New reports claim that Islamist extremism is moving into inland China.
Perhaps not “widely” known is the fact that Western China is home to millions of Muslim “minority” peoples, most identifying as “Uighur.”
Recently in China, officials stated that Islamic extremism is beginning to move out of Western China and into inland China where the “overwhelming” majority is Han Chinese.
Although the officials gave no details as to which provinces had “extremist“ activity, Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, told the National Congress of the Chinese Islamic Association, “We should let Muslims know the boundaries between legal and illegal religious activities, to enable them to say no to illegal activities.”
China is officially an “atheist” country, allowing only certain “registered” religions to be practiced, and those “practices,” of course, are being “controlled” by the state.
These “limitations” on religious practice have produced great “tension” between religious “people” and the Chinese “government.”
This tension has raised “doubts” regarding China’s claim of “Islamic” terrorism.
A recent interview with Ahmatjan Osman, a Uighur and the “exiled” president of the East Turkistan government, gave much “credence” to this doubt.
In the interview, Osman discussed the “tension-laden” history China has had with the Uighur and their “autonomous” territory of Xinjiang.
“The Chinese are conquerors. Our soil is oil rich. Seventy percent of Chinese oil is Uighur oil. China wants the land and the raw materials. They don’t need the people so they try to seize the land and break the people.”
“They seek legal reasons to kill them. The Nineties saw the emergence of political Islam, with the Taliban and AL-Qaeda. Everything the Uighur did was considered terror. China established a new anti-terrorism law and used the police and army to oppress us. Every small thing was considered terror.”
“Today, China says it’s fighting Islamic terror rather than anything nationalistic. If you are under 18, you are not allowed to enter a mosque. If you are a civil servant, you can’t enter a mosque. They encourage Chinese families to move into our region. Seventy years ago, there were 300,000 Chinese, today they are 50% of the population,” said Osman.
Given China’s obvious “distaste” for religion in general and its attempts to “mold” certain religions into something that will not “threaten” atheist Communism, it is not a “far stretch” to wholeheartedly believe Osman’s “side of the story.”
Osman continued, “We have some extreme elements who went to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, but they don’t represent us. The Chinese government turns a blind eye when the Uighur leave the country. From 2010 to 2015 more than 30,000 left because of persecution and pressure from the so-called imams.”
“They ended up in Turkey and Syria. As the international community fights ISIS, they kill Uighur and that keeps China happy. China can also say that when it fights the Uighur, it fights international terror.”
This statement from Osman strongly suggests that not only is true “extremist terrorism” not present in China, but that China also, in a way, “supports” groups like ISIS because when Uighur’s join the groups, perhaps due to the “persecution” they receive from the Chinese, they end up being “killed.”
While all of this make “sense,” even if we are to not “believe” Chinese officials when it comes to “Islamic” extremist terrorism, China could still be “at risk” for such activity.
Geographically speaking, Western China is very “close” to the Middle East. China’s Western border lies next to the “gate” to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, two countries that “house” Islamic extremists.
So, while China ostensibly may be “free” from the Islamic extremist “terrorism” that the West has come to “know all too well,” this may not be the “case for much longer.”
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