Lies and false hopes entrap Xinjiangers

Updated: 2015-06-18 07:42

By Cui Jia and He Na(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

A global threat

On March 1 last year, a group from Xinjiang used knives to randomly attack members of the public at a railway station in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. The attack left 31 people dead and 141 injured. The police investigation found that the group originally planned to cross the border in Yunnan illegally and carry out a holy war overseas. However, the plan was changed after the group's members were ordered to carry out the attack in Kunming if they were unable to leave the country.

On June 29, 2012, six men carrying sharpened metal crutches and concealed explosives attempted to hijack Tianjin Airlines Flight GS7554, which was en route to Urumqi, the regional capital, shortly after the plane took off from Hotan airport in the south of Xinjiang.

The yijilate movement has grown and mushroomed in recent years, mainly thanks to its clever use of the Internet, and its activities have become more pronounced. A growing number of people are now willing to sell their homes and give up everything to travel abroad, according to Yang. "The authorities must be prepared to deal with the situation," he said.

Li Wei, who conducts research into anti-terrorism studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said yijilate is not unique to China, and it poses a global threat. "In 2014, the UN urged member countries to step up efforts to prevent their residents from participating in terrorist activities overseas," he said.

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has long inland and maritime borders, which have resulted in the region becoming one of the major routes used by extremists who cross the border illegally.

"Guangxi has attached great importance to counterterrorism and illegal border crossings. In recent years, we have established multilevel, multichannel security cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, especially Vietnam and Cambodia," said Peng Shunke, director of the International Cooperation Division of the Public Security Department in Guangxi.

Promises of a better life

In the past year, the Guangxi police have assisted neighboring countries with investigations into 103 transnational crimes, and border control offices in other ASEAN countries have helped Guangxi with 101 cases.

"People associated with cross-border terrorism are prone to violence and are also very cunning," Peng said. "We have instigated numerous measures, including counterterrorism training, to improve border controls with neighboring countries. We also share our experiences by exchanging information about suspected terrorists, and arresting and repatriating people involved in terrorism."

He called on the countries involved to provide their neighbors with as much help as possible, within the scope of the law, to deal with terrorism and other transnational crimes. He also urged greater coordination of inquiries and wider notification of activities related to terrorism.

International terrorist groups use the promise of a better life to lure Xinjiang people, especially the young, to travel overseas. The promise usually has a deadly sting in its tail, though.