How to pro­tect Chi­nese na­tion­als over­seas

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Fan Jinghui, the Chi­nese na­tional held hostage by the Is­lamic State group, was mur­dered on Nov 19. A day later, gun­men at­tacked the Radis­son BluHo­tel in Bamako, cap­i­tal ofMali, took hostages and killed more than 20 peo­ple, three of whom were Chi­nese na­tion­als.

Ter­ror­ism is not newto Chi­nese peo­ple, only that un­til re­cently most of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks were car­ried out by the East­ern Turk­istan Is­lam­icMove­ment within the coun­try. But the two re­cent cases show that Chi­nese na­tion­als face se­ri­ous threats even while trav­el­ing or work­ing over­seas, and mea­sures have to be taken to en­sure their safety.

The num­ber of Chi­nese na­tion­als go­ing abroad for busi­ness, stud­ies or travel has been con­tin­u­ously grow­ing. Last year, Chi­nese peo­ple made more than 100 mil­lion trips over­seas, and an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese en­ter­prises have been “go­ing global” or en­gag­ing in over­seas ven­tures in re­cent years. Th­ese have in­creased the pos­si­bil­ity of at­tacks on Chi­nese na­tion­als over­seas, too.

So, how to pro­tect Chi­nese na­tion­als and en­ter­prises over­seas will be a ma­jor prob­lem for China.

It should be noted that most of the over­seas at­tacks tar­get­ing Chi­nese na­tion­als have been eco­nomic crimes; they didn’t have any­thing to do with po­lit­i­cal ri­valry with or anger against China. For ex­am­ple, the IS’ orig­i­nal pur­pose of tak­ing Fan hostage was to get a fat ran­som. But seen dif­fer­ently, it was a kind of po­lit­i­cal provo­ca­tion be­cause it chal­lenged the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s obli­ga­tion to pro­tect its cit­i­zens trav­el­ing abroad.

The tar­get of the mil­i­tant group that claimed to have planned the at­tack in Bamako might have been the lo­cal peace-build­ing process and/orWestern coun­tries that still ex­er­cise in­flu­ence in Mali. But the fact that its activists in­dis­crim­i­nately killed peo­ple makes the group an enemy to all, in­clud­ing China. Be­sides, the killings high­light the frag­ile se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try which could hin­der Chi­nese rail­way projects in­West Africa.

Hence, China has no choice but to de­fend its over­seas in­ter­ests and pro­tect its na­tion­als trav­el­ing or work­ing abroad by tak­ing stricter mea­sures.

The ques­tion is: What mea­sures will China ac­tu­ally take? Launch­ing mil­i­tary at­tacks against ter­ror­ist groups asWestern pow­ers do can never be a wise choice for China, be­cause ter­ror­ism has com­pli­cated lo­cal ori­gins and mass uni­lat­eral mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion of­ten fails to root it out. Also, the pow­ers that have launched direct mil­i­tary at­tacks against ter­ror­ist groups in coun­tries in the Mid­dle East andNorth Africa, and Afghanistan have got caught in lo­cal po­lit­i­cal con­flicts.

There­fore, China should pro­vide sup­port to in­ter­na­tional coali­tions tar­get­ing the IS, as well as rely more on lo­cal gov­ern­ments to com­bat ter­ror­ism, as in the case of Mali.

But China’s se­cu­rity de­part­ments must re­al­ize the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing Chi­nese cit­i­zens and en­ter­prises over­seas. This is a new­task and they need to put in more ef­forts to com­pen­sate for lack of ex­pe­ri­ence. In other words, China needs to par­tic­i­pate in global anti-ter­ror­ism cam­paign in a smart­way by co­or­di­nat­ing with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The au­thor is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Nan­jing Univer­sity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.