BEIJING: A militant group has released a new video claiming responsibility for recent attacks in western China that killed at least three dozen people, a US group that monitors militant organisations said this week.
The video was purportedly made by the Turkistan Islamic Party, which seeks independence for China's western Xinjiang region, the SITE Intelligence Group said.
The militants are believed to be based in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have received training from al-Qaeda.
Xinjiang is home to largely Muslim ethnic Uighurs who say an influx of China's majority Han to the region has led to their marginalisation. The region erupted in violence two years ago with ethnic riots in which at least 197 people were killed.
Since then security in the region has been stepped up, but that wasn't enough to prevent attacks in the cities of Hotan and Kashgar in July that left dozens dead.
The more than 10-minute video released in late August features Turkistan Islamic Party leader, Abdul Shakoor Damla, whose face is blotted out, saying those attacks were revenge against the Chinese government.
Ben Venzke, of Washington-based IntelCenter, another agency that monitors militant groups, said the group, which threatened to attack the Beijing Olympics in 2008, should be monitored closely and taken seriously.
''Their profile has been heightened since threats made during the Olympics and videos have shown us that they have even received recognition from senior al-Qaeda leaders recognising their presence in China,'' Venzke said.
''TIP is a very real jihadist group and their threats should be taken seriously. In addition to being active in China, we also have seen videos of them conducting operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan,'' he said.
The video shows a brief biography and footage of what it says is Memtieli Tiliwaldi, who was shot by police during the attacks, playfully wrestling with other fighters in a TIP training camp.
In the video, their leader Damla speaks in the Turkic language of the Uighurs, who have with a long history of tense relations with the central government.
Uighur activists and security analysts blame the violence on economic marginalisation and restrictions on Uighur culture and the Muslim religion that are breeding frustration and anger among young Uighurs.
China's leaders say all ethnic groups are treated equally and point to the billions of dollars in investment that has modernised Xinjiang, a strategically vital region with significant oil and gas deposits.