China tore into the United States for removing a Uighur separatist group from its list of terrorist organizations, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying the U.S. takes "an ugly two-faced approach."
The Wall Street Journal reported that the State Department took the East Turkestan Islamic Movement off its terror group list, a group that China blames for creating ethnic tensions in the northwest part of the country.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the U.S. "has an ugly two-faced approach toward terrorist organizations," noting that the group has a violent history.
"Terrorist organizations are terrorist organizations, period," he added. "The U.S. should correct its mistake, not whitewash its position."
The U.S., according to the Journal, first classified the East Turkestan Islamic Movement as a terror group in 2002. China has accused the group of conducting terror attacks in the Xinjiang region, a 2013 car bombing near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, and a knife attack in Kunming the following year.
Despite China's criticism of the State Department move, some experts say that the group has not been active in nearly two decades.
"The group has not really existed since the early 2000s," James Millward, a professor of Chinese and Central Asian history at Georgetown University, told the Journal. "Listing ETIM in the first place was the mistake."
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