Conflict & Justice

China blames Pakistan-based terror camps for Xinjiang violence


Uighurs living in Turkey demonstrate outside the Chinese embassy in Ankara on July 22, 2011 to protest against alleged Chinese brutality against members of the Chinese Muslim Uighur minority in China's far-western Xinjiang Region.



Indian papers are interpreting statements by Chinese officials in Kashgar, Xinjiang, as a hopeful sign of a rift between Beijing and Pakistan -- which India believes China uses as a so-called "cat's paw" to restrict India's rise.

According to the Times of India, Kashgar authorities said in their official web site that terrorists captured after a bomb attack had admitted that one of the group's leaders was trained in making explosives and firearms at camps in Pakistan before infiltrating back into China. The police have killed five of the terrorists representing the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which runs a separatist movement in Xinjiang province, the paper quoted the web site as saying.

In the past, China has always downplayed Pakistan's role as a haven for terrorist groups, although Indian foreign policy makers believe that it is Beijing's conscious policy to use Pakistan as a "terror proxy" against India -- with the logic that as long as New Delhi remains mired in neighborhood problems it won't be able to ascend to the same level of global influence that Bejing enjoys.

If these statements do indeed signal a change in the Chinese policy toward Pakistan-based terror groups, it could further free America's hand in dealing with the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, which has used American fears of "losing" Pakistan to China as a way of discouraging U.S. policymakers from playing hardball.

Sources in the Indian government said they were watching the situation as Kashgar authorities would not issue a sensitive statement on Pakistan without approval from authorities in Beijing, TOI said, citing the development as evidence that China is reviewing its relationshp with Pakistan.

Earlier, this week the Institute of Central Asia at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences referred to the role of Pakistan in Xinjiang riots after the July 18 clashes in Hotan, TOI reported.

"Located in the southern part of Xinjiang, Hotan is close to the border with Pakistan. Due to their affinity in religion and language, some Uyghur residents there are at risk of being influenced by terrorist groups such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement," Pan Zhiping, director of the Institute was quoted in the State run Global Times as saying, according to TOI. 

These statements show there is a realization in the Communist Party of China that its close relationship with the Jamat-e-Islami and its protective attitude towards Pakistan have both failed to insulate Xinjiang from separatist violence, TOI's sources said.