Alwaght- China condemned the US decision to remove from its list of terrorist organizations the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a shadowy faction regularly blamed by Beijing for ethnic tensions in its remote northwest.
In a notice in the Federal Register, which publishes new US laws and rules, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was revoking the designation of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a “terrorist organization”.
“ETIM was removed from the list because, for more than a decade, there has been no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist,” a State Department spokesperson said.
The administration of George W Bush in 2004 added ETIM, also sometimes called the Turkestan Islamic Party, to a blacklist as it found common cause with China in the so-called US-led “war on terror”.
Beijing has regularly blamed ETIM for attacks as it justifies its measures in Xinjiang, where rights groups say one million or more Uighurs or other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim people are held in camps.
But analysts say China has produced little evidence that ETIM is an organized group, or that it is to blame for attacks in Xinjiang, which separatists call East Turkestan.
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China’s foreign ministry spokesman on Friday expressed China’s “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US decision”, urging the US to “stop backpedalling on international counterterrorism cooperation”.
China has struggled for decades to control Xinjiang, where the native Uighurs have long resented Beijing’s heavy-handed rule. With the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, officials began using the specter of “terrorism” to justify harsher religious restrictions, saying young Uighurs were susceptible to violent “extremism”.