Stop double standard on terrorism

Updated: 2013-12-20 07:10

By Zhou Zunyou (China Daily)

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A group of terrorists, armed with daggers and homemade bombs, attacked police officers investigating terrorist activities in Shufu county of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Dec 15. The clash that ensued left 16 people - two police officers and 14 attackers - dead. Six suspects have been arrested with incriminating evidence during the investigation and raids that followed in the county, which is administered by Kashgar.

For the Chinese government, the Shufu attack is another act of terrorism - the latest in the list of Uygur-related terrorist attacks this year. For the Western media, however, the incident is another reaction to China's "restrictions on the culture, language and religion ... in energy rich Xinjiang". The US response to the attack once again exposes the double standard the West uses in the global fight against terrorism.

The US played the same game even after the terrorist attack in Beijing on Oct 28. While China said the jeep crash on Tian'anmen Square was a terrorist attack, the US refused to refer to it as an act of terrorism and the US media stood by their government. CNN even published an op-ed article titled, "Tian'anmen crash: Terrorism or cry of desperation?" by Sean R. Roberts. This evoked a barrage of criticism from Chinese media outlets, which accused Roberts of sympathizing with terrorists and using double standard in the fight against terrorism.

To get to the bottom of the dispute, it is necessary to take a look at the terrorist attacks through the US' official lens, or how the State Department, the FBI, and the departments of Homeland Security and Defense describe terrorism. They use four basic factors: Terrorist acts are perpetrated by non-state entities, they involve violence or the threat of violence, they are designed to have psychological impact far beyond the immediate victims, and they have a political aim.

Investigations into the Shufu attack have revealed that the assailants were part of a 20-member terrorist group, led by a man identified as Hasan Ismail. The group had watched videos on terrorist violence and extreme religious propaganda, and used bombs and daggers to attack the police officers when the latter were pursuing criminal suspects in Sayibage township.

In June, rioters in Shanshan county of Xinjiang killed 24 people, 16 of whom were from the Uygur ethnic group, and injured 21 police officers and civilians.

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