Uighurs are suffering from repressive policies and practices. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Police Fatally Shoot 8 After Gas Cylinder Bomb Attack

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HONG KONG — The police in Xinjiang, the ethnically divided region in far western China, fatally shot eight people on Friday after what the state-run news media described as an attack by assailants armed with bombs made from gas cylinders. Three other attackers died in an explosion they set off, the reports said.

The official accounts did not identify the bombers, but it was clear that they were Uighurs, a Turkic people who have grown increasingly resentful of the growing numbers of ethnic Han Chinese in the region and of state controls on their culture and Muslim religion. The accounts called the assailants terrorists, as have many previous official reports describing clashes with Uighurs.

Read the rest of this entry »


Four and a Half Years After Xinjiang Riots, Grievances Unanswered

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Choi Chi-yuk reports from Urumqi on the Xinjiang riots, in which at least 197 people were killed. With Mandy Zuo at South China Morning Post:

A bus stop has been built on the Jiefang South Road where several thousand Han people marched with knives and sticks, seeking revenge on the Uygurs, but were stopped by officers of the People’s Armed Police with tear gas. Elderly women wearing red armbands sat on chairs at the bus stop yesterday, watching passers-by, while squads of armed police patrolled the area.

A Uygur who owns a grocery shop on the Xinhua South Road said his business was affected for several months after the riot in 2009, as the road was the worst-hit part of the city.

“Uygurs would be regarded as terrorists after the July 5 incident, if men wore a beard or women wore a kerchief, a veil or a gown,” he said. “Schools are teaching children not to believe in religion.

“We’re so depressed and feel unable to breathe,” he said. [Source]

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The 2009 riots erupted from protests over the deaths of two Uyghur migrant workers in southern China, which ignited a cocktail of existing grievances. At Dissent MagazineNick Holdstock examines the triggers of this and earlier incidents, from which he argues authorities have learned the wrong lessons:

Four years later, what are the prospects for further unrest in ? In as much as anything in China (or elsewhere) can be said to follow a pattern, there have arguably been broad similarities between the causes of, and responses to, the  protests and previous ones in Xinjiang.

Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: China Says 5 Jihadis Are Arrested in Beijing Attack

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BEIJING — reports:  The Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the arrests of five people described as Islamic jihadists who they say helped orchestrate an audacious attack near Tiananmen Square, the political heart of the nation, that left five people dead.

In a brief message posted on its microblog account, the Beijing Public Security Bureau said the arrested men, all ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region, had enlisted a family of three to drive a vehicle across a crowded sidewalk on Monday and then ignite the car at the foot of the Tiananmen Gate. Two tourists were killed and 40 people were injured as the vehicle sped toward the entrance to the Forbidden City, just yards from the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao.

The occupants of the car — identified by the police as Usmen Hasan, his wife and his mother, also Uighurs — died as it went up in flames. The police say that in addition to gasoline and a gas canister, investigators recovered from the vehicle two knives, metal clubs and a banner bearing “religious extremist messages.” The police did not disclose the content of those messages.

“This was a violent terrorist act that was carefully planned and organized,” the statement said.     Read the rest of this entry »


Jihad in China: Car explosion kill civilians in Beijing

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Nearly all Chinese media outlets have blocked out reports on the incidents and are removing pictures and clips taken from the explosion in Beijing. They don’t want negative reports to deter potential investors and foreigners and affect trade relations. So, if they don’t want a future with daily events like this they better block out muslims from their country. As usual the muslims in China whine about “discrimination”. What does discrimination mean in muslim language? It means that if they don’t have full blown Islam in any country they go to or live in, they ‘feel mistreated’ and demand that the entire society bend and conform to their demands. They take no responsibility of their own behavior but continue with the same aggression and savagery we see everywhere they are.

Only one media outlet (South China Morning Post) dwelled deeper on the investigation: “There were some suggestions that police were looking at suspects from the Uighur community, Muslims from the northwest of China.”

(more) Published: October 29, 2013  |  New York Times

BEIJING — The Chinese authorities investigating a deadly episode near Tiananmen Square appeared to be focusing on suspects from Xinjiang, the region in China’s far west that has been the scene of increasingly violent resistance to Beijing’s hard-line policies. Officials increased security at pivotal intersections, subway stations and tourist sites across the capital on Tuesday. But they remained conspicuously silent about an incident that many Chinese believe was a deliberate attack on the political and symbolic heart of the nation.

Read the rest of this entry »