URUMQI: The United States is encouraging "terrorism" in Xinjiang, Chinese state media said Monday, also claiming that separatists in the region - which has a large Uighur minority - had fought alongside Syrian rebels.
Beijing denies that unrest in the vast region bordering Central Asia - which last week left at least 35 people dead - is due to ethnic tensions between the Uighurs and China's majority Han.
It has vowed to crack down on "terrorist groups", ordering military exercises ahead of Friday's anniversary of major riots in 2009 that left around 200 dead.
But rights groups for the mostly Muslim Uighurs blame unrest on economic inequality and religious repression, something that Washington has raised concerns against.
The People's Daily, a mouthpiece for the ruling Communist Party, slammed the US government and media for what it said was its role in the violence.
"For fear of a lack of chaos in China," it said in a commentary, the US was "conspiring to direct the calamity of terrorist activities toward China".
"America's double standards on the issue of countering terrorism are no different than incitement and indulgence...how is this different than those who act as accomplices to terrorism?" it said.
It asked if the 9/11 attacks and Boston marathon bombings in April meant "America's ethnic and religious policies also have problems", while rejecting such linkages in China.
"The violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang are not an ethnic issue or a religious issue," it said, calling the "massacres" of officials and bystanders "inhumane".
According to the official Xinhua news agency, "knife-wielding mobs" attacked police stations and other sites in the town of Lukqun last Wednesday before security personnel arrived and opened fire. At least 35 people were killed.
Two days later, Xinhua said that more than a 100 "terrorists" provoked "riots" in the prefecture of Hotan, attacking people "who had gathered at local religious venues".
Last Friday a US State Department spokesman said it was "deeply concerned about the ongoing reports of discrimination against and restrictions on Uighurs in China”.
He said the US urged a "transparent investigation" but did not want to "draw broader conclusions" about the incidents.
The state-run Global Times criticised Western media and public opinion on Monday for misrepresenting the violence as ethnic conflict, referring to it instead as "violent terrorism fuelled by the West".
"Western public opinion is fooling these ignorant extremists through cheap support," the paper said in an editorial.
This "indulges the views of these violent terrorists, who are in fact a small, isolated group", it said.
In a separate article only available in Chinese, the paper accused members of the "East Turkestan" movement of joining "terrorist groups" in Syria to fight the government of Bashar al-Assad before returning to Xinjiang to plot attacks.
It cited the case of a man in his 20s recruited by an "education and mutual aid association" acting as a terrorist training front.
After being sent to Syria, the recruit was ordered back to Xinjiang to "raise" the level of the struggle there, where he was caught.
The Uyghur World Congress hit back at what it called China's "distorting accusations".
"Uighurs live in an outdoor prison," it said in an emailed statement, adding that their "resistance had nothing to do with terrorism".
On Saturday, large sections of the Xinjiang capital Urumqi were shut down as military vehicles took to the streets with at least 1000 personnel from the People's Armed Police, part of China's armed forces responsible for law enforcement and internal security during peacetime.
Beijing's assertive presence on the ground comes ahead of the sensitive anniversary of riots between Uighurs and China's ethnic majority Han four years ago.
The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is also expected to begin next week.
In recent decades many Han Chinese have relocated to Xinjiang, which is rich in coal and gas, provoking friction.
The two communities tend to live in separate neighbourhoods in Urumqi, and a greater security presence could be seen in the Uighur area on Monday.
Paramilitary forces stood in clusters every 100 metres or so around the grand bazaar, and police vehicles drove by occasionally.
Beijing denies repressing China's ethnic minorities, who make up less than 10 percent of the national population and enjoy some preferential policies.
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Looks like China has mastered the art of denial from Pakistan... Everything is formented by the U.S. - the internal contradictions/conflicts notwithstanding.
Free Tibet NOW !!!
@Human Being: Reading the article instead of blabbering would help everyone here, most of all you. Read this particular sentence from the article: The violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang are not an ethnic issue or a religious issue
Instead of trying to point fingers, some self-reflection would also be good. We all know how 'Hindu' country India supported Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka against the Sri Lankan government and then betrayed these same Hindu brethren. At least Pakistan is not like India. And you have the nerves to talk about "ummah".
America has the audacity to suggest freedom of religion and treating all citizens equally - and just like Pakistan China fights back by blaming terrorism on America. Pathetic.
Not just in china.
@ Pakistani/Muslims . Anyways, are you happy with the killing on Muslim Ummah in Xinjiang? Han (pork eating people) killing believers ? The savior of Islam with nuclear warheads just watching ?
So will people from Pakistan now wage jihad against all weather friend china since the Chinese are killing the Uighers who are part of the ummah? Or does LET go only against people that the "agencies" point their fingers at? :-).
The bottom line is that the terrorists are once agains Muslims. I havent heard about Christians or Buddhists being persecuted in China?
Thanks but you forgot India is also playing its part for that...
A slap on the face of Indian trolls.
China is indeed all weather friend. First time ever Pakistan is not accused of exporting Terror in any part of Globe.
The universal scapegoat-poor USA
This question should be considered in two parts. One. The problem of separatism in Xinjiang is perhaps the natural outcome of the aspirations of the Muslim majority original inhabitants of the area, not considering the Han settlers that were brought from other parts of China to repress the locals (who are still more numerous than the settlers). The people of Xinjiang cannot be expected to be enthusiastic about Chinese rule. Nationalistic movements in the territory date from the 1850s. Eastern Turkestan was the name of the territory because its Muslims were Turks. It was about 1880 that the area was brought under Chinese control by military operations and given the name of Xinjiang (originally Sinkiang, literally, New Territory). At the same time, while there is no such thing as finality in history, the people of Xinjiang cannot hope to win against the central Chinese government with its vast military power. But one should not dismiss the aspirations of the Uyghurs out of hand. Second. In our times terror is the proper idiom of the expression of the aspirations of subject peoples wherever they are and under whatever kind of rule. Much of global terror happens to be Islamic and is said therefore to derive inspiration from Islam. But the explanation of terror is really a sense of deprivation that peoples have against the ruling power and also an expression of their frustration with the ruling power. Extensive land mass from North Africa west to east and all the way across the Middle East to the AfPak area and right up to Indonesia has been witness to movements of Muslims which seem to be evidence of some historical stirrings that we often describe as mere terrorist activity. The people of Xinjiang seem to be making common cause with some external influences, which are as yet inadequately identified. It is too early to say that it may have connection with ferment in Pakistan, but it may. We cannot put it any stronger than that. V. C. Bhutani, Edinburgh, 1 Jul 2013, 1203 GMT
Wow, talk about taking hints from Pakistan.
It still makes sense that US could influence things in Pakistan through their presence in Afghanistan, but now they can get to the Chinese, who're so protective about their borders and the communications within their country?
Yes agreed and a good article.