China wages “people’s war” on terrorism

 

 

 

Photo taken on Saturday of March 1, 2014 shows the surrounding of Kunming Railway Station

in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province. A group of unidentified armed men

stormed into Kunming Railway Station, causing injuries.   Photo by Lin Yiguang

 

Photo taken by a mobile phone on March 1, 2014 shows luggage scattered inside the Kunming 

Railway Station in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Twenty-seven

people were confirmed dead and 109 others injured in the railway station violent attack.  

Photo by Lin Yiguang

 

 

 

 

 

China wages

“people’s war”on terrorism

 

 

By Cheng Lu and Yu Tao

 

 

While China saw several successes in 2014, from the progress in the anti-corruption drive to the successful hosting of APEC, the year was also marred by deadly terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of scores and outraged the country.

Time and again, terrorism has taken its toll. To fight such crimes, China has waged a “people’s war” on terrorism, using every force in its power to deal a crushing blow to terrorist activities.

 

STRING OF ATTACKS

 

A terrorist attack that killed 31 people and injured 141 in March at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, was among the first attacks this year, changing Chinese people’s attitude toward terrorism.

Several claimed the attack was China’s “9-11″, bringing fear and terror into the lives of ordinary people on vacation, waiting for trains, or haggling with vendors at train stations.

“I never realized terrorists are so close to us,” a resident in Kunming wrote on China’s microblog Sina Weibo after the tragedy.

After seeing the attack in Kunming, Chinese people have begun to believe it could happen in their own cities, around them or their families, Turwinjan Tursun, associate researcher with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said.

Mei Jianming, an anti-terrorism expert at the People’s Public Security University of China, said the violence has seeped outside the borders of Xinjiang into other parts of China.

This trend became more obvious after the terrorist attack in Kunming, he said.

Meanwhile, terrorist activities have been on the rise in Xinjiang over the past year. On April 30, three people were killed and 79 injured at a railway station in Urumqi, the region’s capital city.

In May 22, an attack on a market, also in Urumqi, left 39 civilians dead and 94 injured. July 28 saw 37 civilians killed and 13 injured in a terrorist attack in Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture. Another attack on September 21, six civilians were killed and 54 injured after a series of explosions were set off in Luntai County.

These attacks, both inside and outside Xinjiang, show nothing but the evil of terrorists who plot against and target civilians.

 

GOVERNMENT’S DETERMINATION

 

The string of violent attacks has exposed the brutality of the terrorists’ conduct.

In order to better handle such emergencies, many provinces and regions in the country began conducting anti-terrorism drills beginning in March.

During the drills in Beijing, special vehicles and police helicopters were present at the scene.

In Fujian, Anhui, Sichuan and Jiangsu Province, most of the exercises were staged in railway stations and kindergartens with scenarios such as knife attacks and hijackings.

Meanwhile, in cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Urumqi, citizens have been rewarded for providing terror and crime tips. China’s first counter-terrorism militia was also unveiled to the public in Shenzhen last May.

Calling terrorism the common enemy of the people, President Xi Jinping urged the public to build a “wall of bronze and iron” to fight against terrorism.

“(We must) make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting ‘beat them!’” Xi said at a group study session on national security and social stability by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee in April.

In May, China launched a year-long crackdown on terrorism with Xinjiang as the major battleground. Some suspects and fugitives involved in terrorist activities have already given themselves to police, sources said.

 

PEOPLE’S WAR ON TERRORISM

 

In Xinjiang, slogans of fighting terrorism are posted on urban and rural streets and lanes. In many primary and middle schools, guards and male teachers stand watch when students enter or leave the school.

Urumqi has set up concrete road barriers and steel fences on both sides of several streets.

“Cars cannot go through easily due to the road barriers. Terrorists affect our business and life, ” said a man named Asya, who runs a noodle restaurant in Huishanyuan Community in Urumqi. “If they dare come here, the whole neighborhood will fight with them.”

In June, a group of terrorists at a chess and cards room were seized by civilians and police in Hotan Prefecture. In August, more than 30,000 volunteers helped local police chase the suspects in Karakax County.

“Terrorist attacks hurt people who love their homeland,” said Pan Zhiping, professor with the Central Asia Research Institute with Xinjiang University.

Pan said more civilians from different ethnic groups join the counter-terrorism campaign. Their behaviors once again show that terrorists are the enemies of all people.

“The war on terrorism should be led by the government and widely participated in by the public,” said Mei Jianming, who added as long as the country mobilizes resources at all levels, the war can be won.

But as the situation becomes more complicated, China vowed to introduce a counter-terrorism law at national level.

The war on terrorism should be waged in accordance with law, and people’s legitimate rights including freedom of expression and privacy should also be protected, Mei said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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