Breaking News, World News and Taiwan News.

Beijing report says Chinese Muslims are fighting in Syria

BEIJING--Chinese Muslim separatists from the northwest region of Xinjiang are battling Syrian government forces alongside al-Qaida and other extremist groups, an official Chinese newspaper reported Monday.

Radicals among China's ethnic Turkic Uighur minority have been traveling to Syria since May to join the fighting on trips organized by groups opposed to Beijing's rule over Xinjiang, the Global Times reported Monday.

Citing unidentified Chinese anti-terrorism authorities, it said the groups were funding their activities through drug and gun trafficking, kidnapping and robbery, and providing training for “separatists, criminals and terrorists” who had fled Xinjiang.

“After receiving orders from al-Qaida, terrorists from China came to Syria to meet with jihadists already on the ground before forming groups on the front lines,” the report quoted an unidentified official as saying.

While foreign jihadists have joined in the 19-month-long Syria conflict that has killed more than 35,000 people, the presence of fighters from China has not been previously reported.

The Foreign Ministry said it had noted the report and called for stronger international cooperation in dealing with organizations seeking to overthrow Chinese rule in Xinjiang.

Such groups “not only damage China's state security, but threaten other countries' peace and stability,” spokesman Hong Lei said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

The Global Times report singled out two groups as funneling fighters to Syria; the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and the East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association based in Turkey. East Turkistan was the name given to two short-lived independent Uighur republics in Xinjiang, a vast Central Asian region of mountains and deserts that has been flooded with ethnic Chinese settlers in recent decades.

While the report could not immediately be verified, Chinese anti-terrorism expert Li Wei said Uyghur fighters have taken part in the conflicts in Chechnya and Afghanistan, and maintain an active presence in Muslim communities from Southeast Asia to the Middle East.

“Whether they are there is a matter to verify from the facts, but the history suggests it is a possibility,” said Li, director of the Anti-Terrorism Research Center at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China's main intelligence agency.

October 31, 2012    inbmoer@
My first thought on reading the headline was, which side are they on. I suppose it would be easier to count those who are with the Syrian government. Every country, even China, has its dissidents.
November 3, 2012    uyghurman@
I know China fighting against on the Syrian government side, but I don't believe there are Uyghur fighting in support of any side. The things might be different if Chinese government sends Uyghurs to fight in support of the Syrian government.
Write a Comment
CAPTCHA Code Image
Type in image code
Change the code
 Receive China Post promos
 Respond to this email
Subscribe  |   Advertise  |   RSS Feed  |   About Us  |   Career  |   Contact Us
Sitemap  |   Top Stories  |   Taiwan  |   China  |   Business  |   Asia  |   World  |   Sports  |   Life  |   Arts & Leisure  |   Health  |   Editorial  |   Commentary
Travel  |   Movies  |   TV Listings  |   Classifieds  |   Bookstore  |   Getting Around  |   Weather  |   Guide Post  |   Student Post  |   English Courses  |   Terms of Use  |   Sitemap
  chinapost search