The knife attacks in (Chinese) Kashmir

Time flies so fast that most of us have now forgotten that when MH-370 vanished into thin air one of the first questions raised was about the possible role of Uighur militants (there had been a vicious knife attack in Kunming in March, also an Iranian passenger was found to be traveling on a false passport). Well, the knife attacks in China are not stopping, so how will the Chicoms respond? Yes, with overwhelming force, but that does not seem to deter the Islamists.

It is understandable that China does not attract much criticism from Islamic nations on the Uighur problem. This is primarily because Pakistan which benefits significantly from China in all spheres- economic and military in particular- would not like to annoy Big Brother.

The problem now is that Big Brother expects Pakistan to patrol its jihadists so they are not attacking Chinese assets in China and Pakistan (and now in Afghanistan). That is an almost impossible task, since as far as the Islamists are concerned there is no difference between Kashmir and Xinjiang, the infidel rule needs to be replaced with Sharia rule.

If anything the repression in Xinjiang is at a higher level, Chicoms are forcing Uighurs to abandon islamic customs. Even more worrisome is the fact that China has flooded the province with Han migrants to the point where there is actually a Han majority. Here we have  to thank the infamous Article 370, which protects the rights of the Kashmiris against migrant invasions from Bihar and UP.

The knife attack in which six people were injured
in southern China is the third high-profile incident at a Chinese train
station in a little more than two months. It seems that China is in the
grip of a mounting terrorist campaign, with militants apparently able
to strike when and where they want.

Last week a railway station in Urumqi was attacked with suicide bombs and knives, with at least three killed and dozens injured. The authorities quickly attributed that attack to Uighur separatists.
More jarring, the attack came at the end of President Xi Jinping’s trip
to that city for the explicit purpose of announcing a “get tough”
policy on terrorism.

That incident followed close on the heels of an eerily similar March attack in Kunming.
Details are sketchy, but in that brutal episode approximately nine
militants wielding knives stormed the city’s railway station, killing at
least 28 and wounding about a hundred.

Only a few months before, that there was a high-profile attack
on the most visible symbol of Chinese political authority – Tiananmen
Square in Beijing.
In that case, aggrieved Uighurs apparently drove
across the country and mowed down tourists at the edge of the square
with their Jeep before setting it on fire.

While these incidents
have set China on edge, they have received relatively little attention
from the outside world. Western analysts tend to draw on the “low-tech”
weaponry and comparatively low death tolls to conclude that these are
minor incidents. Even specialists often miss the potential for broader
international implications, seeing only an internal separatist struggle.

of these instincts are wrong. Attacks like those in Urumqi, Kunming and
Beijing are serious, and their increasing sophistication indicates a
growing threat. If they continue to escalate, there is potential for
far-reaching consequences for China and the world.

Despite their
reliance on relatively unsophisticated weapons, Uighur militants seem to
have already mastered some of the most challenging problems that
extremist organisations face. The ability to conduct complex,
co-ordinated attacks like those in Urumqi and Kunming are hallmarks of
organisational strength.

Timing an attack
to coincide with Xi’s visit to Xinjiang, explicitly to demonstrate his
toughness on the separatist question, is a clear act of defiance and it
set Chinese social media ablaze before the censors stepped in. The
attackers dramatically undermined any remaining confidence that the
authorities have this situation under control.

Indiscriminate attacks on civilians
always warrant attention, but the evolving violence in China has
under-appreciated potential to develop into global concern. When
al-Qaida struck the United States on 9/11, it reshaped global politics,
culminating in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

More troubling still, some of the most
militant among the Uighurs have been active at high levels with jihadi
organisations fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As the west winds
down its presence in Afghanistan, it would be prudent to anticipate that
these militants will return their attention to China. 


Brown Pundits