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Overseas Uighur jihadists threaten Chinese interests

Friday, August 9, 2019

Subject

Uighur jihadis.

Significance

Human rights abuses in Xinjiang have driven thousands of Uighurs overseas, where a small number have joined militant groups. Historically, China has proved able to contain the threat by relying on assistance from cooperative neighbours, such as Pakistan. It is now being forced to consider a more direct role.

Impacts

  • Beijing looks certain to become more active in law enforcement cooperation, intelligence sharing and use of private security firms.
  • China is reluctant to deploy troops overseas, but this cannot be ruled out if there is a major terrorist attack.
  • Human rights abuses in Xinjiang will complicate China’s efforts to cooperate with other countries on counterterrorism.
  • Little can be done to prevent small, crude attacks on Chinese assets elsewhere by tiny groups of people.
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