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In the last six months of 2016, state-owned media in China has reported two terrorist incidents in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), the most recent of which occurred in the province's Karakax County, resulting in the death of one person.
Both of these terror-related incidents took place this year on September 10 and December 28 respectively.
The September 10 incident took place in Guma County of Hotan Prefecture, where a blast killed four persons, including the county's deputy police chief.
China has generally blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and related separatist groups for carrying out terrorist attacks, both in XUAR and other provinces of the country.
It is well known that Beijing not only provides sparse information on terrorist attacks that are reported and thereby officially acknowledged, there are many more that go unreported.
The Chinese government is known to strictly guard any independent reporting on the security situation in XUAR, probably to evade allegations from within the country of its security apparatus being inept in dealing with terror threats.
Also, non-reporting of terror incident prevents international scrutiny into the follow up investigations and sentencing of the terror suspects.
Recently, it has been learnt that China has been keeping under wraps evidence of Pakistan nationals being involved in criminal or terrorist activities in the country.
As per an input, investigations of a blast in XUAR in March 2016 led to the unearthing of evidence of the involvement of a few Pakistani students, studying at the Xinjiang Medical University in Urumqi, in the blast.
China did not publicise the incident of it telling its immigration authorities to deport more than 100 Pakistani students from the university.
It is also learnt that Chinese universities across the country have been advised to be cautious while admitting students from Pakistan.
As a result, nearly 60 per cent of universities are now insisting on personal interviews before admitting students from Pakistan.
These developments have been kept under wraps by Chinese authorities, obviously to prevent embarrassing Pakistan, one of the country's few allies.
This is not the first time that students from Pakistan have been deported from China. Between 2003 and 2010, at least 27 Pakistani students were deported from various Chinese universities for acts of indiscipline, breaking university and local laws as well as suspected links to terror activities.
Pakistani national Faraz Sohail Khan was expelled from Shanghai on Aug 6, 2014, on security grounds. Also, ahead of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou and the 11th Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum in Guangzhou in September and August 2016 respectively, the police in Guangzhou city was learnt to have advised hotels in the city from not accepting guests from five countries, including Pakistan, as a security measure.
It is a well documented fact that many East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) cadres are located in Pakistan where they have received shelter from Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Therefore, the likelihood of these groups establishing their networks in XUAR is high.
While publicly China continues to turn a blind eye to the Pakistan state's active involvement in promoting radical Islamic groups on its soil and instead internationally endorses Pakistan to be a victim of terror, Chinese security agencies are fast waking up to terror threats emanating from that country.
Hopefully, Beijing will not wait for a major terrorist attack in China by Pakistan-based groups, before taking more resolute action against these threats.