US condemns market attack
The attack in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region that killed 31 people drew condemnation on Thursday from the United States as security analysts and experts called for a stepped up fight against the growing threat of terrorism.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the United States condemns the horrific terrorist attack in Urumqi. “This is a despicable and outrageous act of violence against innocent civilians and the United States resolutely opposes all forms of terrorism,” he said.
“We offer our condolences and sympathies to the victims, their families, and all those affected by this attack,”
At the US State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki opened the Thursday daily briefing with
•See more, a similar statement.
“It is a strong statement that was released very quickly. There is no ambiguity about this being a terrorist action,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior advisor for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
On Thursday morning Beijing Time, two cars without license plates plowed into people at an the market near the People’s Park in Urumqi, the regional capital, with the occupants throwing explosives into the crowd, killing 31 and injuring at least 94 others. The Ministry of Public Security described it as “an extremely severe terrorist incident”.
It was the second terrorist attack in Urumqi in less than a month. On April 30, a railway station explosion killed three people, including two attackers, and injured 79 others.
Following the attack, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to severely punish terrorists and spare no efforts in maintaining stability. “Of course, this is an organized, long-planned terrorist attack given its nature — their tactics, it’s targeting civilians and causing massive casualties,” said Ding Yuan, spokesman with Global Alliance for Preserving the History of WWII in Asia and active community advocate based in California.
The Chinese government should work closely with some countries in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia, for example, to learn from their lessons and experiences on countering terrorism, said Ding.
George Koo, member of the Committee of 100, which promotes better ties between China and the US, said people used to think of the origin of acts of terrorism and suicide bombing as specific to the Middle East.
“Since September 11, 2001, we know that there is no geographical limitation on where such acts of violence can take place. Combating terrorism is a worldwide problem and requires the cooperation of all legitimate governments in order to be an effective counter-terror force,” Koo said. “In the long run, China needs to find ways to lessen the impact of random violence.”
Ma Pinyan, a senior antiterrorism researcher, said there had been a growing number of attacks and there was also the possibility that more people had become terrorists despite a crackdown on extremist activities in recent years.
All these factors meant that counterterrorism efforts must be intensified and carried out at all levels, the experts said.
Liu Lei, Xinjiang military command commissar, said religious extremists in the region tended to recruit jobless young people from rural areas.
He said most members of the violent or terror-related groups cracked in Xinjiang in recent years were jobless and aged between 10 and 25.
More must be done to ensure that people at the grassroots had jobs so that they did not fall prey to extremists, Liu said.
Ma said China needed to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were increasingly becoming bases for the planning of attacks and training of terrorists in Xinjiang. Effective measures
A special law on counterterrorism was urgently needed, Ma said.
Dai Peng, a professor at People’s Public Security University of China, said the nation should enhance its capacity to combat terrorism in terms of intelligence gathering at border areas.
Basic counterterrorism measures also included cutting terrorists’ sources of funding and weapons, Dai said.
“Police should take effective measures to cut off their source of funding. Whenever banks discover the illegal inflow or outflow of funds by suspected terrorists, they should freeze the accounts immediately.”
Police and customs officials should maintain the pressure in cracking down on arms smuggling, he said.
Meng said the government should improve cooperation on information gathering and sharing with other countries to target terrorists at home and abroad who increasingly used the Internet to spread their extremist activities.
Security checks and patrols at public places such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls and theaters must be strengthened because those areas were major targets for terror attacks, Meng said.
Everyone should stay on high alert for suspected terrorists and report them to the authorities immediately, Meng said, adding that a consensus should be reached — that terror attacks could cause huge damage to all ethnic groups and nationalities. Zhang Yan and Cui Jia contributed to this story. Contact the writers at xuwei@ chinadaily.com.cn and firstname.lastname@example.org
A victim is taken to the General Hospital of Armed Police in Urumqi on Thursday.
Police seal off the market after the attack.