If slogans painted on walls in Kashgar are any indication, Xinjiang has been “infiltrated” by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group with dreams of re-establishing the globe-spanning Caliphate of Islam’s golden years. From Reuters’ Ben Blanchard, via the Washington Post:
China says Hizb ut-Tahrir are terrorists, and claim they operate in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to some 8 million Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, many of whom chafe under Chinese rule.
But the group, and some observers, say they do not espouse violence, and they accuse China of playing up the threat as an excuse to further crack down in restive Xinjiang, especially ahead of this summer’s Beijing Olympics.
“Strike hard against the Islamic Liberation Party” and “The Islamic Liberation Party is a violent terrorist organization” read the signs in Kashgar, written in red in both Chinese and Uighur’s Arabic-based script.
Residents passing by appear to give little heed to the notices, accustomed as they are to daily barrages of propaganda from the government denouncing “splittism,” “illegal religious activities” and calling for ethnic unity and harmony.
“I don’t know what that group is,” said one Uighur, who declined to give his name, shaking his head and scurrying away.
Blanchard goes on to note that representatives of Hizb ut-Tahrir deny they are a violent group.