BEIJING (AP) — An 18-year-old native of China's troubled far western region of Xinjiang used incendiary videos and other multimedia to enlist followers and then masterminded the slaying of a pro-government Muslim leader, Chinese state media reported Monday.
Aini Aishan organized the July 30 attack on Jume Tahir, and was arrested two days later in the city of Hotan, also in Xinjiang, the state-run Xinjiang Daily said. The victim was the state-appointed imam of China's biggest mosque and often spoke in support of government policies.
Members of China's ethnic Uighur (pronounced WEE'-gur) minority, who are Muslims, have long chafed against Chinese government rule in Xinjiang. Those tensions have boiled over recently into knife and car attacks targeting civilians, mostly in Xinjiang.
Chinese authorities say terrorist groups have increasingly used video and social media to recruit followers.
In March, police arrested 232 people in Xinjiang for distributing "violent or terrorist videos," according to state media. Over the weekend, Chinese state TV showed videos it said were recorded by suspects who helped plan an October attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in which a sports utility vehicle plowed through a crowd, killing two bystanders and three people inside the SUV. The videos apparently showed the suspects pledging to wage holy war and burning miniature flags of China, the United States, Malaysia and other countries.
The Xinjiang Daily said the alleged mastermind recruited three people to carry out the ax attack against Tahir last month. Two of the suspects were killed after the attack, and another was captured alive.