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Syria govt, rebel forces blamed for Xinjiang violence
BEIJING - Chinese state media blamed Syrian government and opposition forces today, in unusually specific finger pointing, for training Muslim extremists responsible for the deadliest unrest in four years in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang.
China has traditionally blamed violence in Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur people, on Islamic separatists who want to establish an independent state of “East Turkestan”.
This appears to mark the first time Beijing has blamed Syria and fits a common narrative of the government portraying Xinjiang’s violence as coming from abroad, such as Pakistan, and not due to homegrown anger.
Many Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang resent what they call Chinese government restrictions on their culture, language and religion. Beijing accuses extremists of separatism.
Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over a forum in Beijing last Saturday on maintaining stability in Xinjiang.
Paramilitary police have flooded the streets of the regional capital Urumqi after 35 people were killed in two attacks last week, which China has blamed on a gang engaged in “religious extremist activities”.
The government hasn’t identified the ethnicity of the attackers, but it said a man called Ahmatniyaz Siddiq, ostensibly a Muslim Uighur, and others “were engaged in religious extremist activities”.
The Global Times, a tabloid owned by the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, said that some members of the “East Turkestan” faction had moved from Turkey into Syria. - Reuters