From The Diplomat, March 4:
The Islamic State Just Threatened China. What Will Beijing Do?
A recent Islamic State video featuring Uyghurs threatening China shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Earlier this week, Uyghur foreign fighters with the self-proclaimed Islamic State featured in a propaganda video released by the group threatening attacks in China. In the video, the fighters threaten that Chinese blood will “flow in rivers” and that they will plant their caliphate’s flag in China. (The SITE Intelligence Group has a deeper analysis and translation of the video available here.)And from Reuters March 3:
China has long worried that disaffected ethnic Uyghurs — primarily based in the restive western province of Xinjiang, but also across the Chinese border in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan — would serve as a powerful vector for the Islamic State to set its sights on Chinese targets.
For decades, Beijing has been worried about separatism in Xinjiang, where militant Uyghur groups have long sought to establish an independent state known as East Turkestan. As a result, the ethnic Han-majority Communist Party of China has enacted a repressive set of laws to strictly regulate religious practices and public life in Xinjiang, imprisoning even non-violent Uyghur voices who’ve spoken out in favor of greater political freedoms.
China has additionally coordinated on counterterrorism with regional states, particularly through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).
With regard to the Islamic State, however, China has seen little blowback to date. In 2015, one Chinese citizen was taken hostage by the group and killed. The Islamic State has primarily focused its efforts on terrorizing countries that have participated in the international military campaign against it in Iraq and Syria.
China, owing to its principle of non-interventionism in foreign affairs, has not become directly involved in the struggle, but it has supported the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which the Islamic State considers an opponent.
As this week’s video demonstrate, Beijing’s fear that Uyghur foreign fighters would be the primary vector to turn the Islamic States’ sights on China is slowly coming true. Transnational terror groups, including al-Qaeda, have largely ignored China in the past, but the Islamic State’s integration of Uyghurs presents a unique challenge....MORE
Uighur IS fighters vow blood will 'flow in rivers' in China