Beijing braces to prevent future terror

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-4 1:08:02

Workers stand before a police barrier outside Tiananmen rostrum in Beijing on Monday after a jeep crashed into the crowd in Tiananmen Square and burst into flames, killing five and injuring 38, police said. Photo: AFP

Beijing's Party chief Guo Jinlong has called for tighter security to prevent future terrorist attacks after the deadly car crash at Tiananmen Square on October 28 that authorities said was carried out by religious extremists from northwestern China.

During a two-day inspection tour over the weekend, Guo urged police and security forces to "look for vulnerable links" and "learn a lesson" from the attack. He also asked them to build capacity for intelligence gathering, the Beijing Daily reported on Sunday.

Guo stressed the importance of quick response to emergencies and asked the police and security forces to raise awareness about counter-terrorism campaigns. Authorities in downtown districts are now required to improve urban management and crackdown on violations of laws and regulations.

Guo said the Beijing government will improve supervision of rented housing, small- and medium-sized inns, and keep a closer eye on migrant people, especially those who "move suddenly."

The Beijing police described the car crash as a terrorist attack carried out by religious extremists from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the influence of the radical East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Five suspects, allegedly involved in the attack, were arrested last week.

Three key suspects who had occupied the car at the time of the attack died inside the vehicle after setting it aflame near the Tiananmen rostrum. The vehicle also killed two tourists and hurt 40 others on a rampage.

Although police had been notifying hotels and inns throughout the city to watch out for Uyghur suspects shortly after the attack, restaurants run by Uyghurs from Xinjiang said their businesses were not affected.

"We have not heard any notice from the authorities asking us to watch out," said a manager at a restaurant featuring Xinjiang cuisine on Jintai Road in Chaoyang district.

A local resident in Turpan, Xinjiang, who goes by the lone name of Akram and used to sell nuts in Beijing's streets, condemned the attack and said he worries that it could hurt the image of Uyghurs.

"What they did have harmed the relationship between (ethnic) Han people and Uyghurs and it might affect the economic development in Xinjiang as fewer investors have come because of the recent riots. The attack might further jeopardize our business," Akram told the Global Times.

Song Zhongping, a military affairs commentator, told the Global Times that it is important to grasp information in time to prevent similar violent incidents and to guarantee a more stable social environment for the Chinese people.

While people mourned the loss of lives and condemned the raid, a Friday article published on American broadcaster CNN's website provoked more criticism.

The article, by Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the US at the Woodrow Wilson Center, accused China of trying to cover up the Tiananmen attack, making it difficult for other countries to "extend to China's leaders and the Chinese people the sympathy they wish for and may deserve."

Another CNN article accused Chinese authorities of "uprooting" Uyghur communities while sending in Han Chinese to Xinjiang with a "monstrous development machine."

But many Chinese users of social media platforms accused US scholars and the US media of applying one standard against terrorism in their own country and quite another in China's case.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times that the rhetoric revealed the US' "double standards."

"The rhetoric has sent out the wrong signal that only attacks suffered by the US are considered as terrorism," he said.

Related special coverage: Tiananmen car crash deemed terrorist attack
Editorial: CNN disrespects itself with terror sympathy
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