US con­demns mar­ket at­tack

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton, CHANG JUN in San Fran­cisco and XU WEI and WANG QIAN in Bei­jing

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 wangqian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

FU XIAOBO / XIN­HUA

A vic­tim is taken to the Gen­eral Hospi­tal of Armed Po­lice in Urumqi on Thurs­day.

CAO ZHIHENG / XIN­HUA

Po­lice seal off the mar­ket af­ter the at­tack.

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