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CHINA stretches over 9,600,000 square km and is the second largest country in the world afterRussia. The population ofCHINA is the largest in the world with over 1.3 billion people. Relatively to other countries in such a scale of population and territoriesCHINA ishomogeneous.

91% of the population is ethnic Chinese while other minorities inhabit only 9% of the total population. Only about 20 millions (1.5 %) are Muslims in faith, 2/3 of them ethnic Chinese and about a 1/3 (7 millions) are the Turkish origin Uyghur minority, living in the North-West province of Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan.

Generally speaking religious in CHINA considered a private matter, unlike other countries in the world, religious wars are not typical to the Chinese history and violence between communities on religious ground extremely rare.

The province of Xinjiang stretches on 1,660,000 km, almost all the population was, fifty years ago, Uyghur Muslims but they became, due to massive Chinese emigration, a minority in their own homeland.  Today (08/2008) Uyghur are only 45%, ethnic Chinese already 41% and the rest are other communities, most of them Muslims. (There are similarities between the situation in Xinjiang and in Tibet). Furthermore – Because Xinjiang is far and isolated from the center of culture, knowledge and political power of CHINA, Xinjiang was always, somehow, outlawed and undisciplined region. Communist CHINA put Xinjiang, like all the other provinces, under strict government observation.

In that atmosphere a Muslim Uyghur resistance merged among the Uyghur population of Xinjiang. The most prominent Islamic group which led an Islamic insurgence rather than a secular national opposition is the Turkistan Islamic Party [TIP] aimed to create an independent state in Xinjiang province – named Turkistan.

From time to time the Uyghur managed to carry out terror attacks such as the Kashgar Attack from 08/04/2008. In a video footage, distributed in the web, the East Turkistan Islamic Party [ETIP] promises to carry out more attacks. Despite all that, relative to the size of CHINA, Uyghur resistance is nothing but a mosquito bite.

Despite using Islamic motives it is hard to claim that the Turkistan Islamic Party [ETIP] is part of the Global Jihad against non-believers. The conflict in Xinjiang is a local ethnic conflict rather than a part of the world wide Global Jihad.

 

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