Fight terrorism on all fronts

Updated: 2014-05-07 07:25

By Gu Liyan(China Daily)

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Details of the recent attacks show that terrorists today are better trained and more "professional", and are targeting vulnerable civilians on the eve of national holidays to cause maximum casualties.

The details prove the attacks were "professionally" planned and executed by wellorganized groups, which could be getting outside support. From the car crash in Tian'anmen Square last October to the knifewielding attackers in Kunming in March to last week's bomb blast in Urumqi, terrorist attacks have become more random but better planned, making China's fight against terrorism even more difficult.

Terrorists have used the political situations in some countries, especially those neighboring China, to intensify their nefarious activities. The national elections in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iraq, as well as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, have given terrorists the chance they needed to launch attacks, spread panic and destabilize the region.

Given the situation, China should build a well-trained, wellequipped special force to deal with emergencies, as well as strengthen its intelligence network to preempt terrorist attacks.

News reports say the two suspects killed in the Urumqi attack have been identified and security officials are checking their background information, for which they have sought the help of the public. On May 4, Zhang Chunxian, the Party chief of Xinjiang, said that a "people's war" should be launched "to fight terrorism". A "people's war" will help the authorities gather all the needed information on terrorists and make the public more alert against terrorism.

Xinjiang has suffered most of the terrorist attacks in China but it is also the most experienced region in the fight against terrorism. As a result, police immediately responded to the Urumqi attack and within a dozen minutes the injured had been sent to hospitals. Also, people took less time to recover from the shock this time. The opening of shops and resumption of normal life within hours of the attack can be seen as a failure of terrorists' attempt to spread panic among the people.

Likewise, terrorists' attempt to provoke one ethnic group against another failed this time. On May 1, that is a day after the attack, 11 Uygur college students from across the country published an open letter condemning terrorism and urging "Uygur compatriots to stand up against evil" forces. The letter received the support of tens of thousands of people in just one day.

Having suffered several tragedies together, the ethnic groups in Xinjiang have realized that terrorists are enemies of all ethnic and religious groups and friends to none, and that only the joint efforts of the government and people can stop them from creating terror and panic among the public.

The need for a nationwide antiterrorism mechanism can never be overemphasized. The central leadership has established the State Security Commission as part of its national strategy, and various eastern provinces, such as Jiangsu and Guangdong, have stepped up vigilance. Since inland provinces have realized that terrorism poses as a big threat to them as it does to Xinjiang, they have vowed to join hands with the central and other provincial governments to root out terrorism from China.

Gu Liyan is a researcher with the Institute of Law, Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. The article is an excerpt of her interview with China Daily's Zhang Zhouxiang.

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