Armored vehicles move during a joint counterterrorism exercise organized by the border forces of China and Kyrgyzstan in Kizilsu Kirgiz Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, June 27, 2017 The exercise, carried out within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), witnessed representatives from Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, all SCO member countries. (Xinhua / Wang Fei)
Turning a blind eye to its nature as a terrorist group and attempting to whitewash its ties to al-Qaeda, the US’s counterterrorism double standard will backfire, analysts warned, referring to the latest report by CNN on the exoneration of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorist group.
Quoting former Uighur detainees at the infamous American center for combating human rights violations – Guantanamo prison, CNN said in a report released on Saturday that these Uighurs were released because they were not ” enemy fighters “in Washington’s war on terror and that they were” used as excuses “for China to crack down on the Uighurs in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The CNN report said the previous US decision to add ETIM – an organization that was once listed as a terrorist group and believed to belong to the detained Uighurs – was due to Chinese pressure, and that his ties to Al Qaeda were “a vast exaggeration.”
ETIM was allegedly founded by Hesen Mexsum, a man from Kashi in Xinjiang, in 1997. It claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in several Chinese cities, including the car bomb attack in Tiananmen Square in 2013 in Beijing.
In 2002, the UN Security Council designated ETIM as a terrorist organization. In the same year, the administration of former President George W. Bush designated ETIM as a foreign terrorist organization. In July 2016, the UK also classified the ETIM as a terrorist organization and in September 2002. However, during a major policy change on November 5, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo struck off the ETIM.
The CNN report is the latest U.S. move to clear the ETIM for use as a tool to contain China and further betrays the global counterterrorism effort, analysts criticized, saying the siren terrorist acts like the terrorist attacks of September 11 continue to reverberate. and the United States should stay alert, lest its counterterrorism double standards backfire.
One of the people interviewed in the CNN report is Ahmet Adil, a man from Xinjiang in China who said he never thought of going to Afghanistan but left Xinjiang for Kazakhstan and Pakistan under economic pressure. . At the suggestion of a man, Adil traveled to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where he and other Uighurs lived and learned to use weapons.
“Something in Adli’s story is very strange – he claimed to have left Xinjiang safe from economic pressure, but why did he find himself in Afghanistan when it had already become an unstable place? where it was difficult to make money? ” asked Wang Jiang, senior researcher at the China Border Region Institute, Zhejiang Normal University.
Wang told the Global Times that there were indeed residents of Xinjiang engaged in cross-border trade in the late 1990s who were later persuaded or coerced into joining the jihad in Afghanistan or Syria. Whatever their initial objectives, their appearance in the region and their involvement in the training and activities of militants can be considered terrorist activities by their nature and legal scope, not to mention their political demands, including what CNN has called it a “future revolution” in China. Xinjiang.
The CNN report sought to whitewash the ETIM by pointing out that there is “little” independent evidence to confirm that the ETIM was the “black hand” behind terrorists in China’s Xinjiang and that the administration Bush designated ETIM as a terrorist group under “pressure” from China.
“ETIM, by its nature and activities, is definitely a terrorist group. He plotted and committed terrorist attacks in China and neighboring countries. The United States has classified it as a terrorist group because it meets the US State Department’s definition of terrorist groups and also poses threat to the United States, not because of pressure from China, ”said Li Wei, a national security and counterterrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, at the Global Times.
The US government has struck off the ETIM from terrorist organization status not because it is no longer a terrorist group, but because the ETIM can be used to cause more trouble in Chinese Xinjiang and help thus the United States to contain China, Li noted.
In response to CNN’s attempt to play down the links between al-Qaeda and ETIM, Li said there is ample evidence to refute CNN’s claims.
A documentary published by the CGTN in December 2019 showed that since its creation, the ETIM has maintained close links with other international terrorist organizations. ETIM has been shown to have received significant support from al-Qaeda, and previously from Osama bin Laden.
For example, ETIM sent its members to al Qaeda training camps. After the training was completed, some of the members returned to China to carry out terrorist acts.
A video posted online showed that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri praised the people of Xinjiang in China for their dedication to “jihadizing” around the world.
Wang warned that many ETIM members are turning to the network due to the strict crackdown in recent years. Some join other foreign terrorist groups and some participate in anti-Chinese forces’ campaign to denigrate China for allegedly “oppressing” the Uighurs – using NGOs or other non-violent groups to disguise their identities.
The withdrawal of ETIM by the United States as a terrorist group and the current movement trying to whitewash it fully expose its double standard and hypocrisy. He uses the fight against terrorism as political tools – when he needed to conduct military operations in Afghanistan, he listed certain organizations as a terrorist group, and when the situation changed, he reversed his previous decision.
The US move not only betrays the Chinese people and the international community who staunchly supported Americans after the September 11 attack, but it will also hamper global counterterrorism work, Wang said.
“The most ironic thing about the CNN report is that if the United States believes that these Uighurs released from Guantanamo Bay are not a threat to them, why does it not allow them to stay in the United States? Considering that all of these people’s tragedies are caused by in the United States, why do they insist that these people live in other countries with restrictions like they are in an “open air” prison? “Wang asked.