A suspected suicide car bomber rammed the gate of the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan's capital of Bishkek on Tuesday. The attacker died and three local staff members were injured. The nature of the incident needs further investigation.
If it is proved to be a suicide terror attack, then it will be the first such incident against a Chinese embassy. In the past, Chinese embassies and consulates had been hit by Molotov cocktails and grenades. Shells were also dropped on embassies in chaotic countries. But a suicide terror attack, usually posing a bigger threat, has been particularly guarded against by sensitive Western countries such as the US.
The three forces, namely terrorism, extremism and separatism, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, can be traced in Central Asia. The security of Kyrgyzstan is arguably the weakest among the regional countries. But different from West Asia and the Middle East, all five Central Asian countries are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which plays a major role in cracking down on the three forces. The five countries, including Kyrgyzstan, cannot be viewed as a hotbed for rampant terrorism.
A Chinese diplomat was killed by extreme groups in Kyrgyzstan in 2002. Thereafter Kyrgyzstan enhanced the protection of Chinese diplomats and no further attacks have happened. The overall safety of Chinese diplomats stationed overseas is better than that of Western personnel. This is because China has barely made enemies in the world. The motives of targeting Chinese diplomats to deal a heavy blow to the country's diplomacy are not tenable.
Some Central Asian countries border China's Xinjiang
Uyghur Autonomous Region and proponents of the three forces are able to conduct trans-border crimes, which poses a special challenge. One of the achievements of the SCO is that it largely quashed the ability for such activities by terrorists, extremists and separatists, and the SCO members have common interests in this regard. Joint anti-terrorism efforts are not empty talks.
Who is the attacker and who backed him? Why did he choose the Chinese embassy as his target and why did he choose this timing? The police and security departments of Kyrgyzstan are expected to give the answers.
China and Kyrgyzstan maintain traditionally friendly ties and are founding members of the SCO. We believe Kyrgyzstan will solve the case and eliminate any hidden dangers for the safety of Chinese diplomats and the other Chinese in that country.
The incident has sounded an alarm bell for Chinese overseas institutions in Central Asia and across the globe. China has become a major power and the possibility that China will get dragged into international disputes is increasing. It is particularly vital to shield China from international terror attacks.
The incident reminds us that China is peaceful, but China's diplomats are undertaking uncertainties and risks. We would like to pay tribute to them and wish them safe from harm.