Xinjiang riots a lesson for West

Updated: 2013-06-28 08:33

By Shi Lan (China Daily)

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At least 27 people died in riots that rocked Shanshan county, about 250 km from Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Wednesday.

The Shanshan riots were one of the innumerable acts of terrorism since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, which led the US-led West to label terrorism as the biggest threat to national security. But it's a pity that the Western powers still use double standards when it comes to terrorist attacks on China.

The US and its allies have spent astronomical amounts fighting the war against terrorism. But even more than one decade after the US launched its "war on terror", terrorism is far from dead. On the contrary, it is still taking the lives of innocent people from Asia to Africa, and from Europe to America.

So there is something wrong with the global anti-terrorism policy, and what can be done to fix that? One obvious deficiency is the lack of global consensus on the fight against terrorism.

Of course, the concept of terrorism varies from country to country. It depends on the circumstances and strategic goals of countries too. Nevertheless, three factors can always be used to determine whether a person's or group's action can be defined as terrorism: The use of violence or force, targeting of governments and people, and creating an atmosphere of terror to realize the objective of changing a government or society. The three key factors to define terrorism highlight its political goals, violent action and the damage it causes to society.

Different countries have different definitions for terrorism and adopted different policies to deal with it. Every country that suffers a terrorist attack has its own immediate threat to security and the right to decide its own course of action. But despite their differences, all countries agree that terrorism is evil and has been threatening the stability of global society and, hence, they have to cooperate to fight it.

In central and eastern Asia, for example, the countries that have suffered most because of terrorism have agreed that terrorism, extremism and separatism are the three evils threatening their national security and territorial integrity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's member states reached a consensus since the organization's inception to fight the three evils. That is a good example of regional coordination to fright against terrorism.

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