News / Asia

    China Appeals for International Support in 'War Against Terrorism'

    Policemen and paramilitary policemen patrol a street near the Kunming Railway Station, March 3, 2014.
    Policemen and paramilitary policemen patrol a street near the Kunming Railway Station, March 3, 2014.
    VOA News
    China is appealing to the international community for "more understanding and support" in what it describes as its fight against terrorism.

    The appeal came after masked attackers armed with swords killed 29 people and injured 130 more at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming.

    Fu Ying, a spokeswoman for the National People's Congress, which opens Wednesday amid heavy security in Beijing, made clear that China expectated support.

    "Terrorism does not have national boundaries. We wish and expect that our efforts to crack down on terrorism will gain international understanding and support in the future," said Fu.

    Beijing has blamed the attack on militants from the northwest region, Xinjiang, where the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority complains of repression by the government.

    Unrest involving Uighurs is not uncommon in Xinjiang. The government has for years quickly labeled any such violence - even street riots or shootouts during police raids - as terrorist attacks.

    This tendency, along with Chinese government opacity, has led many to be skeptical about such labels. Gardner Bovingdon, a China ethnic minorities analyst with Indiana University, told VOA he is worried about a "rush to judgment" in the Kunming case.
     
    "I think we should all withhold judgment until there is more information forthcoming," he said. "There have only been a small number of violent attacks that I think can legitimately be called 'terrorist' that have been attributed to Uighurs in organizations."
     
    Bovingdon told VOA the only other recent attack that may fall under such a category is the October incident in Tiananmen Square. In that incident, two bystanders were killed when a car plowed through a group of people and burst into flames.
     
    Chinese authorities blamed both the Tiananmen Square car crash and the Kunming sword attack on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, a shadowy group said to be fighting for independence in Xinjiang.
     
    Washington officially recognizes ETIM as a terrorist organization, but has been reluctant to acknowledge ETIM's involvement in the Chinese attacks or even to call the incidents themselves "terrorism."
     
    After days of protests in Chinese state media about alleged double standards, the U.S. State Department did acknowledge Monday the Kunming case "appears to be an act of terrorism," since it targeted random members of the public.
     
    In the aftermath of the attack, Chinese authorities vowed to take firm action to root out terrorist organizations in order to "safeguard national stability," leading some to fear even more widespread restrictions on Uighurs.
     
    James Leibold, a Beijing-based ethnic minorities expert from Australia's LaTrobe University, told VOA that a widening crackdown could push Uighurs in Xinjiang "even further into desperation."
     
    "They're a group that's very marginalized within Xinjiang society and the penetration of the state deeper and deeper into their lives sometimes leads them to do acts like may have occurred in Kunming," sad Leibold.
     
    For now, it remains unclear why anyone would feel the need to carry out such a brutal attack on innocent bystanders, and why they felt the need to do it in Kunming - more than 1,500 kilometers from Xinjiang.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora