„Perhaps not widely known is the fact that Western China is home to millions of Muslim minority peoples, most identifying as Uighur.
Recently in China, officials stated that Islamic extremism is beginning to move out of Western China and into inland China where the overwhelming majority is Han Chinese. Although the officials gave no details as to which provinces had extremist activity, Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, told the National Congress of the Chinese Islamic Association, “We should let Muslims know the boundaries between legal and illegal religious activities, to enable them to say no to illegal activities.”
China is officially an atheist country, allowing only certain recognized religions to be practiced — and those practices, of course, are being overseen by the state. These limitations on religious practice have produced great tension between religious people and the Chinese government.
This tension has raised doubts regarding China’s claim of Islamist terrorism. A recent interview with Ahmatjan Osman, a Uighur and the exiled president of the East Turkistan government, gave much credence to this doubt.
In the interview, Osman discussed the tension-laden history China has had with the Uighur and their autonomous territory of Xinjiang. “The Chinese are conquerors. Our soil is oil rich. Seventy percent of Chinese oil is Uighur oil. China wants the land and the raw materials. They don’t need the people so they try to seize the land and break the people.“ (…)