Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Group with ties to al-Qaeda threatens to attack Chinese

AP , BEIJING

An offshoot of a secessionist group with ties to al-Qaeda is threatening revenge for the deaths of Muslim Uighurs in clashes with Chinese earlier this month, a US group that monitors militant Web sites said.

The Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group said a video released this week by the Turkistan Islamic Party condemned the July 5 violence between Chinese and Uighurs in the Xinjiang region that stemmed from a brawl between the two sides in southern China last month.

Seyfullah, military commander of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), said in the video that the two incidents were examples of “genocide” perpetrated by the Chinese government.

“Know that this Muslim people have men who will take revenge for them,” he said in the message, which was issued on jihadist forums on Thursday and translated by SITE a day later. “Soon, the horsemen of Allah will attack you, Allah willing. So lie in wait; indeed, we lie in wait with you.”

It is not the first time TIP has threatened China. Days before last year’s Beijing Olympics, it warned it would attack Chinese cities.

The July 5 unrest began in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi, where a peaceful protest by Uighur residents turned violent after it was stopped by police. The protesters went on a rampage, smashing windows, burning cars and beating Han Chinese.

Two days later, ethnic Han took to the streets and attacked Uighurs. The government has said the rioting killed 192 people and injured 1,721.

There is no evidence that terrorist or separatist groups were behind the clashes, although Beijing has labeled the event the work of the forces of “terrorism, separatism and extremism.”

Authorities accuse Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent exiled Uighur activist, of inciting the unrest. They have not provided evidence to back their claim, and Kadeer, who lives in Washington, has denied the accusation.

The initial protest was centered on calls for an investigation into the June 25 deaths of Uighur factory workers killed in a brawl with Han Chinese in the southern city of Shaoguan. State media reports said only two people died.

In the days that followed, however, graphic photos spread on the Internet purportedly showing at least a half-dozen dead Uighurs, with Han Chinese standing over them, arms raised in victory.

Uighurs, who allege that Han Chinese migrating to Xinjiang are stealing their jobs and complain about government restrictions on their Muslim religion, said the incident was an example of how little Beijing cares about them.

“Kill the Chinese communists wherever you find them. Capture them and besiege them and lie in wait for each and every ambush,” Seyfullah said in the video, which contained a photo of him in camouflage, his face mostly swathed in white cloth.

“We ask Allah to torture our enemies in general and the Chinese in particular with a special torture,” he said.

Chinese authorities claim TIP is an offshoot of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a group fighting to end Chinese rule in Xinjiang, or what some Muslims call East Turkestan.

ETIM was based in Afghanistan before the US invasion and is listed as a terrorist organization by the US.

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