Muslim Uyghurs, China, al Qaeda, and perhaps the disappearance of Flight MH370

by 1389 on March 14, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), airlines and aviation, al-Qaeda, China, Malaysia, Uyghurs

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, northwest China

According to investigators, as of March 14, 2014, no possibility has been ruled out.

vocativ: Is China in Al Qaeda’s Crosshairs?

What does a knife attack in western China have to do with the Malaysian Airlines disappearance?

Two weeks ago, 34 people were killed and 130 injured in a mass stabbing attack at the Kunming railway station in Yunnan, China. Reports said as many as 10 black-clad assailants wielding knives and machetes attacked people at random. The event caused shock in China and around the world, with many referring to it as the “Chinese 9/11.” Just days before, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group released a video threatening China. And this week, that video gained much greater significance, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared without a trace.

The Chinese government officially placed the blame for the attack on Xinjiang separatists. Xinjiang, China’s largest province, traded hands repeatedly over centuries before becoming part of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The enormous region borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and sits atop huge reserves of oil and gas, making it very important to China. The province is predominantly Muslim, and foremost among its many ethnic groups are the Uyghurs, 10 million of whom make up 46 percent of the population.

Separatist Uyghur groups claim that the region is not legally part of China and refer to the region as East Turkestan. The Turkestan Islamic Party (also known as the East Turkestan Independence Movement), a U.S-designated terrorist organization, is the primary group leading the separatist movement against Beijing and has been accused of perpetrating several terrorist attacks in China.

According to the Chinese State Press agency, flags of the “East Turkistan Forces” were found at the scene of the Kunming railway station attack. Five days prior, the Turkestan Islamic Party published a video titled “We Are Coming O Buddhists,” in which Abu Zar Azzam, the spiritual leader of an Al Qaeda offshoot based in Waziristan, threatened Chinese nationals and Buddhists.
Azzam warns that the Chinese will be punished for their crimes against Muslims and Islam, and says that killing them and shedding their blood is “good.” Azzam has previously published videos in which he claims that after the U.S. war in Afghanistan, China will become the “number one enemy.”

Following the stabbing attack, Zhang Chunxian, the Xinjiang Communist party chief, blamed the act of terrorism on the spread of information through Internet videos.

Claims that the Uyghur Separatist group was behind the bloody attack has spurred a resurgence in anti-Uyghur sentiment in China. On Chinese social networks like Sina Weibo, several Uyghurs reported that they were experiencing discrimination.
Chinese rights activists also reported similar instances of discrimination and anger directed at the Uyghur community since the train station terrorist attack.

This trend is coming under increased scrutiny because of the disappearance on Saturday of the Boeing 777 MH370 somewhere over the South China Sea en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with more than 150 Chinese nationals on board. Chinese social media networks were immediately abuzz with speculation over the possibility that that Uyghur separatists are responsible. This time, however, the Chinese government is cautioning the public over drawing such conclusions.

The Uyghurs have been implicated in a previous hijacking attempt. In June 2012, the Chinese government claimed that six Uyghur men attempted to hijack a Chinese domestic flight. The World Uyghur Congress rejected the government’s account and claimed that the incident was in fact a dispute that broke out over seating arrangements.

More here.

SMH: Missing Malaysia Airlines jet: Investigation paying ‘special attention’ to Chinese Uighur passenger

(h/t: rain of lead)

Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.

Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.

At least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.

The Harian Metro newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the man is not a suspect over the plane’s disappearance but that investigators were delving into his background.

According to the source the man has a PHD from a university in Britain was recently worked as a lecturer at a university in Turkey.

The source said he undertook flight simulation training in Sweden in around 2006.

Malaysian officials have not confirmed the information.

No group has claimed responsibility for the plane’s disappearance.
More here.

Daily Mail (UK): Officials ‘convinced’ two communications systems on missing jet were deliberately shut off 14-minutes apart as it emerges aircraft DID keep ‘pinging’ for hours after vanishing at 35,000 ft

  • Malaysian Airways flight MH370 went missing on Saturday morning
  • The plane, carrying 239 people, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
  • Its last known position was above the South China Sea an hour into flying
  • U.S. official said two separate communication systems were shut down ‘deliberately’
  • They reveals that signals were sent to a satellite from it later on
  • Comes amid huge international search effort involving 10 countries
  • The oceans to the east and west of Malaysia are being searched
  • Today a picture emerged of the plane flying over Poland in February

Read it all.

Also see:

Please note that very few of the facts are in at this time.

Considering the recent threats uttered by Muslim Uyghur militants, it’s only natural to suspect them in the disappearance of MH370. But there are other possibilities as well, and it would be premature to draw any conclusions.

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