TIP jihadi video ‘proves group’s terrorist nature’

By Zhang Yiqian Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-26 1:28:02

Claims of responsibility for last month's deadly Tiananmen Square suicide attacks by the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in a video shows the organization's fundamental terrorist nature, the Chinese government said Monday, as it vowed to keep fighting strenuously against terrorism.

"The Turkistan Islamic Party is actually the terrorist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)," Qin Gang, foreign ministry spokesman, said during a regular press meeting. "The video has revealed the group to be terrorists and revealed the truth to people who questioned it a while ago."

The TIP recently released a video describing the car crash on Tiananmen Square on October 28 as a "jihadi operation by holy warriors" and threatened more attacks, according to US-based monitoring service SITE Intelligence Group last Friday.

On October 28, a jeep drove through the crowds close to Tiananmen rostrum in central Beijing, killing five and injuring another 40 before crashing and bursting into flames. Beijing police described it as a terrorist attack and arrested five suspects.

The eight-minute video is in the Uyghur language and includes a speech by the TIP leader Abdullah Mansour, according to a Reuters report. In the video, Mansour said such operations were "only the beginning of attacks on Chinese authorities."

Mansour said that future targets would include the Great Hall of the People, where legislative meetings and ceremonial activities are usually held in China, according to SITE.

Spokesman Qin Gang said the ETIM is a terrorist group proscribed by the United Nations and has performed many terrorist activities inside and outside China, causing a lot of casualties and damaging properties.

The ETIM has also been recognized as a terrorist organization by the US government.

Qin added that there should be no double standards in the fight against terrorism.

In the wake of the deadly car crash, foreign media have carried reports questioning Beijing's terming of it as a terrorist attack.

Some experts believe the ETIM reformed under the name of TIP, which is behind some of the terrorist attacks and threats to China, including releasing video warnings of attacks on the Olympics in China in 2008, said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"The TIP has absorbed some mid-Asian terrorist group members, as well as some Uyghurs who escaped China from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," he said. "But it often sends people inside China to cultivate more members and organize group terror attacks."

The attacks organized by the TIP are usually group activities, sometimes from one family, Li said. The car involved in the Tiananmen suicide attack was driven by Usmen Hasan and contained his mother Kuwanhan Reyim and wife Gulkiz Gini. The reason for these family attacks is because the attacks are clouded in religious reasons, like the name "holy war" mentioned in the video, Li said.

However, the religious names do not change the fact that these are terrorist attacks, Li said, and the TIP, or the ETIM, has always been branded as a terrorist group in China.

Following an increasing number of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, China has increased anti-terrorist efforts. Security also topped the agenda for Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Central Asia in early September.

Qin said the foreign ministry recognizes the security threat made by the terrorist group.

"There needs to be international cooperation in striking against terrorism. Fighting against the ETIM is an important part of counter terrorism. We hope there can be strengthened communication and cooperation internationally in the field to keep peace and stability," Qin said.

Li said such threatening videos might have stimulating effects on the terrorist groups in China and might activate them for more attacks. The key to increasing defense against such attacks is strengthening the ability to collect intelligence, he said.

"It's difficult to defend against this type of terrorist activities without knowing their plans of attacks. It's rather important to strengthen the ability to gather information," he said.

Terrorism in Xinjiang

According to police statistics, more than 100 violent crimes by terrorist groups have occurred each year since 2009 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In 2012, more than 190 terrorist cases were reported, a large increase compared with the previous year. Most of the participants were young people born in the 1980s or 1990s, and 95 percent of them have only a junior high school or lower education background.

Terrorists have also been spreading religious extremism online, disseminating rumors and provoking violent crimes.

Areas in southern Xinjiang, including Aqsu, Hotan and Kashi, are major spots where members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) infiltrate and spread from.

In the two months after the June 26 terrorist attack on police in Shanshan county, which left 27 dead, police arrested hundreds of people spreading rumors or even advocating "jihad."

In the past few years, international forces advocating religious extremism, separatism and terrorism have been making use of the religious and ethnic identification from Muslims in Xinjiang, instigating ethnic hatred and promoting religious extremism.

Oriental Outlook

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