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    Dec 09, 2015

    China disavows ISIS' Mandarin video, pledges anti-terror support


    WHILE claiming to have no knowledge of a Mandarin video released online purportedly by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group, China's Foreign Ministry yesterday said Beijing would seek closer cooperation with the rest of the world in its fight against terrorism.

    On Sunday, ISIS' propaganda arm, Al Hayat media centre, put online a song in Mandarin that exhorted its "Muslim brothers to awaken" and "pick up weapons to rebel", Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

    The video is the first far-reaching publicity campaign by ISIS that was conducted in Mandarin.

    In the four-minute song titled I Am Mujahid, the male singer also chants "our enemies will cower", "to die fighting on the battlefield is my dream,", "no force can stop our advance" and "a century of enslavement has left shameful memories".

    Speaking at a regular news briefing yesterday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said she could not comment on the recording, but stressed that "terrorism is the common enemy of mankind" and called for efforts to stop extremists using the Internet.

    But China does not want a military solution in Syria, where ISIS and other forces are trying to overthrow the Bashar Al-Assad government, and the Chinese state media has been criticising the West for its "ineffective" air strikes there, according to the Western media.

    Last month, a Chinese captive was killed by ISIS, followed by the slaying of three Chinese executives in Mali when militants stormed a hotel.

    According to media reports, at least 300 Chinese citizens, most of whom are ethnic Uighurs from China's far-West Xinjiang region, have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.

    ISIS' release of a Chinese song could be a signal that it is aggressively recruiting Uighurs who are seeking separation of Xinjiang from China, Taiwan's Taipei Times quoted Associate Professor Chen Shih-min of National Taiwan University as saying.

    The political science expert pointed out that ISIS documents published last year showed that the group eyed Xinjiang as part of its "state" territory.

    There have been concerns also in Taiwan that the island could be a target of ISIS after its flag appeared last month in an ISIS online video with those of 59 other nations and regions, including mainland China, which ISIS called its enemies.

    According to Hong Kong-based political commentator Guan Qingning, the failure of the Western air strikes to halt ISIS attacks in Europe raises the possibility that the group could open a new battleground in Asia.

    The recent attacks in Paris, London and California as well as the downing of a Russian passenger plane suggest ISIS could strike anywhere, including Chinese territories, the Hong Kong-based Radio Free Asia quoted Mr Guan as saying.