Survivors of terror attacks in Xinjiang decry violence
Condemn terrorists, express hope to cherish hard-won peace
Published: Nov 17, 2021 11:55 PM

"How could these terrorists so brutally and ruthlessly kill those who they never met?" a survivor of the terror attack that happened on July 28, 2014 in Shache county of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said at a press conference on Wednesday via video link. Together with another terror attack victim and a daughter of a police officer who died in the line of duty, they condemned terrorists and expressed hopes to cherish hard-won peace and happy lives in the region. 

The Xinjiang regional government held its 60th press conference in Beijing on Wednesday and invited victims of terror attacks to tell how their lives had been turned upside down and beloved ones had been taken by terrorists. 

From 1990 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang region, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, according to data from the Xinjiang regional government.

These are not only numbers but tragedies that happened to each individual. 

Zhang Lihua, who was born in Changchun of Northeast China's Jilin Province, sobbed too much to speak when recalling the nightmare. When driving a truck that carried cows past Shache county on July 28, 2014, she and her husband were blocked by a group of terrorists. 

"I was lying in the upper berth inside the truck. My husband, the shipper and driver were inside the car. I heard my husband ask the shipper 'what should we do?' and then they called the police and said 'come quickly to rescue us!' At the same moment, the terrorists smashed the truck and dragged my husband and the shipper out," Zhang said. 

"My husband shouted to me 'Lihua, do not come out of the truck!' but he never came back to me… he was killed by the terrorists," Zhang said, immersed with grief. 

"I felt so terrified and dared not move while the terrorists were shouting and breaking the tires ... after hiding for three or four hours, I was rescued by police officers. I saw my husband was lying in blood under the truck. I came to him and found his body had stiffened," Zhang said. 

"My husband was the only son of his parents. His death struck a huge blow to our family. His death hurt us all the time, especially during the Spring Festival ... delicacies have no taste," Zhang said.

Footage of violent terrorists setting fire to a public place in Xinjiang Photo: Screenshot of a documentary on anti-terrorism in Xinjiang

Footage of violent terrorists setting fire to a public place in Xinjiang Photo: Screenshot of a documentary on anti-terrorism in Xinjiang

Zhang noted that they went to Xinjiang region to do some small business involving freight transport. In the early morning of July 28, 2014, a group of terrorists wielding knives and axes raided the Ailixihu township government and a local police station. They set fire to trucks along the roads and killed drivers and passengers. 

According to data from the Xinjiang regional government, 37 people died in the terrorist attack on July 28, 2014, and 31 trucks and cars were vandalized, with six of them burned. The police shot 59 terrorists dead and arrested 215. 

The other attack, which happened on September 21, 2014 in Luntai county in the Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, made Dilqemer Tursun, a dancer, lose her right leg. 

"September 21, 2014, a day I would never forget. It was the day for us to go to the market for shopping and there were so many people… my mother and I were walking on the street and suddenly, there was a loud roar. Before I knew what happened, I fell hard on the ground with a blank mind and great pain in my right leg," Dilqemer told the press conference.

"Cries were everywhere and I heard people yelling 'help' or calling the police… later I heard my mother crying but could not find her… suffering with pain, I raised my head and saw blood on the ground and my broken right leg…" Dilqemer recalled. 

She was later sent to a hospital and had an amputation. "My parents were heart-stricken and they cried in the corridor of the hospital. My father was overwhelmed by sorrow and his hair turned gray in one night," said Dilqemer.

With the family's care, Dilqemer gradually accepted the fact of losing her leg and began to learn how to walk with an artificial leg. She now works in a hospital in Luntai county. 

"There has been no terror attack in Xinjiang for nearly five years. This is what we expect and want to see. As a victim of a terror attack, I cherish the current peaceful and happy life. I hope what happened to me would never happen again," said Dilqemer.

Aside from victims of terror attacks, a relative of a police officer from Xinjiang was also invited to attend the Wednesday conference via video link. 

Gulqir Eret, the daughter of Eret Mamut, a police officer in Pishan county of Hotan Prefecture who died when dealing with a terror attack on September 10, 2016, shared her story beside a picture of her family with the father's image in it having been generated by computer. 

"When I came to the hospital, I told myself on and on that 'nothing happened to father, nothing…' but the moment I entered the hospital, I saw my mother and many people were crying… the sky fell down on me… how could my father leave us? I refused to accept the fact that he had left us forever," Gulqir said with tears. 

She later learned that her father had led a team to seize the terrorists but they had committed a suicide attack. Her father stood in front of another police officer and then fell, covered in blood. 

"In 2019, my father was given an award as a 'Hero of the People' and I went to Beijing to attend the ceremony. I was proud of him. He was not only the hero to me, but also to our country. Due to so many people's efforts and sacrifices, like my father's, we no longer worry about being attacked by terrorists. Xinjiang region has also become more stable and prosperous," said Gulqir. 

Some foreign media were invited to attend the Wednesday meeting, but unlike giving rolling coverage to stories of so-called victims who claimed they had been tortured in Xinjiang, few of them reported the stories of these victims of terror attacks and their families as of press time. 

Analysts lashed out at their double standards on reports over Xinjiang topics. 

These stories of victims of terror attacks in Xinjiang unveiled the threats of terrorism to the Xinjiang region previously. Under these circumstances, the region has taken a series of firm, resolute and effective measures to counter terrorism and made achievements, Xu Guixiang, spokesperson of the Xinjiang regional government, told the Wednesday press conference. 

Xu noted that even though there are different voices on Xinjiang regional's policies on countering terrorism and de-radicalization, history will justify them. For those who want to use topics on Xinjiang to interfere in China's domestic affairs, their attempts are doomed to fail.