Turkistan Islamic Party Releases Rare English Propaganda Video About Chinese Crackdown on Uyghur Muslims
On September 19, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) released a 7-minute-long video through its official Islam Awazi media outlet titled “Let’s Stand as One” that focused on the plight of Uyghur Muslims in “occupied East Turkistan” and China’s crackdown in the region. The video is notable as it is in English and emphasizes the need for the Islamic Ummah to unite in support of the Uyghurs against China.
The video begins with clips of international media reports describing “a million Uyghurs and ethnic minorities currently held in massive internment camps.”
Militant Wire now offers regularly published research, analysis, and threat forecasting accessible to paid subscribers. Click the button below to read our latest member-exclusive articles:
• The Islamic Translation Center: Al-Qaeda’s Media Force Multiplier
• MW Monitoring: Islamic State Propaganda Developments in South and Central Asia
• New Islamic State Khurasan Recruitment Channel Targets Tajiks
• Weaponry Used by Pro-Ukraine Belarusian Combatants Since Russia's Invasion
• ISKP Depends on Archive Sites, Social Media, and Messaging Applications to Spread Propaganda
• MW Monitoring: Islamic State Propaganda Developments in South and Central Asia - Threats Against Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
It then turns to a TikTok video of a man asking two young Uyghur girls why they were picking flowers on the road — to which they responded that “we will give [them] to our father who’s at school.” The children add, “the school my father is at has police officers there” and “my father will come [home] in a long time.”
The next part of the production features a video that has gone viral online (including in Islamic State and other jihadist channels) showing a mother frantically screaming and complaining that her “children will die” due to high temperatures and being confined to their home under coronavirus restrictions. It shows additional imagery of people suffering and the alleged corpses of those who allegedly “died due to starvation” after being locked down for so long without food and supplies.
“Leaked video” of trains bringing Uyghurs to camps and scenes of detainees “shackled and blindfolded” is shown. The TIP claims “more than 3 million Uyghur Muslims are held by China in concentration camps.”
The rest of the video consists of a song set to spliced imagery of Uyghurs being beaten and detained by security forces and held in camps. It shows mosques being destroyed and solidarity protests around the world denouncing China’s clampdown in Xinjiang. The video’s theme is that Muslims across the globe must “stand as one” in support of Xinjiang’s targeted Muslim populations with lyrics advocating “one nation forever” and “one Ummah”.
It is noteworthy that TIP does not explicitly call for violence in the video or even show its own jihadist fighters in Afghanistan or Syria. It does, however, devote some time at the end to courtroom footage of the individuals accused of conducting the October 2013 attack in Tienanmen Square that killed two people and grabbed international headlines. It also shows an image of the Uyghurs in court for terrorism charges in Indonesia in July 2015. Video clips of the 2009 Urumqi riots and the government’s forceful response are also included.
Through this video and its more recent propaganda, the TIP looks to affirm its position as the leading militant vanguard for Xinjiang’s oppressed Muslims and make it clear the group has not forgotten about the plight of “East Turkistan’s” Muslims. This despite their Taliban hosts in Afghanistan pushing for Chinese investment in Afghanistan and pursuing diplomatic relations with Beijing. In its other main hub in Syria, the TIP’s ally Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) seeks international legitimacy, and as part of its PR campaign to appear more moderate, it has taken a public stance against international terrorism.
In Af-Pak, the Islamic State’s Khurasan branch has identified an opportunity in the TIP’s practical limitations on overtly threatening Beijing, becoming the most bellicose anti-China militant force in the region. The TIP knows this and will continue to counter by leveraging its Uyghur-centric identity (vs Islamic State Khurasan which is more ethnically diverse) to try and make up for the rhetorical and operational restraints the group has adopted to stay onside with its allies and hosts outside of Xinjiang.