Will terror attack close gulf between China and Europe?

By Zhang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-16 0:13:01

The past week has seen the world's headlines dominated by the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the rally in Paris to protest against terrorism and the cover of the first issue published after the attack, which depicts the prophet Muhammad shedding a tear while holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign.

Sensible people are outraged by the cruel terrorists which has brought European people's sense of insecurity to the spotlight. The rally showed France's yearning for solidarity at this critical moment. The pictures of millions of people marching together has solicited the sympathy of the world.

China condemned this act of terrorism immediately, and the Chinese media have pointed their fingers at the terrorists, as China itself is a victim of terrorism.

In March, a terrorist attack killed 31 civilians and injured 141 others at a railway station in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan Province. Terrorist activities have also been on the rise in recent years in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, posing mounting pressure on the country's border security.

Terrorism consumes people's emotions ruthlessly. The American people suffered from it with the September 11 attacks, the Chinese people feel threatened by it in recent years, and now what has happened to Charlie Hebdo has shocked all of Europe.

However, Europe may have disappointed the Chinese public in offering support to China's anti-terrorism efforts in the past. 

After a terror incident took place in Xinjiang's Bachu county in April 2013, some Western media expressed skepticism over the nature of the incident, reflecting their biased reporting of China. The BBC's Chinese service even interviewed Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, the exiled Uyghur activist group, who unsurprisingly blamed the Chinese government's policy on Xinjiang and highlighted the country's ethnic conflicts. The Chinese public's complex feelings toward Europe are reflected in netizens' comments that questioned the ethics of Western media which put ideology ahead of the real threat.

Similarly, when reporting a terrorist attack in Xinjiang in November, the French elite newspaper Le Monde practically asserted that it is only China portraying these attacks as terrorism. The media coverage not only neglects the Chinese people's need for world support, but also distances Europe from the Chinese people. Despite Chinese people's favorable impression of Europe as the cradle of modern civilization and as a travel destination, the favor has been soured by Europe's disrespect toward Chinese people.

It is hoped that Europe can hold an objective view toward China and take the Chinese public's feelings into account. It should also look beyond the fact that ideology in China is different from the path the West wants it to take during the global fight against terrorism.

Posted in: Observer

blog comments powered by Disqus