Ter­ror­ists strike, but progress made

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CUI JIA cui­jia@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A ter­ror­ist at­tack that left five dead in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion on Wed­nes­day has come at the end of a year in which China has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism, a se­cu­rity an­a­lyst has said.

Three at­tack­ers slashed peo­ple with knives and det­o­nated an ex­plo­sive de­vice af­ter driv­ing up to the Party com­mit­tee of Moyu county, in the south­ern Hotan pre­fec­ture, at 4:50 pm.

An of­fi­cial and a se­cu­rity worker were killed, and three oth­ers were in­jured.

Po­lice shot dead all three at­tack­ers at the scene, the Min­istry of Public Se­cu­rity was quoted as say­ing by Xin­hua News Agency on Thurs­day. The case is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, it added.

Li Wei, a coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­pert at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­terna- tional Re­la­tions, said the vi­o­lence came at the end of an oth­er­wise largely peace­ful year thanks to govern­ment ef­forts.

“Be­sides the Moyu at­tack, no ma­jor ter­ror­ist at­tacks have hap­pened in China this year, as au­thor­i­ties have been strik­ing hard against ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties in ac­cor­dance with the law,” he said. “The mea­sures to fight ter­ror­ism have been proven to be ef­fec­tive.”

The at­tack­ers tar­geted govern­ment au­thor­i­ties dur­ing of­fice hours, clearly a move to demon­strate their po­lit­i­cal goals, Li added.

Xin­jiang, which has a pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion, has been China’s main bat­tle­ground in the fight against ter­ror­ism, sep­a­ratism and ex­trem­ism.

Even with the preven­tion mea­sures now in place, Li said it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to stop ev­ery at­tack. He said the public and au­thor­i­ties should be pre­pared and stay vig­i­lant to threats from home and abroad.

Peo­ple in Hotan pre­fec­ture are known for fight­ing back against ter­ror­ists. In Au­gust 2014, more than 30,000 vil­lagers in Moyu joined with po­lice of­fi­cers to help cap­ture 10 sus­pects, while in June 2014, peo­ple of Hotan city fought off three knife-wield­ing at­tack­ers.

Chen Quan­guo, who was ap­pointed as Party chief of Xin­jiang in Au­gust, said in Novem­ber that pre­vent­ing ter­ror­ism and main­tain­ing so­cial sta­bil­ity are the over­rid­ing po­lit­i­cal goals for the re­gion.

The re­gion has in­tro­duced strict se­cu­rity mea­sures in public places, such as shop­ping cen­ters and on public trans­porta­tion, with roundthe-clock armed pa­trols and com­pul­sory checks on bags and lug­gage.

Chen urged Xin­jiang of­fi­cials to crack down on ex­ist­ing ter­ror­ist cells and pre­vent more peo­ple from get­ting in­volved in ter­ror­ist or sep­a­ratist ac­tiv­i­ties.

The mea­sures to fight ter­ror­ism have been proven to be ef­fec­tive.” Li Wei, coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­pert at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions

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