On Monday, the Islamic State released a new propaganda video specifically threatening to hit Chinese targets. The half-hour-long video showcases Uighur fighters, an ethnic minority group that lives in western China and is closely connected to an independence movement in the Xinjiang region, being trained in Iraq and pledging to come back to China to “shed blood like rivers” as a rebellion against the oppressive Chinese leaders.
“The ISIS video which threatens the Chinese truly scares the Communist leaders as it represents rebellion against their police state, reigniting an already festering problem for the leadership in Beijing,” L. Todd Wood, columnist for The Washington Times and former special operations pilot, told American Military News. “The one thing they fear is loss of control and this represents that in huge way.”
According to translations from the SITE Intelligence Group, one Islamic State fighter on the video threatened violence because they are coming to avenge the oppressed.
“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 avenging the oppressed,” the fighter said.
The video also showcases heavily armed children and militants praying and executing “suspected informants.” It also shows riot police guarding mosques and the Chinese flag up in flames.
“Hey, brothers! Today, we are fighting with infidels across the world! I’m telling you this: Come and live here! Stay strong!,” another fighter said in the video, according to a translation obtained by Reuters.
“We will certainly plant our flag over America, China, Russia, and all the infidels of the world,” the video says.
“Our land of sharia has been constructed with spilt blood,” a man chants in another scene.
Michael Clarke, a specialist on Xinjiang at Australian National University, told the AFP that this was the “first direct threat” that the Islamic State has made against China.
“It is the first time that Uygur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to IS,” Clarke added.
According to Reuters, China has expressed fear that the Uighurs, a mostly Muslim population of people the Xinjiang region, have gone to fight alongside the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Wednesday that while he has not seen the video, he is aware that it is a serious threat.
“But one point is very clear. We oppose any form of terrorism and proactively participate in international cooperation to crack down on terrorism,” Geng said.
“We have long said that East Turkestan forces are a serious threat to China’s security and we are willing to work with the international community to jointly crack down on East Turkestan separatist and terrorist forces,” he continued, referring to the group of separatists who want to establish an independent state called “East Turkestan.”