The terrorist attack in Kunming on Saturday, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province, shook the whole nation. The severity of the attack and the number of casualties are rare in China in recent years. After the government announced the attack was launched by extremists from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, debates on the causes of the attack, both at home and abroad, have become much stronger along with the nationwide mourning. Global Times reporter Hu Jia talked with two Chinese scholars over the issue.
Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China
This terror has just happened, and now is not the right time to dig into its causes. The priority should be how the community, both at home and abroad, can follow fundamental moral standards and condemn the terrorists in the strictest terms. Without this, it will be difficult for the international community to build a consensus to fight terrorism.
The bloody attack has blatantly exposed the nature of those separatists from Xinjiang. But such a terror is somewhat not that terroristic in the eyes of many Western media. Although this attack was also widely covered by the mainstream media in the West, many of them chose a delicately ambiguous position to shift the attention to the so-called Uyghur-Han conflicts.
Most Western governments condemned the attack and offered condolences to the families of the victims. But many of them should do more than just condemn the attack. They should reflect on their long-term support and shielding to these separatist groups. Stubbornly depicting these extreme actions as ethnic confrontation, they can no longer turn a blind eye in the face of so much bloodshed.
China has never ceased to increase its investment into border areas such as Xinjiang. These areas have been enjoying massive and preferential support offered in many respects such as education and employment. These achievements need to be observed by the West so the picture about Xinjiang can be objective.
After the 9/11 attacks, China condemned the terrorists swiftly and made every effort to fight terrorism along with other countries. It is widely acknowledged that the endeavor of anti-terrorism will be long-lasting. If the West wants long-term cooperation with China, they should at least show a firm stand against the Kunming terrorist attack. There is no leeway in the presence of the crimes against humanity.
It is a ridiculous mindset to employ a double standard in the matter of anti-terrorism simply because China's governance system is different from that of the West. If the Western countries really care about the betterment of China's border issues, they are welcome to be part of the efforts to boost the regional economic growth and social development by offering necessary investments. Or their finger-pointing can only add to their long-standing hypocrisy.
Wang Hongwei, associate professor at the School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China
Anti-terrorism has become a harder task in recent years, and the Tiananmen car crash incident that happened in October 2013, was a landmark.
Terrorism is no longer a problem that only exists in Xinjiang. It is now an issue that haunts the whole country. There is no safe haven immune from terrorism. It is high time that the entire community should establish a basic emergency response mechanism to counter terrorism.
It must be noted that most terrorist actions are done out of irrationality or complete madness. The purpose of these actions is to cause as wide an impact as possible. They are carefully calculated and designed.
That is why it has become more urgent for society, especially large cities and their key infrastructures, to build effective mechanisms to be prepared for any terrorist attacks. The frontline response forces including the police should be strengthened. Anti-terrorism needs to focus on taking precautions, which means a firm defensive system is urgently required.
Besides the necessity of improving people's alertness over terrorism, society should maintain vigilance about the expansion of populism, which always tries to put all the blame on the government, and uses some philosophies such as the so-called democracy and freedom to interpret these attacks.
The influence of these mindsets needs to be kept to a minimum. The slaughter reflects no ethnic problems, but the vilest of crimes against humanity. Such a bottom line should be kept in mind, and how to eradicate the ideological basis of terrorism should be given more emphasis in the future.
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