Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, November 16, 2001
Unveiling the Terrorist Nature of 'East Tujue' Elements
There is also a "East Tujue" force long been engaged in terrorist activities. The "East Tujue" force has all along received support and training from the Bin Laden Clique, and has created a series of terrorist activities in China's Xinjiang. Given this situation, crackdown on and eliminating this terrorist force is an important component part of the international anti-terrorist struggle.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao disclosed November 13 that the "East Tujue" forces had all along had the support and training from Osama Bin Laden, Zhu also denied the saying that there were "East Tujue" elements receiving training in Pakistan.
A reporter asked: at the weekend, Mme Robinson, senior commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission, disclosed to the media that a Chinese official told her about 1,000 Uygurs of China were receiving training in Afghanistan. Please prove this. The reporter asked: are there also people being trained in Pakistan? How many people are there? She also claimed hat currently some 1,000 people had returned to China. Would you please tell me how many Uygurs are now being trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Zhu Bangzao said, as you all know that there is also a "East Tujue" force long been engaged in terrorist activities. The "East Tujue" force has all along received support and training from the Bin Laden Clique, and has created a series of terrorist activities in China's Xinjiang. Given this situation, crackdown on and eliminating this terrorist force is an important component part of the international anti-terrorist struggle.
Zhu indicates that China is willing to cooperate closely with the international community in a common struggle against all forms of terrorist activities, including the "East Tujue" terrorist force. With regard to your question concerning the concrete number of people, I don't have the figure at hand. With regard to the question regarding whether there are people receiving training in Pakistan, the Pakistan side has clearly indicated that there are not such people receiving training in Pakistan.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan pointed out at the UN Security Council foreign ministers conference on the morning of November 12 that the "East Tujue" terrorist forces have long been receiving training, financial aid and support from the international terrorist clique, have repeatedly created various kinds of terrorist activities in China's Xinjiang region and other countries, done harm to the innocent. "East Tujue" is out-and-out terrorism, is part of international terrorism and so should be dealt with telling blows.
The term, "East Tujue", to be more exact, appeared in Chinese mass media reports for the first time on October 10. The China News Agency report said: Tang Jiaxuan indicated that China has been subject to the serious harm of terrorists. Thereafter, a news spokesman of the Chinese side said: conclusive evidence indicates some of them have received training in the campsite of Afghanistan. One of the "East Tujue" elements even went to Chechenya to participate in illegal armed fights, said Zhang Guofeng with the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Research Institute under Renmin University of China. During Zhang's visit to Russia in November last year, the picture of the TV news report he saw was: Two "East Tujue" elements captured by the Russian army were being transferred to the Chinese side.
Are there any "terrorists" in China? scholars and common people in Xinjiang and China's other regions have different answers to this question, said Prof. Yang Xhu, vice-president of Lanzhou University and expert in the subject of Central Asia.
This reporter paid a special trip to Urumqi for news covering, when he strolled along the street, he did not find any difference between Urumqi and Beijing, but a Xinjiang native doing journalist work told the reporter: "For a period of time, almost half a year, I would go to work on foot, because I dare not take the bus."
"Crackdown on and high-handed measures" against terrorists is the term often used at various conferences held in Xinjiang, the result of this government policy is the peace and tranquility being felt by the reporter. So, Yang Shu reminds the reporter, in the term of "East Tujue", what merits our greater attention is-"Its choice of time". Whereas our policy toward terrorism "has hitherto remained unchanged".
Before the APEC Conference in Jun this year, heads of State of the six countries, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, KyrgyzstanTajikistan, Uzbekistan gathered in Shanghai to declare the founding of "Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and jointly signed the "Shanghai Convention on Attacking Terrorism, Splittism and Extremism". The Liberation Army Daily said: the signing of the Convention has achieved a breakthrough in the turn from signing political documents to signing legal documents. The difference between this Convention and the Dusanbe Statement published by the five nations a year ago is that the ordering of "terrorism" has been raised from the second place to the first place.
Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan who had just joined the SCO this year encountered in February 1999 the terrorist blast action directed against him, the series of explosive incidents occurred in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan killed 15 innocents. Terrorism has gradually become a chronic disease of this region.
OPEC leaders' anti-terrorism Statement expresses in this way: in the opinion of the leaders, this action of slaughtering lives and all other forms of terrorist actions, no matter when and where they occur, whom they are directed against and who perform these actions, have posed serious threat to all people, all beliefs as well as the peace, prosperity and security of all countries. Terrorism also constitutes a direct challenge to the goal of freedom, opening and prosperity as well as to the concept of value advocated by the OPEC members.
The news about the verdict carried in Xinjiang's Ili Evening News on October 16 did not attract too much attention from inland society: criminals Abdul Mecid and Abdul Ahmad were sentenced to death for "jeopardizing the basic interests of the State". Quite a number of local media of Xinjiang did not mention a single word about this.
The execution carried out on October 15 had an important reason: The splittist was involved in the Ili incident occurred in 1997 that shocked people at home and abroad, the violence terrorist activity, which was officially determined in nature as the February 5 incident of beating, smashing and looting disturbance. The incident caused the death of nine people and injuries of more than 200 people, one of the condemned criminals, Abdul Mecid was confirmed as the initiator of the terrorist activity.
Ms Ma, engaging in news reports on the legal system, did not know the news published on October 16, but she knew the Ili Incident. On October 26, when the then situation was once again mentioned, she remained as frightful as she did four years ago. Like most people without similar experience, just taking a glance at the picture, she genuinely felt for the first time the huge impact and threat brought to the people by violence terrorist criminals. That was a picture taken in the vicinity of the Yining City People's Hospital.
--A young couple, who were prepared to go home to spend the Spring Festival, encountered the terrorists when they reached the crossing of the hospital. The gang grabbed the young woman's hair, her arms were tied behind her back, they randomly made cuts and marks on her face, kicked and trampled upon her until she died, the young man was also beaten beyond recognition.
--When a soldier reached Qianjin (Progress) Street on his way to visit relatives at home, he was stoned to death; a secretary of a township cultural station was stabbed to death when he got to the crossing of Ili Street and his body was thrown into a heap of burning paper; a 50-year-old pedicab driver from the inland was beaten to death by a gang of thugs with stones and clubs when he reached the southern end of Shengli Road; a family of three were seriously wounded by terrorists who broke into their home.
What was described above was only a small part, approximately 1,000 pictures and more than 500 objects simultaneously appeared at the Xinjiang Exhibition of Crackdown on Violence Terrorist Criminal Cases, aside from the February 5 Ili incident, several influential violence terrorist incidents occurred between 1996 and 1997 also appeared in the exhibition.
Experts in the study on terrorism said: in the process of terrorist activities and anti-terrorist struggle in Xinjiang, one very important point is: the February 5, 1977 Ili Incident was an indication of escalation, as well as the pinnacle of terrorist violence activities.
The scale of the February 5 incident and the terrorist activities in the ensuing days was unprecedented. When the head of the police substation on East Xinhua Road, Yining city began to note that when rioters suddenly appeared on the Taxi Laifu Market, at first, they were only about 30 in number, the number was rapidly expanded to several hundred till it reached 1,000.
An official from the Yining city government watched a video tape which shows: the rioters shouted the slogans "Driving the Han people out", "Setting free the captured persons", and burned their ID cards, register residence booklets and driver license, their extreme act was stripping the Han pedestrians off their clothes until some of them were naked at the chilly time of the Spring Festival and the ethnic Id al-fitr festival.
The result of a subsequent police survey indicates that the key elements of the February 5 incident traveled from Kashen, Hotan to Yining, they said mysteriously: "Don't ask my address and my name, I was sent by Allah" At that time, they forced the masses to burn their ID cards and marriage certificates. They said: "that is genuine Moslems".
Three weeks after the occurrence of the Ili Incident, a case of nationally shocking bus explosion occurred in Urumqi City at 18:30 on February 25, 1997 which caused the death of nine people and different degrees of injuries to 58 people. According to some CAS experts in the study of terrorism, Material from the police shows that executors of the explosion case simultaneously set up an illegal organization which had under it three action groups: a fund-raising group, a murdering group and an explosion group.
The result of the study on the means used in world terrorist activities between 1968-1987 indicated that the five main methods for terrorist activities: blasting , assassination, (armed) raids, kidnapping, abducting people as hostages and hijacking planes, vehicles and ships used over the past 20 years accounted for over 80 percent of international terrorist activities, while explosion made up 57 percent. By 1997, the five main methods accounted for over 98 percent and explosion rose to 67 percent. Experts in the study of terrorist activities in Xinjiang proved to this reporter that in China, the means of assassination and kidnapping were seldom used, most extremists were keen on creating assassination incidents in the case of explosion, with their proportion even much higher than the international average.
Prof. Wang Zhe with the Geography Department of Xinjiang Normal University was on the scene on the day the February 25 incident occurred. After hearing the deafening sound, he and his friends first thought that the cement plant was blasting rocks, then they guessed that the "arsenal was exploded", and then they saw the three blasted buses on Xibei Road, Xiangyang Slope and People's Road. The explosions were done mostly by one man and one woman who got down the bus after setting time bombs on it.
Selection of explosion as the means conforms to the purpose of terrorists in creating terrorist activities which, from the very beginning, resulted in the killing of the innocents. Xiao Ma, a staff member with the Xinjiang Legal Daily, would go to work on foot rather than taking a bus for more than six months since the occurrence of the case; this was the same choice for the majority of people.
Origin of Terrorists
Xiaoklaiti Mahmti and others, the creators of the Ili incident, were captured on February 11, 1999. According to a news report on June 16, a member of the violence gang headed by Xiaoklaiti Mahmti "had received military training at a certain place, after that he sneaked back to Xinjiang and organized and carried out a series of violence terrorist activities".
In most news reports, the address where terrorists received military training was very obscure. A material from a news briefing on the "crackdown" and sentence meeting held by Urumqi Intermediary People's Court on June 25 clearly pointed out that four criminals fled to a little known place (guessed to be in the east of Kabul and a training base of Laden) in Afghanistan in the period between November 1995 to November 1997 to receive the training of making detonation devices.
The four criminals, after receiving military training, returned in succession to Xinjiang between the period from December 1997 to May the following year. As soon as they arrived in Xinjiang, one of them, named Usman Yimiti, set about to organize personnel to receive detonation training, he also bought some sulfuric acid, phosphorus and other chemicals for making blasting devices. The chemicals he and other gangsters bought numbered as many as 8,200 bottles which were later transported to nine secrete military training places, more than 100 persons under him participated in the training of manufacturing detonation devices.
Fleeing to Afghanistan to receive military training is the main choice of these terrorists. Sun Zhuangzhi with the Central Asia Research Office under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, citing statistics from related Russian department, said about 200 Xinjiang terrorists had received training in the Laden base, whereas Zhang Guofeng from the Renmin University of China claimed that related Chinese statistics indicated that "more than 1,000 people had received military training in Afghanistan". What's interesting was when Zhang Guofeng paid a visit to Russia in November last year, he saw the picture on a TV news report that the two "East Tujue" terrorists captured by the Russian Army were being turned over to the Chinese side. Prof. Yang Shu with Lanzhou University said that these terrorists were concentrated in Central Asia, some others were active in Germany and Italy, whereas we traditionally thought they would choose Turkey to be the place for their activities, now the concept has somewhat changed.
As regards how Usman Yimiti and others got to Afghanistan, there is no definite saying about the choice of route. Yang Shu guessed, there were most probably two lines: one was going from the south into the Khyber Mountain Pass, the other route was Vahan Corridor, although there is no formal road there, it is accessible. Of course, this path is difficult of access.
According to Wang Mingye, terrorists can go to various Central Asian countries and to Afghanistan in the name of doing business and going on pilgrimage there, so the possibility of entering Afghanistan from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenstan cannot be ruled out.
The same means of terror used in south Xinjiang is completely different that used in north Xinjiang. Yang Shu discovered through research that terrorist incidents of violence are more in south Xinjiang, but the resultant incidents of injury are relatively less; the terrorist incidents of violence are very few in north Xinjiang, but they are shocking at home and abroad.
In the opinion of a researcher on terrorism who does not want to be identified, the key areas of terrorist activities of China's Xinjiang is north Xinjing, i..e, Ili, whereas in south Xinjiang, terrorist activities are concentrated in places such as Kashen, Aksu, Hotan and Yecheng.It is said that influence of foreign terrorist forces is a characteristic of Ili's terrorist activities. Such influence can simply be summed up as: Afghanistan is the training place, while Central Asia is the base of activities.
Wang Lequan, secretary of the Communist Party committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, said in his report to the region's 6th Party Congress held on October 24: We must strike resolute and heavy blows at the key separatists, chief religious extremists and violence terrorist criminals, "we must continue to launch concentrated rectification work in key areas to ensure sustained and stable development of Xinjiang."
In Urumqi, most people are living in an environment of peace and tranquility. School teacher Li Dong even feels that terrorism is a distant thing. What Li Dong said a distant thing meant the most serious terrorist activities that occurred in the two years of 1996 and 1997. While in Urumqi, this reporter asked Xinjiang locals about their feeling, their answer was: terrorist activities reached a peak, but now the situation is tranquil and the "sense" of terrorism has even disappeared. Yang Shu, who often made tour to Xinjiang for the study on the Central Asian issue proved to the reporter this judgment. The reason he gave was that the local government always maintained the "crackdown and high-handed" policy toward terrorism, terrorist activities were nipped in the bud. So it is very hard for ordinary people to perceive the existence of terrorism. A relevant fact to the feeling of ordinary people was the contract on investment project signed between a Hong Kong business investigation group with Xinjiang in May this year, with the amount of investment exceeding 1.5 billion yuan. From another angle this shows the current social stability of Xinjiang.
But for public security personnel, such "distance" is non-existent. A policeman with the New City District Public Security sub-bureau in Urumqi said in their feeling, the "September 11" incident is far away from the inland, but is near us".
"East Tujue"-Its Past and Present
During the Shanghai APEC Conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao explained China's official definition of "East Tujue" element-There are indeed a group of national splittists who attempt to separate Xinjiang from China through terrorist means and set up a so-called "east Turkstan", we call them "East Tujue" terrorists.
With regard to the reason for the emergence of "East Tujue" elements, what academic circle has confirmed is the influence of Islamism and Pan-Turkism in history".
Based on textual research, a scholar pointed out that historically, Tujue (Turk) was a nomadic ethnic group who once set up two Tujue Khan States in areas of Central Asia. East Tujue (Turk) was subjugated by Huihe (direct ancestors of Uygur), and West Tujue was subjugated by the Tang Dynasty. Since then the Tujue people (Turks) lost the historical chance for developing into a modern nationality. The two tribes of West Tujue moved westward to the Asia Minor Peninsula and settled down there, their descendants established the Otman Islam Empire, brilliant for quite a while. After World War I, Kemal founded the Turkey republic on the ruins of the said Empire.
Turkstan relevant to this concept is a place name, originally referred generally to the birthplace of Tujue people in Central Asia. In the 19th century, European geographers began to use this name and expanded the scope of its affiliated land-Central Asia became West Turkstan in the part of Russia, where Xinjiang of China became East Turkstan.
In the middle part of the 19th century, an Afghan proposed founding a unified Islamic political entity by uniting all Islamic countries, thus beginning the spread of Islamism. Pan-Turk-ism originated from the Tartars who were oppressed by Pan-Slav-ism under the rule of tsarist Russia, it was aimed to establish a unified Turks Empire by uniting all nationalities from Asia Minor to Central Asia under the Turki language system. Manifestation of these two trends of thought in Xinjiang was the "East Turkstan independence movement".
Pan-Islamism and Pan Turk-ism began to spread into Xinjiang in the early 19th century, they began to take shape in the early period of the Republic of China. A Turk named Karmal and a Uygur intellectual named Maiswood who was returned from Turkey after finishing his study there were representatives of these two trends of thought.. In the early 1830s, Xinjiang was in a chaotic situation, taking advantage of this opportunity, East Turkstan movement established an "East Turkstan Islamic Republic" in Kashen. This regime existed only three months, but it marked the beginning of the East Turkstan movement, which has been carried on to this date.
"East Tujue" elements currently have two main activity centers, said Sun Zhuangzhi, a young scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who is engaged in the study of Central Asian subject. One center is in the West, mainly concentrated in Germany and Italy, they attack the Chinese government by aid of the viewpoint on the so-called human right situation in China; the other is in Central Asia. Taking advantage of the chaotic situation in the early period of independence in various Central Asian countries, they emerged in succession in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Generally, they carry out their activities underground, the governments of related countries adopted an attitude of attacking them.
Prof. Yang Shu listed two currently influential "East Tujue" organizations: 1. East Turkstan liberation front organization which registered in Kazakhstan in 1994, later it was outlawed by the Kazakhstan government, the organization's core member was Ahxil Vyiding, who was once a high-ranking official in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 2. The Uygur international union, its leader was a Uygur researcher with the Hazakhstan Academy of Sciences.
It should be pointed out here, "East Tujue" element is a general concept, not the name of an organization. Prof. Yang Shu said that there were over 50 "East Tujue" organizations of various sizes abroad, concentrated mainly in Central Asian region. Generally an organization was formed by several Uygurs. The activities of a small organization generally include rally, distribution of propaganda materials, training, drug trafficking or creating some violence incidents in Xinjiang. Bigger organizations carry out their activities in Europe, for instance, demanding "independence" of Xinjiang.
Both Yang Shu and Sun Zhuangzhi held that despite the many organizations, they fail to set up a genuine "East Tujue" core of leadership. "East Tujue" elements have a certain socio-economic foundation, their financial sources include operation of businesses abroad, drug trafficking and obtaining financial aid from Arab countries.