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We care about the oppression of Muslims, be it in Palestine, in Myanmar, or in China, and we care about the oppression of non-Muslims anywhere in the world. But what we are not going to do is interfere in China’s internal affairs. ~ Taliban

China’s history with Islamist extremists in Afghanistan stretches back to the 1980s when it trained and armed anti-Soviet mujahedeen during the Soviet-Afghan war. China has waged a brutal campaign of colonization and occupation, more recently genocide, in East Turkistan (“Xinjiang”) for decades. It has frequently met resistance by local Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.

Following the September 11 attacks, China tried to claim it was a victim of “East Turkistani terrorism.” On November 11 2001, it told the UN Security Council that it was fighting against the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).” Since then China has been using the pretext of “anti-terrorism” to wage an all out war against the Uyghurs. Read The War on Uyghurs, by Professor Sean Roberts of George Washington University, to understand how China is using the false pretext of “anti-terrorism” to wage genocide. 

China has pretended to be among al-Qaeda’s victims, and America’s allies in the War on Terror. Why? To win U.S. acquiescence in its repression of Uyghurs in East Turkistan. However, the facts show that CCP has a long standing connection with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

China Allied with the Taliban, and Did Business with al Qaeda

In 1998, after an American cruise missile attack on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, China paid $10 million to the terrorists for unexploded Tomahawk missiles, and later reverse-engineered them.

In 1999, two senior Peoples Liberation Army officers wrote a book titled Unrestricted Warfare. In it, they discussed a hypothetical second attack on the World Trade Center in New York (following the 1993 failed bombing attempt). They noted it would “open up a complicated dilemma for the United States.” The authors specifically named al-Qaeda as the organization with the ability to carry out such an attack.

China opposed UN sanctions against the Taliban, even after the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden following al-Qaeda’s attacks against U.S. embassies and the U.S.S. Cole. Instead, China’s ambassador to Pakistan met with the Taliban’s founder Mullah Omar in December 2000. China continued to provide the Taliban with arms and technology.

After 9/11, China Played a Double Game

As the Washington Post reported, on the very day of September 11, 2001, the Taliban and China signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement. U.S. intelligence officials discovered that two Chinese state-run telecommunication companies, Huawei and Zhongxing Telecom, were helping the Taliban install communication systems. Chinese state media Xinhua later produced a video on the 9/11 attacks, glorifying the strikes as a “humbling blow against an arrogant nation.”

The Washington Times reported in December 2001 that a senior U.S. official stated that China continued to supply Al-Qaeda and Taliban with weapons even after the 9/11 attacks. “The official said that a week after the terrorist attack, the ruling Taliban and the al Qaeda fighters embedded among them, received a shipment of Chinese-made SA-7 missiles. The shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons are similar to the U.S. Stinger.”


Jason Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream. He is a film producer, author, activist and human rights worker.

Salih Hudayar was elected as the Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile on November 11, 2019.

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