The Chinese government should immediately reverse its provocative and discriminatory policies in Xinjiang, a Germany-based Uyghur exiled group has said, adding that such policies were leading to rampant psychological trauma among the Muslim Uyghur community linked to Kunming attacks.
The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) — banned and termed separatist by Beijing — said it was difficult to determine the ethnicity of the Kunming attackers from the official version of the incident but state repression could lead to spontaneous violence.
Beijing, the WUC said could use the incident to further repress the community with its distinct Islamic culture, language and identity.
More than 100 people, including several policemen, have been killed in violence in Xinjiang since April last year. The statement from the Munich-based WUC to HT came even as the government on Monday said "East Turkestan forces", called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), were behind the Kunming attack. Ethnically, Uyghurs are of Turkic origin.
Within hours of Saturday attack, the government called it a "terrorist" attack and put the blame on separatist elements from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), home to some 8 million Muslim Uyghurs.
Responding to emailed queries from HT, the WUC said the government was assuming that it was a "planned and organised attack" by forces that had "colluded with foreign terrorists".
"I think this accusation is one-sided, and even has strong political purposes," WUC’s Dilshat Rexit said. Rexit said that when Chinese citizens from other province resort to violence because of social or economic discontent, authorities term them as "criminal cases".
But when some from the Uyghur community – forced by repression and discrimination – are involved in violence, the incidents are called "planned". Meanwhile, in related development Chinese police arrested three suspects involved in attack. Gang of 8 was responsible for the attack, officials said. They also found East Turkestan flags found at site.