Last week I wrote a post on Lost Laowai wondering about how China defined terrorism. I wondered why China wasn’t declaring the Kuming bus bombings a terrorist act even if it was done by someone with a local grievance. When I wrote it I was just thinking out loud, but then last night I discovered this post on Shanghaiist. It looks like the Turkestan Islamic Party, a terror group (if it’s really a political party would be illegal in China) claimed responsibility in a Youtube video for last week’s Kuming bus bombing as well as the bus bombing incident in Shanghai in May.
Maybe I am being to skeptical about this, but like the blogger behind The New Dominion I don’t really buy it. Why is this group making a claim to the Shanghai bus bombing two months after it happened? The police also said that while both the events in Kuming and Shanghai were intentional, they didn’t appear to be terrorist acts. Nothing has been reported about the TIP’s video in official state media — I’ve seen reports of it on Hong Kong TV though (I haven’t checked CNN or the BBC).
The second question I have is who is the audience this group is trying to reach? The two Youtube videos I’ve seen from the group are all in Arabic Uyghur without Chinese or English subtitles. The fact that there is no Chinese subtitles in the videos make me think that these videos are aimed at people in the Middle East. I don’t if the group’s goal is to get funding for their cause or to reach out to other militant groups such as Al Qaeda. But I don’t think the videos are for Chinese viewers.
I haven’t heard that these videos were posted on Chinese websites. I am sure if they were site censors would probably take them home, but again the group went to Youtube an international site (the videos appeared on the Japanese version) not a Chinese one. So is this group trying to terrorize Chinese or the world? I would assume it’s the Chinese, but the way they are going about it make me doubt the group’s aims. Either that or their media relations plan is screwy.
I’m going to keep watching and blogging on this.
Update: The New Dominion is reporting that the video is in Uyghur not Arabic (see the comment below). Their site is also saying the video has been reported by Xinhua and AFP.