Muslim extremists trained by Syrian rebels were responsible for the latest wave of violence in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region, state media said on Monday with the government later dropping enough hints to bolster the claim.
Reports in Chinese media, quoting unnamed intelligence agency sources, said it had been learnt that the Syrian opposition forces had trained those who had triggered last week’s violence — the deadliest since the 2009 riots that claimed nearly 2,000 lives — in which 35 people were killed in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
“This Global Times reporter has recently exclusively learned from the Chinese anti-terrorism authorities that since 2012, some members of the ‘East Turkestan’ faction have entered Syria from Turkey, participated in extremist, religious and terrorist organisations within the Syrian opposition forces and fought against the Syrian army,” the newspaper said.
It blamed the traditional suspects, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement for planning to carry out attacks in China.
“At the same time, these elements from ‘East Turkestan’ have identified candidates to sneak into Chinese territory to plan and execute terrorist attacks,” the report said.
“It is a serious violent terrorist attack. China has firmly opposed to any terrorism. The collusion between ETIM and relevant forces poses great threat to the country,” Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokesperson, said.