Chinese state media say militants in Syria are behind the recent eruptions of violence in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid owned by the Communist Partyâ€™s People’s Daily, said Monday that some members of the “East Turkestan” faction had moved from Turkey into Syria.
It said that The Global Times reporter has recently learned from the Chinese anti-terrorism authorities that since 2012, some members of the ‘East Turkestan’ faction have entered Syria from Turkey, participated in extremist and terrorist organizations within the Syrian opposition forces and fought with the Syrian army.
“At the same time, these elements from ‘East Turkestan’ have identified candidates to sneak in to Chinese territory to plan and execute terrorist attacks,â€ the paper added.
Authorities say they arrested a 23-year-old “terrorist”, known in Chinese as Maimaiti Aili, belonging to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the report pointed out, adding that he had taken part in the Syrian conflict.
The Global Times quoted a statement from Maimaiti Aili as saying that the ETIM “specifically asked me to carry out sabotage activities in Xinjiang and enhance the ‘struggle level'”.
Security is tight in Xinjiangâ€™s capital Urumqi after 35 people were killed in two attacks last week, which China has blamed on a gang engaged in extremist activities”.
The government has not identified the ethnicity of the attackers, but it said a man called Ahmatniyaz Siddiq, ostensibly an Uighur, and others were engaged in such activities.
In July 2009, unrest broke out in the region, causing scores of deaths among the Uighur minority in the area.
China says regional separatists seek to establish an independent state of “East Turkestanâ€ in western China.