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China becomes an ISIS target

China becomes an ISIS target

Apparently, the United States isn’t the only Great Satan according to a Chinese branch of ISIS.

ISIS warns China

Islamic State militants from the Xinjiang area of China have issued a warning via a video that they will “shed blood like rivers” when they return from self-chosen exile in Iraq. 

The video showed that China was now “very firmly a target of jihadist rhetoric” said Michael Clarke, a specialist on Xinjiang at Australian National University. He added the video marks a shift from years past when China rarely figured in statements by global jihadist groups.

Has China heightened tensions?

China has blamed exiled Uygur “separatists” for a series of violent attacks in its western Xinjiang region – the Uygur homeland  Some Western observers have blamed China for creating the unrest. China has a huge security presence in Xinjiang.

Many Uygurs, who traditionally are Muslim, complain of cultural and religious repression and discrimination by China. Chinese authorities have banned or strictly controlled the observance of certain Muslim practices, such as growing beards, wearing headscarves, and fasting during Ramadan, calling them symbols of “Islamic extremism.” A US think tank said in July that Chinese religious restrictions on Muslims may have driven more than 100 to join Islamic State.

First direct threat

The ISIS spokesman on the video says, “Oh, you Chinese who do not understand what people say. We are the soldiers of the Caliphate, and we will come to you to clarify to you with the tongues of our weapons, to shed blood like rivers and avenge the oppressed” (SITE translation).

The video appears to be the Islamic State’s “first direct threat” against China, said Clarke. “It is the first time that Uygur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to IS,” he added.

Sources: South China Morning Post and SITE Intelligence Group