A sensational video purportedly by the Islamic State terrorist group, featuring an ethnic Uygur militant threatening to “shed blood like rivers” in attacks on Chinese targets, may or may not be what it was meant and believed to be, though some experts do see it as the “first”, “direct” threat the terrorist organization has leveled against China.
But it justifies the Chinese government’s worries regarding the seriousness of terrorist threats on home soil, given that some members of terrorist forces such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement have been colluding with international terrorist organizations such as IS.
However, more often than not these concerns have met with denial and dismissal from the West: The most popular Western narrative of late being innocent Uygurs rebelling against Han-Chinese “repression”.
The killing of a Chinese hostage in 2015 by the IS group and increasing recent evidence of Uygur fighters joining jihadists in Syria and Iraq via Southeast Asia have made Beijing’s critics haver somewhat, and the video lends further credence to Beijing’s claims, especially the oft-ignored assertions of links between domestic and foreign terrorist elements.
Although the authenticity of the video warrants suspicion and needs verifying, a 2016 study by Washington-based think tank New America reported more than 100 Uygurs from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region had joined IS. It also identified Xinjiang as the single largest source of foreign IS fighters outside of Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
The video might just have borrowed the IS name in order to amplify its intimidating effects. But the footage of ethnic Uygurs undergoing terrorist training is a familiar element of similar previous terrorist propaganda.
The terrorist propaganda may lead to chain reactions in Xinjiang and beyond once it reaches its intended audience. It will also inspire heightened vigilance and precautions.
But it would be completely wrong to assume this is a hot potato that can be left to Beijing alone. There can be no more telling proof that terrorists threaten China as well as other countries.
The alleged IS fighter made it very clear the terrorists are targeting “infidels across the world”, and they want to plant their flag “over America, China, Russia”.
Whether or not the video is an authentic IS production, it reinforces the irrevocable fact that terrorism knows no national boundaries.
If the fight against terrorism continues to be bogged down in quarrels over definitions and standards, the whole world will remain vulnerable to the threats of terror.
© China Daily Information Co