Terror group ISIS has chosen to ignore the popular saying that as a sleeping dragon, China should not be awakened. The West has realized the consequences of not letting the dragon sleeps, as they witness the rise of China’s economy and military. If China’s 5,000 years of history is any indicator, this dragon has no intention of conquering the world.
The dragon just wanted to defend and guard its own property. Hey, don’t blame the fire-breathing dragon for diversifying overseas. It was the West who taught China about capitalism and globalism in order to make money. Now, the Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS) is poking the dragon, pledging to attack China next after being bombed in Syria by Russia.
ISIS has released a video in which they pledged to “shed blood like rivers” in attacks against Chinese targets, in what appears to be the terror group’s “first direct threat” against China. The 30-minute video shows Uighur fighters in training, interspersed with images from inside the ethnic minority’s homeland of Xinjiang, China.
An ISIS fighter said in the video – “Oh, you Chinese who do not understand what people say. We are the soldiers of the Caliphate, and we will come to you to clarify to you with the tongues of our weapons, to shed blood like rivers and avenging the oppressed.” Obviously, the ISIS was referring to China’s treatment over ethnic minority Muslims – the Uighurs.
The video also showed fighters, including heavily-armed children, praying, giving speeches, and two executions of unidentified people. Coincidently, the video was released on the same day Beijing mobilized 1,500 troops – backed by helicopters and armoured vehicles – to Xinjiang, after a knife attack that killed 8 people.
As one of China’s 5 autonomous regions, Xinjiang has been plagued by violent attacks over the years, which Beijing blamed on Uighurs separatists. The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims who regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations and distinct from the Chinese-speaking Han national majority.
While Uighur activists claim Beijing is cracking down on peaceful religious and cultural expression under the pretext of fighting terrorism, China says it is battling separatists and the militant East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). China also consistently denies any repression in Xinjiang, an accusation human rights groups levelled on Beijing.
Instead of getting involved in military conflicts in the Middle East, China involves itself only in energy business in the region. However, an estimated 114 Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang have joined ISIS. A May 2014 attack in the Xinjiang region’s capital of Urumqi that killed 43 and wounded 90 was carried out by ethnic Uighurs.
Chinese authorities typically respond to violence or unrest in Xinjiang with lockdowns, raids on homes, and restrictions on phone and Internet communications. But the game plan could change if the Muslim Uighurs decides to stage a war against the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), currently the world’s largest military force, with strength of approximately 2,285,000 personnel.
While liberals see Chinese government’s heavy-handed tactics to root out extremism is to blame for the rise of Uighur extremists, in reality, the same tactics are keeping China in one piece. After 5,000 years of civilization, China is smarter than to listen to human rights and risk the country being partitioned the same way India and Pakistan were separated.
From Thailand, Philippines, Kashmir to Russian Chechnya, the Chinese Communist Party has seen the crisis which could result in the country breaking up – if such separatist movement is allowed. ISIS can only succeed in Muslim-majority countries such as the Middle East and liberal non-Muslim nations such as Germany, France, Sweden, UK and the U.S.
Communist countries such as Russia and China are tough nuts to crack. Unlike the West who import, welcome, feed, reward and pamper Muslims from countries that even Gulf wealthiest countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – refuse to help for the sake of humanitarian, China has only one solution – bullets.
ISIS needs all the luck they could get if they are serious about attacking China. China is not Europe. China is not United States. China doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, let alone hug and give them free housing and money. China has been dealing with such radicals for decades. ISIS should consider themselves lucky if they somehow ended up in labour camp.
Muslim Uighur extremists are welcomed to join the ISIS in Syria or elsewhere but don’t expect to come back home. There were horror stories where the Chinese military intelligence deliberately allowed the Uighur militants to return home, only to disappear and never heard from again. That speaks volumes about what China is like, in case ISIS hadn’t figured it out.
ISIS can only provoke and incite local Muslim Uighurs to launch terror attacks. They personally can’t easily infiltrate China the same way they disguise as refugees or migrants to enter the U.S., Germany, France or Sweden. China doesn’t recognize human rights and there will not be any lawyers or activists defending potential terrorists.
What the ISIS Uighurs militants will get instead, if they’re caught, is a public execution where the terrorists would be made to kneel with hands cuffed and head bowed, before being shot in the head. If they like, they could put the terrorists in front of a firing squad just for the sake of practice. And their families will be billed for the cost of the bullets – the “bullet fee”.
For that reason alone, China does not expect any serious attack from ISIS directly. Beijing also knew that majority of Muslim Uighurs realize that they have virtually zero success of declaring independence. If even Taiwan, despite U.S. military support and massive modern military equipments, dares not officially declares independence, what chances are there for the Uighurs?
ISIS can poke the dragon for all they want. But there won’t be any river of blood in China. With tons of money, Beijing could offer handsome reward to those who expose terror plots, if they choose to play nice. Otherwise, tanks would be rolled in to destroy anything that the authorities don’t like. It would make 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre looks like child’s play.