Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on March 10 called for a "great wall of iron" to safeguard China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Beijing has long claimed China faces threats from the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang. It says the terrorist group is responsible for unrest and deadly attacks in the region. China's leaders are also worried that Uighurs have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for militant groups.

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Cheng Guoping (程國平), state commissioner for counterterrorism and security, on March 10 told China Daily that the country should "closely check in on whether Afghanistan is becoming another paradise for extremist and terrorist groups. Such a major development may pose a serious challenge to the security of our northwestern border."

Xi's comments on constructing a “great wall of iron” come after the Islamic State (IS) on Feb. 27 released a video titled “Children of the Caliphate,” which features young Uighurs training in Iraq vowing to plant their flag in China and promising that "blood will flow in rivers."

The proposed wall is aimed at safeguarding national unity, ethnic solidarity and social stability, Chinese state media reports.


Photo Credit: Stellina Chen

Editor: Olivia Yang