Islamic State militants allegedly from China’s Uighur ethnic minority vowed to plant their flag in China and threatened that blood will flow like rivers in the communist state. In the video, a Uighur fighter issued the threat against China moments before the execution of an alleged informant.
The half-hour long video released by the Iraqi arm of Islamic State purportedly shows Uighurs taking training, as well as some images from inside Xinjiang, including Chinese police on the streets.
“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,” according to SITE’s translation.
One shot that shows Chinese President Xi Jinping gives way to flames in front of a Chinese flag.
“Hey, brothers! Today, we are fighting with infidels across the world! I’m telling you this: Come and live here! Stay strong!,” one of the fighters says, according to Uighur speakers who analyzed the video for Reuters but declined to be identified.
“We will certainly plant our flag over America, China, Russia, and all the infidels of the world,” it says.
The video is seen as the first direct threat to China. “It is the first time that Uighur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to IS,” Dr. Michael Clarke, an expert on Xinjiang at the National Security College of Australian National University, told AFP.
China has for years blamed exiled Uighur “separatists” for a series of violent attacks in its western Xinjiang region
Many ethnic minority Uighurs, who are traditionally Muslim, complain of cultural and religious repression and discrimination by China.
China is worried that they may have illegally travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for militant groups.
They are not allowed to exhibit external Muslim characteristics like beards and veils and are forbidden even to fast in the Ramadan, as these are deemed radical Islamic customs which could spark unrest.