Xinjiang attacks spur calls for more efforts

Updated: 2013-12-31 07:05

By Cao Yin in Beijing and Gao Bo in Urumqi (China Daily)

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Anti-terrorism and public security experts have urged the government to study closely the recent violent attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and to better cope with them, after eight terrorists were shot dead during an assault in the area on Monday.

At around 6:30 am, nine terrorists attacked the police station in Yarkan, a county in Kashgar prefecture, throwing explosives and setting fire to police cars, according to a local government press release.

Police shot and killed eight of the attackers and arrested one. The release said the incident is still under investigation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a news conference on Monday that the government wants to enhance international cooperation to fight terrorism.

The attack was the fifth violent assault in the prefecture this year, according to media reports, and police stations have become the main targets.

On Dec 15, 14 terrorists were killed when they attacked police officers with knives and explosives in the prefecture's Shufu county. Two police officers were killed.

On Nov 16, nine attackers were shot during an assault on a police station in Bachu county, leaving two officers dead and two injured.

Ma Pinyan, an anti-terrorism researcher, said the terrorists have targeted police stations to win sympathy and support from residents who might have conflicts with the government.

"The terrorists went after the police stations hoping to cater to those who are unsatisfied with the government or have disputes with local administrations," he said.

"The attackers have changed their strategies, using their family members or suicide to attack others, but our government has not found ways to fight them," said Ma, deputy director of the ethnic and religious study center at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences in Urumqi, capital of the region.

Further study is urgently needed to understand these terrorists and to adjust defense measures to the new style of attacks, Ma said.

Li Juan, vice-president of Xinjiang Police College, said the Internet has been used by terrorists to spread dangerous information, and security forces need to keep equipment up to date to combat the violent attacks.

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(China Daily 12/31/2013 page2)