Islamic State militants have issued their first threat against China.
In a half-hour video released Monday, ISIS fighters, members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority, who primarily reside in Xinjiang Province, threatened to return home and “shed blood like rivers,” reports the Agence-France Presse, citing the SITE Intelligence Group.
“Oh, you Chinese who do not understand what people say. We are the soldiers of the Caliphate, and we will come to you to clarify to you with the tongues of our weapons, to shed blood like rivers and avenge the oppressed,” an ISIS militant declared before brutally executing an informant.
The man was executed in the presence of children. The video also reportedly showed children executing spies.
The video was released by a militant division in western Iraq and shows life in East Turkestan. China has long warned that Uighur separatists affiliated with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement pose a growing threat and could join up with larger global terror networks.
Some outside observers suggest that China’s discriminatory policies against the Uighur minority are driving members into the arms of the extremists.
No matter the reason, China appears to have become a target of ISIS jihadis.
The video showed the Chinese flag in flames.
“It is the first time that Uighur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to [ISIS],” Michael Clarke, an expert on the restless Xinjiang at the National Security College of Australian National University told reporters, adding that the video represents the “first direct threat” ISIS has issued against China.
China is stepping up pressure in Xinjiang by launching an “all-out offensive” on terrorism.
Ten thousand armed Chinese police marched through Urumqi, Xinjiang on Monday in a show of force. “We will bury the corpses of terrorists and terror gangs in the vast sea of the people’s war,” explained Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo.
Hundreds of people have perished in violent attacks in Xinjiang in recent years.
Three knife-wielding separatists killed five people in Xinjiang in February, and towards the end of December, four terrorists set off a bomb at a government office, killing one and injuring several others.
One of the worst incidents occurred several years ago at a train station in Kunming. Militants from Xinjiang used machetes to cut down more than 30 people. Over one hundred people were hurt in the attack.
China’s foreign ministry commented on the threats from ISIS Wednesday. “East Turkestan terrorist forces have been posing a severe threat to China’s security,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang, who called for international cooperation to “combat terrorist forces.”
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