‘Strike hard’ campaign aims to restore harmony to Xinjiang people

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-7-7 8:57:52

Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, peacefully observed the fifth anniversary of the 2009 riots on Saturday. But the region is still overshadowed by the threat of terrorism. A "strike hard" on terrorism has been in effect for about two months, and headlines are still being made by the terrorists, given stern punishments after being convicted.

This campaign, although featuring proactive combat against terrorism, aims at fending off the risks of future terrorist incidents. The crackdown, which will last about one year according to Xinjiang authorities, is going to nip terrorist attacks in the bud.

The last two months have witnessed many perpetrators concerning terrorism being charged and convicted as quickly and severely as possible.

This might raise a question, which is also being asked by both media and the community, over whether justice and the rule of law can be ensured in this "strike hard" campaign.

No judicial system can guarantee 100 percent efficacy of law enforcement, but Chinese authorities in charge of public security have taken effective measures to reduce injustice to a minimum. For example, the Ministry of Public Security has dispatched supervision groups, which are barely reported by media, to many local authorities, whose actions will be guided by these groups.

Education and religion are even more crucial to root out the hotbed of terrorism in Xinjiang. More efforts are being made to help local religious figures, such as imams, spread accurate interpretations of Islamic principles, which will protect local Muslims from the brainwashing of religious extremism.

But there are continuous voices, especially from Western media, that depict China's efforts to fight terrorism as a cover-up of failures to deal with the contradictions between Uyghur and Han people. Such an accusation is a distorted conclusion based on a lopsided and preconceived observation of China's ethnic relations.

Because of different cultural customs and lifestyles, spats and friction among individual Uyghurs and Han are hard to eradicate. But single cases are far too unqualified to serve as an argument to conclude there are "contradictions" or even a "stand-off" between ethnic groups. Chinese laws forbid any ethnic discrimination and antagonism. However, it is true that misunderstandings between Uyghur and Han people have slowly increased in recent years. The idealist picture is not being painted as smoothly as people expected.

Part of the reason is because some local authorities lack the experience of acting properly and thoughtfully in face of the grimmer counter-terrorism situation. Some of their policies and actions have caused serious side effects. For example, several media have reported how some police officers and security personnel use double standards in law enforcement on Uyghurs, who have to undergo heavier security check than others. Individual cases like this are not the right effectuation of the central government's policy.

China's campaign against violent terror will be a long-term endeavor. Whether it can win relies on whether central and local authorities can establish a concerted mechanism to effectuate established purposes and visions. In this way, the odds on beating terrorism can be in our favor.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Liu Zhun based on an interview with Mei Jianming, director of the Anti-terrorism Research Center of People's Public Security University of China. liuzhun@globaltimes.com.cn

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