Islamic State (ISIS) released a new video on Monday where its militants from China's Uighur ethnic minority have vowed to return to their homes and shed blood like rivers.
The half-hour video, reportedly released by a division of ISIS in western Iraq, features militants from China's Uighur ethnic group, the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which analysed the footage, said. Experts state that this is the first marked ISIS threat against the Chinese targets.
China has blamed the exiled Uighurs for a series of violent attacks in the western Xinjiang region- the Uighur homeland- and has warned that there is a potential for militants from the region to associate with global Islamist groups.
Spokesperson for China's foreign ministry Geng Shuang on Wednesday said that although he had not seen the video yet, "east Turkestan terrorist forces have been posing a severe threat to China's security." Geng called for international cooperation "to combat such terrorist forces."
The ISIS video shows an Uber militant issuing threats against China just before beheading an alleged informant.
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"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," said the video.
Uighurs, which is a traditionally Muslim group, has for years complained of cultural and religious repression and discrimination in China.
Dr. Michael Clarke, an expert on Xinjiang at the National Security College of Australian National University, said that it appears to be the Islamic State's "first direct threat" against China, according to AFP.
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"It is the first time that Uighur-speaking militants have claimed allegiance to IS," Clarke said. He added that the video suggested that China is now "very firmly a target of jihadist rhetoric", which is a marked shift from the past years where the country was rarely mentioned in the jihadist group's statements.
Clarke, however, also added that the message could also mean that there is a possible split among the Uighur fighters as the video also included a warning to those militants who were aligned with the al Qaeda-aligned Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in Syria.