Amidst the run-up to the Olympic Games, and all the problems, distractions, and stains on the cadres' reputations (AAP via the Epoch Times, BBC, Boycott 2008, CNN, The Epoch Times, National Review Online, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, and World Net Daily), just about the one thing on which everyone seemed to agree was that the attack on a border post in occupied East Turkestan was a serious problem. It was the one time the cadres seemed to have a point about what they were facing from a security perspective.
It took less than one day for that to come into question.
Just after the cadres insisted that the attack was committed by Muslim Uighurs (Washington Post), we discovered that the regime had seized and beaten two journalists who were trying to cover the scene (Voice of America). A local cadre claimed they were violating reporting rules; their media company (the Japanese NTV) begs to differ (Yomiuri Shimbun).
The moment I saw this, my mind went back to last April, and a Communist "raid" on a terror group that Agence France Presse exposed as complete bunk. Was it about to happen again? We'll never know now.
Dealing with the East Turkestan issue in general is always a little tricky. The nation has been under a brutal Communist occupation since 1949, which unlike Tibet even included using the place as an nuclear testing ground. As the Communists were persecuting the largely Muslim Uighur natives, many of their fellow Muslims adopted Wahhabist and Khomeinist radicalism, including the justification to kill as many people as possible to attain political goals disguised as religious objectives. Until 9/11/01, the Communists refused to acknowledge even the existence of Wahhabist or Khomeinist terrorists (largely because they were funding and arming them due to their anti-American outlooks).
Since 9/11/01, the cadres have made every effort to tie any critic of their occupation to al Qaeda, or the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. There have been questions about ETIM's reach in East Turkestan; indeed, there have even been questions about its continued existence. Making things more complicated for the Communists is the fact that al Qaeda almost never mentions East Turkestan, and on the rare occasions it does, its mainly an afterthought.
Still, Communist China is desperate to be perceived as an ally in the War on Terror, and not because it would make people look the other way on its human rights violations (they do that already - Epoch Times). More importantly, it deflects the free world from the Communists' real relationship with Islamic terrorism - ally, funder, and armer.
If the leaders of the free world saw that truth, they would have entirely different outlook on the so-called People's Republic, its overall foreign policy, its anti-Americanism, and it's lust for Taiwan (Washington Times). Indeed, they might even realize (at last) that the free world will never be secure until China itself is free. That is the last thing the Communists can afford.
This is not to say we should blithely dismiss the Communists' claims about Kashgar. It does mean we need to see a lot more than cadre press releases and interviews before we know what happened, and the fact that two journalists trying to do just that were arrested and beaten is hardly encouraging.