In the YouTube video below, entitled "A message of victory to the people of China from the Mujahidin Brigade Front," a Chinese man talks about his conversion to Islam. He introduces himself as Yusuf (the subtitles say Bo Wang) and says that he studied in Libya and helped the Libyans fight their "revolutionary" war. "Now I'm in Syria," he says, as a song that imagines global Islamic dominion plays in the background.
"The people here don't have freedom, they don't have democracy, they don't have safety," he says, while leaning on rocks and holding a Kalashnikov with a mounted bayonet. A black flag emblazoned with the shahada, a common banner of jihadist groups, hangs from a tree at the left of the screen.
The purpose of the video -- posted by a YouTube user who reposts jihadist videos -- seems to be to allow Bo (if that's his real name) to threaten China about the cost of its support for Bashar al-Assad's government. "As a Chinese Muslim, I'd like to deeply apologize" to the Syrian people "in utter misery from the flames of war," he says. "Also," he continues, "I am representing all of the Muslims in warning the Chinese government to immediately stop all forms of aid to Bashar, including selling arms to them, including economic aid." Otherwise, after the victory of the Syrian revolution, "all Islamic countries will join together to implement economic sanctions on China," he adds. It seems like an odd threat, not to mention an impossible one. One wonders why he didn't threaten a good old-fashioned terrorist attack.
While the ability of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) to conduct a major attack in China remains limited, jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan are increasingly likely to view Chinese assets and personnel as legitimate targets.
Chinese officials said the group had been trained by and was following the orders of a radical group based in Pakistan and Afghanistan called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. The group has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United Nations and the United States. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang. So the "movement" is indeed terrorist-identified by the international community. But other than its violent means, is that group linked to al Qaeda?