Media on Uighurs

Chinese President Xi Jinping is to take the reins of a government body for Internet security and aims to turn China into a “cyber power”, official state media reported on Thursday, as the country steadily tightens its grip online.

…Cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one bird, two wheels of one cart, we must uniformly plan, uniformly deploy, uniformly move forward, and uniformly implement matters. To do cybersecurity and informatization work well, we must deal well with the relationship between security and development, ensure coordination and consistency, move forward across the board, protect development with security, stimulate security with development, strive to build a long trend of peace and order.

You mean, China will now have a free and open internet, and its security will be based off of open-source solutions? Not quite:

Xi Jinping pointed out that doing public opinion work well is a long-term task, we must innovate and improve online propaganda, use the laws of network dissemination, carry the main melody forward, arouse positive energy, forcefully foster and practice the Socialist core value system, grasp the timing, degree and effect of online public opinion guidance, and ensure that cyberspace becomes clean and crisp…

The way Chinese media (including the internet) is controlled, a XinJiang professor, who is a proponent of rights in XinJiang, has been painted as a separatist…
…and sentenced to death:

As a result of this, if state media is to be trusted, has possibly caused an organized “terrorist attack” in 昆明(KunMing):
However, the use of low-tech attacks are very interesting. In contrast to the attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, what’s going on in China is very low tech. When you contrast, most of the terrorists recruited from the Western World usually are study-abroad students. A lot have gained their Master’s and PhDs in these countries:
This, as opposed to the education in XinJiang, which is heavily segragated between Han and Uighurs, somewhat having a two-tier education system, almost like segregated schools in the US before the Civil Right Revolution:

When September 11 happened, the US eventually found the culprits from an organization called Al-Qaeda. The group had long been training Uighur separatists in China:
So when September 11 came around, China gave them full support. In fact, they caught a couple guys who were suspected of having relations with Al Qaeda. They became known as the Uighurs of Guantánamo Bay. But did THESE people actually have relations with the terrorist group? No one except the intelligence community will truly know. But if they didn’t have any affiliations before, upon being released, they probably have quite a bit of resentment.

Regardless, knowing this relation between Al Qaeda and the separatists, and comparing the two different styles of attacks, it’s really hard to think that they really are coming from Uighur separatists, because Al Qaeda is much more tech-savvy. Normally, whenever terrorist attacks are carried out, groups associated with the attack will take responsibility, and even some who didn’t actually commit the attacks will come out and claim that they did. Why? Because a lot of these groups are disorganized, and whenever a target is hit, they all think it’s their own group that carried out the attack. None such claims by any groups have been made in these recent incidents.

So you can see how the media and government are shaping the message of these attacks.

UPDATE: March 3, 2014
I guess the coverage over Uighurs in China is a bit more nuanced than I had earlier mentioned. Here’s a good way of putting it:

The government has not explicitly accused Uighurs of carrying out the attack, though by calling them Xinjiang extremists the implication is clear.

The one person identified by Beijing as being an attacker, Abdurehim Kurban, appears to be Uighur, judging by his name.

Sometimes, coverage regarding this incident are lost in translation:

More details on the attack:

There have been some reports that there was a “terrorist attack” in 廣東省(Guangdong Province) 廣州市 (Guangzhou City)‘s Metro. Where two men were spraying some sort of irritant into the air, causing spread and panic, where people ended up trampling over others:
In accordance with the “7 No’s” of not spreading rumors, CCTV had mentioned that this is merely a rumor. Not sure if they meant the incident didn’t happen at all, or whether or not it was just not a terrorist attack.

UPDATE: March 4, 2014
A good piece on exactly how China’s presence in XinJiang is making it hard for locals:

Some very good questions about the Kunming incident:

There have also been many complaints within China over the American media’s coverage of the situation in Kunming. While there are some issues over-blown from being lost in translation, there have been some double standards revealed:

Nonetheless, a series of keyword combinations in relations to the incident have been blocked:

Many Uighurs and people from XinJiang have come out against the violent actions:

UPDATE: March 15, 2014

According to Afghan Taliban sources, there are about 250 Uighur militants in Afghanistan’s Nuristan and Kunar provinces.

“They live here with us but are always concerned about their people and mission in China. They are nice people, good Muslims and the best fighters,” a senior Taliban commander said.

He added that Uighur militants were not fond of guns, and resorted mostly to knives and daggers.

This passage is making me re-assess the KunMing incident. The incident in BeiJing was a haphazard VBIED, but in KunMing, they used swords and knives. Not sure if it’s written into law, but usually, Uighur men are allowed to carry swords, so maybe this was their message about culture? Still though, the Chinese government-connected media still ties them in with the terrorist movement that is trained by Al Qaeda. I still doubt they are connected, because the styles are very different.

UPDATE: MARCH 30, 2014
So, maybe not ETIM (East Turkistan Independence Movement), but maybe TIP (Turkistan Islamic Party) was behind this instead. I guess I’ll eat my own words. The author in the article does address some of my concerns as to how this differs from normal terrorist attacks. After reading the article, my concerns about the methods of attack can only be explained through my lack of understanding about the complex relations between these organizations. Who their backers are, and where they get their training from.


13=阝12=口 J=丁 (阿)
L=氵 Z=工 (江)
–1312JLZ (阿江)
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