Chinese media and netizens on Wednesday hailed the death of Xinjiang’s most wanted terrorist in US air strikes in Syria as a “superb New Year’s gift”, stressing the importance of global fight against terrorism while glossing over China’s stonewalling of India’s bid to slap a UN ban on JeM leader Masood Azhar.
Abu Omar al-Turkistani, head of China’s Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) -- a branch of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the separation of Xinjiang province -- was killed in a US drone strike in Syria on Sunday.
The air strike in Sarmada in northwestern Syria reportedly claimed the lives of eight persons, an article in the state-run Global Times said on Wednesday.
A large number of Uighur militants from Xinjiang have reportedly joined the Islamic State and are fighting along with it in Syria.
While the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang declined to react saying he is not aware of the details, the daily said many Chinese netizens gave their thumbs up and even called it a “superb New Year’s gift”.
“Amid applause for the move from the US, the event also indicates the internationalisation of terrorism and the significance of joint anti-terror efforts,” the article said.
ETIM, which is active in the Uighur Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, has been listed as terrorist body by UN for its alleged involvement in a spate of violent attacks in China.
“The UN listed ETIM as a terrorist organisation in 2002. Yet over the past years, some Western nations have been refusing to cooperate with Beijing, and even accused China of violating freedom of religion when it comes to cracking down on ETIM, which shielded the emergence of the extremist group,” the article said.
“Given geopolitical factors, interests and competition among major powers, international anti-terror collaborative actions have been far from effective.”
“However, if every nation only cares about its own interests and short-term prospects while standing aloof from other countries’ terrorist threats, nobody can be immune from the expansion of terrorism in the end,” it said, skirting any reference to China repeatedly blocking India’s efforts to get Azhar listed as a global terrorist by the UN.
China justified its efforts to block India’s move, saying there was no consensus, amid assertions by New Delhi that Beijing was the only country in the 15-member committee to block the move to get Azhar listed as terrorist.
As a result, India has to file a fresh application before the UN 1267 Committee this year along with details of charge sheet about Azhar’s involvement in Pathankot terror attack.