Terrorist Acts in Xinjiang Province Likely To Increase Against The Chinese Government; Likely Uighur Militants Turn to Foreign Terrorist Aid


HRT Correspondent – Adam Craddock

Terrorist Acts in Xinjiang Province Likely To Increase Against The Chinese Government; Likely Uighur Militants Turn to Foreign Terrorist Aid 

7 May 2016

Executive Summary:

It is likely terrorist acts in Xinjiang province against Chinese government authority by Uighur militant groups will increase from support from foreign terrorist organizations such as Islamic State. This is due to increased government oppression utilizing an over-effective counterterrorism program, increased government sanctions on the Uighur ethnic minority and the increased activities of terrorist organizations in recent years.


China embraced America’s War on Terror with great enthusiasm and praise. China’s policy towards the Three Evils, terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism, established Chinese support for the U.S. in combating international terrorism.[i] Yet, China’s contribution towards this effort comes only in domestic regulation as China’s nonintervention policy mandates no interference in foreign issues unless the situation threatens China’s interests.[ii]

China established a counterterrorism program that operates the “Chinese Way.” This includes China’s definition for terrorism, Chinese tactics and their own policies for dealing with terrorism. Targeting Uighur separatist organizations deemed terrorist organizations by Beijing’s central government, authorities waged an extremely effective campaign against these militants and imprisoned thousands of militants, separatists and activists.[iii]

Many foreign perspectives see China’s treatment of the Uighur ethnic minority as especially brutal and discriminatory.[iv] Recently, a manhunt for several Uighur militant cells included a battalion of soldiers armed with flamethrowers and heavy machine guns. The Chinese government crops peaceful Uighur separatists and activists into the same terrorist category as Uighur militant groups. Extreme measures taken against a range of differing ideological groups may drive a larger sum of these individuals towards the option of violence and enlisting the aid of foreign terrorist organizations.[v]

Islamic State released an audio recording in December 2015, encouraging Muslims in China to rise up against the government in service to the caliphate.[vi] This is evidence of foreign terrorist organizations actively recruiting or supporting militant radical Islam in China and by association the Muslim Uighur Ethnic group.[vii] According to Vice News, China actively attempts to convince its allies that Uighur organizations within China allied themselves with foreign terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, but to no avail.[viii]

Analytic Confidence:

Analytic confidence for this product is medium. I utilized analysis of competing hypotheses to aid in my assessment. The topic area is difficult due to a lack of information so many intelligence gaps are present. The time constraints for completing this assignment were reasonable and source reliability is generally high.

[i] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament-security-idUSKCN0WB0PS (High)

[ii] http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?id=196705 (High)

[iii] http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?id=196705 (High)

[iv] https://www.hrw.org/news/2006/06/14/eurasia-uphold-human-rights-combating-terrorism (Medium)

[v] http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?id=196705 (High)

[vi] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/asia/isis-china-recruitment-chant-mandarin.html?_r=0 (High)

[vii] https://news.vice.com/article/are-militants-from-chinas-xinjiang-region-really-being-trained-by-the-islamic-state (High)

[viii] https://news.vice.com/article/are-militants-from-chinas-xinjiang-region-really-being-trained-by-the-islamic-state (High)

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