Xinjiang police officers dedicated to safeguarding regional peace

By Fan Lingzhi in Hotan and Liu Xin in Urumqi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/6 18:54:13




Editor’s Note:
Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has taken great efforts to fight against terrorism and extremism. There have been no violent attacks in the region for nearly three years.

The current peace in the region has not occurred independently. People of all ethnic groups, police officers and officials at all levels in Xinjiang have made their own contributions to safeguarding the region’s stability.

Police officers in Xinjiang work on the frontline of the fight against terrorism. According to data from China’s Central Television, from 2013 to 2016 a total of 127 police officers in Xinjiang sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. 

Here are the stories of some police officers from Hotan and Aksu in southern Xinjiang, places which used to be plagued by terrorism and extremism. In order to protect these individuals from terrorist retaliation, their identities have been replaced with pseudonyms.

“I have been to the food fair frequently but never eat there”

Ayiguli Kurban: I joined the Public Security Bureau in Hotan in 2011 and now I am responsible for patrolling the Hotan night food fair every day from sunset to late at night.

I may be the person who has spent the most time at the night food fair, but I never eat there. We have rules that we cannot make calls, chat or eat when we are on duty.

I have a son who is too young to go to school, but I have little time for him. Sometimes, when he cries to see me, his grandparents bring him to the night food fair. We can see each other from a distance.

The night food fair is very famous among the many tourists who come here. I sometimes see children get lost in the food fair, and I make efforts to return them safely to their parents. The situation always makes me think how my heart would be broken if it were my son who were lost.

We are police but also normal people. We are also sons and daughters to someone and parents to our children. 

“If the answer is no, please stay silent”

Li Jian: I am Li Jian from the Public Security Bureau of Hotan. I was with the SWAT team for two years and dealt with several anti-terrorism operations.

What is striking me most was a violent event, which happened in the summer of 2013. An illegal imam instigated a group of terrorists to take actions in Hotan. They carried hacking knives, bludgeons and stones to smash and burn shops and hurt innocent residents.  

After receiving the information, I called for an “immediate assemble” which means all SWAT team members should gather and be ready to run to the scene within one minute.

When we arrived there, we ordered them to drop their weapons through a louder speaker, but the terrorists outnumbered us and refused to listen. They began to attack our cars. Under these circumstances, we decided to take action. All of them were arrested, including those who tried to run away.   

I will always remember what happened on that day: a terrorist held a hacking knife two meters away from me. This was the first time that I encountered a terrorist within such a short distance and this was the first time I saw their atrocity. 

Although we watched videos of their ruthless ways of conducting violence, their madness was still beyond imagination when I was put into that scenario. It is an most unforgettable moment when you face death. 

During the action, my partner and I were positioned back-to-back and shouted loudly to let the other know we were alive.

After the operation, I found my hands were trembling.

I did my research after the incident. Within five meters, cold weapons including knives have a greater advantage than guns as they can cause larger wounds. People who hold guns are in danger if they miss the first shot.

I never told my parents about what really happened that day. After a long time, I told them that it was not a big deal and that we outnumbered the terrorists, but the truth was that we were almost surrounded by them. At the time, we did not have the chance to feel terrified.  

Another time, we tried to arrest a terrorist who was hiding in a bath center. We persuaded him to surrender but after he came out, he stabbed one of our men with a knife. 

The police officer fell bleeding. In a narrow lane, we finally captured the terrorist. Our man was sent to hospital for treatment. Fortunately, he made it.

We voluntarily stood guard for him that night in hospital, in the fear that the terrorists might have returned to take revenge. 

I have seen life and death pass before my eyes far too many times, and know how important stability is to a country. There have been no violent attacks in Xinjiang for 32 months now, a result that is attributed to the contributions of people of all local ethnic groups and police officers. 

Despite this, we can never slack off but will try harder. We want the region to be peaceful for 40 months, 50 months and forever. 

Why are we not relaxed? According to our analysis, terrorist forces outside China have never ceased their infiltration into China’s Xinjiang. They usually conduct violent attacks in Xinjiang by remotely commanding domestic terrorists. They release videos on the internet which promote terrorism. They never stop when they have the chance.

Some anti-China forces have not ceased slandering China’s Xinjiang policies and its police officers, under the excuse of “freedom and human rights.” I would very much like to ask them three questions: Have you ever seen innocent people being killed in front of you? Have you seen people who you work with every day falling, bleeding? Have you ever been challenged by a hacking knife? If your answer to these questions is no, please stay silent. 

“He was more like a teacher or a parent to me”

Alimu Abudu: I am 35 years old and now work in a border police station in Aksu Prefecture. 

I was called to assemble on July 5, 2009. We held shields and tried to separate people in violent attacks. 

When we returned after that day, a comrade suddenly pointed at my arm and asked, “What happened?”  Only then did I realize my left arm was covered in blood. I had been hurt by someone using a knife during the day but I had been too busy to notice. The incident left me with a scar on my arm that I see every day.

It is still painful for me to say this: A soldier who I had been friend with since I first joined the army died in a terrorist attack in 2008.

He was one of the soldiers who were killed. They were taking a morning run in Kashi in August 2008 when two terrorists drove an explosives-laden car into them. Sixteen people died and 16 were injured in the incident.

He was like a teacher or a parent to me. He taught me everything since my first day into the army - from how to stand at attention to learning the standard Chinese. I didn’t even have the chance to share my happiness at being enrolled in the police academy with him. I miss him.

Terrorists have tarnished the image of our people, and only by removing them can we see a better tomorrow. It is every Chinese person's responsibility to safeguard the country, no matter which ethnic group he or she is from.

I want my boy to be a soldier too. I want him to grow up like a true man and make his contributions to the country.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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