The Uighur struggle for self-rule arguably dates back to the 18th century, when the Qing dynasty conquered the Xinjiang province and incorporated it into China.
As a result, the ethnic Han-majority Communist Party of China has enacted a repressive set of laws to strictly regulate religious practices and public life in Xinjiang, imprisoning even non-violent Uyghur voices who’ve spoken out in favor of greater political freedoms. In 2015, one Chinese citizen was taken hostage by the group and killed.The Islamic State’s broader outlook toward global terrorism and China’s recently intensifying repression in Xinjiang all but assure that this week’s propaganda video will be taken seriously by Chinese leaders — even though they may not be surprised.Last month Chinese authorities in the predominantly Uighur province of Xinjiang reportedly ordered civil servants, students and teachers not to fast and restaurants to remain open during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Unsurprisingly, the report was met with widespread outcry outside China.The IAC also represents China’s Muslims in international forums and coordinates annual pilgrimages to Mecca. Earlier this week, Uyghur foreign fighters with the self-proclaimed Islamic State featured in a propaganda video released by the group threatening attacks in China.