China’s Xinjiang Challenge

September 12, 2018

Xinjiang is a province in the Northwest corner of China. It is also an Uyghur Autonomous Region. This area shares its border with Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

In the next video, you will watch 3,000 years of Chinese history in a minute and discover that China first ruled over the Xingjian area during the Tang Dynasty more than 1300 years ago. When the Tang Dynasty collapsed a few centuries later, China lost control of this area and it wouldn’t be reoccupied and ruled by China again until the Qing Dynasty in the early 18th century (1720s). When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in China in 1949, China continued to rule over Xinjiang.

The BBC reports, “Most Uighurs are Muslim and Islam is an important part of their life and identity. Their language is related to Turkish, and they regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. … But development has brought new residents. In the 2000 census, Han Chinese made up 40% of the population, as well as large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants.” …

“The region has had intermittent autonomy and occasional independence, but what is now known as Xinjiang came under Chinese rule in the 18th Century.” …

“In the 1990s, open support for separatist groups increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Muslim states in Central Asia.” …

“China has often blamed ETIM – the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – or people inspired by ETIM for violent incidents both in Xinjiang and beyond the region’s borders.

The ETIM has been linked to Al-Qaeda and is allied with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan along with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek i Taliban Pakistan).

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party Organization for Freeing Eastern Turkistan, and the Islamic Party of Turkistan were outlawed by Kyrgyzstan’s Lenin District Court and its Supreme Court in November 2003. Kazakhstan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, and Pakistan outlawed the group.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported in 2017 that “the Islamic State pledges to attack China next. ISIS tries to curry favor with China’s repressed Muslim minority groups. The Islamic State is now setting its sights on China, releasing on Monday a half-hour video in which they pledged to ‘shed blood like rivers’ in attacks against Chinese targets. Experts say it’s the first threat the terrorist organization has leveled against China.

“Ethnic Uighurs have carried out terrorist attacks already, including a May 2014 attack in the Xin­jiang region’s capital of Urumqi that killed 43 and wounded 90. But for the most part, Uighur extremists carry out attacks on a much smaller and less coordinated scale. That likely won’t change, despite newfound ISIS-backing, Gladney said.”


Xinjiang is rich in coal, natural gas, and oil.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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