On December 15, People's Republic of China commenced a series of press releases on "Uygur Terrorism" in which they "publicly" and for "first time" identified Uygur organisations and individuals that they claim to be terrorists.
The Uygur are a Turkic/Muslim ethnic group numbering some 7 million who live mainly in economically and strategically important north western border region known as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
A Caucasian race and speaking Turkic language Uygur have long harbored sentiments of independence and there were several isolated incidences of violence perpetrated in 1990s by individuals or small groups claiming to represent this cause. More realistically today Uygur generally seek nothing more than greater autonomy and cultural integrity within PRC
The Chinese have repeatedly claimed that there existed several well organised and active "separatist/ terrorist" organisations whose objective were for Uygur to gain independence from China and establishment of state of East Turkestan.
They have attributed some 400 terrorist acts to these groups which they claim have resulted in 200 deaths and 400 injured to these groups since 1990.
On basis of this "organised" and "ongoing" terrorist activity PRC has very heavily cracked down on any form of dissent, rights of association, free speech and religious freedom. Amnesty International, among other groups and commentators, has claimed numerous incidence of unlawful detention, prison sentences and even executions in name of "War on Terrorism".
It is also claimed, by some who are knowledgeable in "Uygur Question", that like some other states in Central Asia and elsewhere, China have used events of "9/11" and subsequent "War on Terrorism" to mask ongoing and premeditated attacks on this ethnic group. By bringing their policies concerning Uygur under banner of The "War" they have been successful in achieving their objectives without international scrutiny, and further, in fact, likes of US have turned a "blind eye" to these activities as a trade off for Chinese support.
Among organisations listed in these series of press releases was "East Turkestan Islamic Movement" a little known group who had been listed in 2002 as an internationally recognised terrorist organisation by UN as a result of lobbying by China and supported by United States.