According to the Associated Press, Russian warplanes have carried out airstrikes against an office of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a group that is also named the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
The AP reported the news based on information from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In the report, the Turkistan Islamic Party was not a terrorist organization, but was described as "a group that consists mainly of fighters from Asian states."
According to solid intelligence that Chinese anti-terrorism agencies have, the TIP and ETIM are one and the same, and the TIP claimed responsibility for the terror attack on October 28, 2013 at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Quite a few terrorist attacks and violence in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are related to the group, which takes separating the region as its public political goal.
The news of the airstrikes from Russia is not yet confirmed. If it is true, then the first reaction from Chinese society would be without doubt welcome.
European media has lately been quoting Amnesty International's repeated claims that ETIM no longer exists, and China is not credible when it links the organization to Chinese domestic violence and terrorist attacks. Now the AP has proved that the TIP is active in Middle East. Even if the West is having second thoughts over whether the TIP and ETIM are the same, the TIP's nature as a terrorist group as well as its relations with terror attacks within China should be affirmed given its responsibility for the attack in Tiananmen Square.
It is thus clear that the violent and terror forces in Xinjiang are spiritually supported, and to some extent commanded and manipulated by foreign terrorist organizations. Certain people from the West still obstinately believe that only terror attacks in their countries are acts of terror, while the killings against civilians in China are resistance with just cause. Such an argument has breached the global anti-terror united front.
The underlying cause of terrorism is hard to root out, but China is genuinely making great efforts toward solving the puzzle.
In the meantime, however, the West has done almost nothing in this regard. Instead, they seem to have continued to stir up more hornets' nests.
China's crackdown on terrorism should be based on its own circumstances. Russia has hit the TIP this time, but we cannot expect other countries to clean up the entirety of ETIM. The complicated fight will continue. We should stay clear-minded in tackling terrorism, stand firm on our rights, and not make terrorism disturb the big picture of Chinese domestic affairs as well as its diplomacy. Once this foundation is solid, our future actions against terrorist groups will be more precise and efficient.