BEIJING (AP) — A radical Islamic group seeking independence for a northwestern Chinese region praised last month's deadly attack in Beijing and warned of possible new terrorist strikes in the capital.
It wasn't clear if the Turkistan Islamic Party was claiming it planned the Oct. 28 vehicle attack at Tiananmen Gate that killed two tourists and the three attackers. China had longed blamed TIP and its predecessor for extremist violence in the Xinjiang region, though many observers question whether the group is capable of organizing attacks and even whether it exists in an organized manner.
Following the video's disclosure, China reasserted on Monday that it faces an organized threat.
In the 8 minute, 11 second video, the TIP's purported head, Abdullah Mansour, called the attack a "jihadi operation" and praised the assailants, who included a man, his wife and her mother, as Islamic warriors. He said future attacks could target the Great Hall of the People, China's legislative seat.
"Oh Chinese unbelievers, know that you have been fooling East Turkistan for the last 60 years, but now they have awakened. The people have learned who is the real enemy and they returned to their own religion. They learned the lesson," Mansour said. The video was posted on the Internet on Nov. 12 and picked up by the Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.
East Turkistan is the name used for Xinjiang by some members of the region's native Uighur ethnic group, extremists among which have for years been fighting a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule. Those who doubt the TIP is an organized group say much of the violence is the work of unconnected groups or individuals angered by heavy-handed Chinese rule and restrictions on Islamic observance.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang reiterated that China faces an organized terrorist threat.
"I say again, the fight against terrorism should not be judged with a double standard and hope relevant countries will strengthen communication and cooperation in fighting terrorism to preserve world peace and stability," Qin said at a regularly scheduled briefing.