In the news, a small story talks about the Chinese stopping an airplane hijacking.
There  are reports that the Chinese are worried about more attacks during the Oympics

Wang said the group had been trained by and was following the orders of a Uighur separatist group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by both the United Nations and the United States. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang.

A 2002 report shows that the Chinese have cracked down and executed many there, but by putting the crackdown into those against Christians and Falung Gong, who are not associated with terrorism let alone outside terrorism, the report is not putting the problem into context.

After 9/11
, China started linking the seperatist group with Al qaeda; since some had trained in Afghanistan at the terrorist training camps, the link is not exactly made up. Their crackdown goes back at least to the 1990’s.

. In March 1997, a bus explosion killed two people and injured 30 on the heels of several bus explosions that took place in Urumqi, the region’s capital. An Uighur spokesman, in exile in Turkey, claimed responsibility for the attack, and announced that more Uighurs living in Kazakhstan were prepared to execute additional attacks. Attacks in the form of arsons, explosions, assassinations and kidnappings continued throughout 1998. In 1999, the Chinese government arrested hundreds of activists from dozens of various separatist organizations, a period that saw a significant decline in ETIM’s activity. Since then, there have been several armed clashes between the Uighurs and Chinese security forces. In June 2000, a group of Uighurs ambushed a Chinese delegation to Xinjiang, killing one representative and seriously injuring two others.

To understand much of this, one needs to know Chinese history: the expansion of the Han ethnic group at the expense of other ethnic groups. Many ethnic groups end up assimilating one way or another (the huge number of Chinese Tibetan intermarriages after the Han resettled there is a modern example of the policy).

Similar policies are changing the population of western China:

China has also encouraged the migration of ethnic Han Chinese into Xinjiang. Although there is no irrefutable evidence of a deliberate attempt to dilute Xinjiang’s potentially restive Muslim population with this influx, this is precisely what has happened in many urban areas. Once forming the vast majority of the region’s population, Xinjiang’s minorities had slipped to a rough parity with the Han even before the “Go west” policy began.

But with the religious difference, there is less intermarriage.

So are these separatists part of Alqaeda?

In some ways this reminds me of the Moro rebellions in the Philippines: Long standing rebellions by insular traditional people who see foreigners moving in, and making money while they remain stuck in the past. Instead of beating the outsiders at their own game, they turn inward, embrace their religion, and decide to have a holy war.

The bad news is that with all that Muslim oil money being funded via charities to such organizations so they can start a war.

The ultimate answer is the “Carrot and stick”: offer war against the worst and amnesty with development aid (and “gifts” to their leaders) to make peace.

This worked in Luzon and is slowly working in Mindanao.

Whether or not the Chinese will do it, who knows. In the past, genocides were easy to hide.

Now a different way will have to be figured out, and China is a pragmatic country by culture.

You see, China needs energy for their growing economy.

But if they want their pipeline
, they will have to make peace one way or another.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

Crossposted to Podkayne’s blog. 

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