An Algerian wing of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is threatening attacks against Chinese interests and citizens in the Middle East and North Africa. The threats are a response to the deaths of ethnic Muslims living in China’s Xingjian region. According to official figures, at least 45 Uighurs—Muslims making up about half of the population in the northwest region of the province—were killed in clashes with ethnic Han Chinese. Uighurs claim many more of them died in confrontations with the Han and police. There are no known links between al-Qaeda and ethnic Muslims in Xingjian, nor is there any reason to believe the terrorist organization has any plans for attacks within China. The threat by AQIM marks the first time a branch of al-Qaeda has announced plans to strike Chinese targets, though AQIM did attack a convey protecting a group of Chinese engineers three weeks ago in Algeria.
Al-Qaeda targets China
Uighur deaths bring threats of violence