Anti-terrorism law needed urgently: experts

By Zhang Yiwei Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-3 1:38:01

Editor's note:

Li Wei, director of the anti-terrorism study center at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, Pan Zhiping, a research fellow with the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences (XASS), and Turgunjan Tursun, a research fellow at XASS, talked to the Global Times on the terrorism issue in Xinjiang.

Attacks by terrorists from Xinjiang have spilled out of the region over recent years to Beijing, and now Yunnan Province. Is it a trend that terrorist attacks are extending nationwide?

Li: The terrorists want to make it happen but are not capable of spreading their attacks nationwide and their ability  of carrying out similar attacks should not be overestimated.

They can only choose a spot with weak security and this time they chose Kunming as they are familiar with the region since they often use the near-border province as their corridor to enter into or escape from the country.

Does the attack place higher demands on setting up an anti-terrorism law?

Li: It's very urgent to launch an anti-terrorism law, instead of continuing to apply criminal law to terrorist attacks.

The criminal law has deterrent power on a legal basis, but for brutal terrorists, it hardly works.

An anti-terrorism law plays a preventive function as intelligence gathering and forecasting in the law can more effectively address the issue.

Xinjiang policy is deemed to have moderated after Zhang Chunxian, the region's Party chief, took office in 2010. Should the authorities adjust Xinjiang policy to respond to the accumulating attacks over recent years?

Pan: Huge economic aid has been invested into Xinjiang, and terrorist attacks persist at a time that Xinjiang's economy is gaining momentum instead of a time of poverty.

We should be aware that we cannot rely on economic development to address political issues.

Tursun: The change in Xinjiang policy in 2010 aimed to address the problem on a long-term basis, as the previous "strong hand" pattern turned out to be not so effective.

The emergence of violence is after a long-term accumulation and the current terrorist attacks are a result of the previous policy instead of the current one.

The effect of the current policy will be seen in the future.

Xinjiang policy will be adjusted and improved as the situation develops, but will never return to the previous one.

The authorities will never simply rely on high-handed measures to address the issue.

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee held a meeting addressing the region in December 2013.

It stressed a combination of maintaining stability and economic development.

How does the spreading of fundamentalism in Xinjiang influence terrorist attacks and the stability of the region?

Tursun: The main ideological source of terrorist attacks is religious extremism and people who learn fundamentalism can easily lean to extremism, which serves political purposes in the name of religion.

Religion spread into the region unsystematically or even through irregular and underground channels, which make believers easily taken advantage of and makes it difficult to identify extremism, for which authorities should be vigilant.

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