News / Asia

China Faces Widening Threat of Attacks

Police officers take aim with their weapons at a man playing the role of an attacker as he holds a woman hostage during an anti-terrorism drill at a railway station in Zhengzhou, China, May 7, 2014.
Police officers take aim with their weapons at a man playing the role of an attacker as he holds a woman hostage during an anti-terrorism drill at a railway station in Zhengzhou, China, May 7, 2014.
William Ide
In a little more than two months, China has seen three violent attacks at major train stations. Authorities say extremist terrorists carried out at least two of the attacks, in a widening security threat that has heightened concerns among the public. The violence comes amid government pledges to get tougher on terrorism.

Dozens fled and six were injured when a knife-wielding attacker struck at Guangzhou’s main train station earlier this week. Authorities say they shot the assailant after he refused to respond to warning shots, and it appears he was acting alone. So far, there has been no link between this week’s incident and two other attacks - one in Kunming in early March and another in the capital of China’s restive region of Xinjiang just last week.
 
China cities Urumqi, Guangzhou and KunmingChina cities Urumqi, Guangzhou and Kunming
Authorities say religious extremists carried out the attacks in Kunming and Urumqi, and that the suspects were members of Xinjiang’s mainly Muslim Uighur minority group.

Last week’s attack in Urumqi came just shortly after China’s President Xi Jinping visited Xinjiang and just as he was pledging to take decisive action against terrorists. The deadly bomb and knife attack killed three and injured nearly 80 people.

Government challenge

Han Lianchao, a visiting researcher at Washington D.C.’s Hudson Institute, said with the attack in Urumqi coming so soon after Xi's visit to Xinjiang, it poses a significant challenge to the government. He notes that Xi's claims that he would not hesitate to use iron-fists to deal with terrorists did little to stop the attack. Hao added that the symbolic value of the attack was far greater than the physical damage.

A new policy paper on national security, released this week, says China was hit with 10 terrorist attacks last year alone. While most occurred in Xinjiang, the list also included an attack on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In the wake of the Guangzhou attack this week, authorities carried out patrols at train stations in Shanghai and Beijing. Analysts say the threat appears to be spreading and it is fueling the discussion.

Over the past few months,  Xi has increasingly put more emphasis on the issue of terrorism in his speeches, and he held the first meeting of his newly formed National Security Commission. The body is the first of its kind for China and is seeking to take what authorities say is a more comprehensive approach to threats at home and abroad.

In places such as Xinjiang, the government so far has relied heavily on economic progress as a cure-all for the problem, but critics say religious oppression and government policies toward minorities are a key source of local discontent.

But in a recent speech, when Xi pledged to send terrorists scurrying into the streets, he also spoke about the need to address social conflicts as a means of preventing such problems in the future.

Social conflicts

Some analysts say this could mark a departure from the government’s past approach in places such as Xinjiang, where authorities have routinely used increased police presence and religious oppression in response to unrest.

Gardner Bovingdon, a China ethnic minorities analyst at Indiana University, said, “When Xi Jinping says he wants to do something else, I think he’s put down a rhetorical marker, but the real question will be does he follow that up with some concrete policies, some changes in policy direction from the ones that we’ve seen? And I fear that he will not.”

James Nolt, a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute said while every country worries about terrorism, he does not yet see any substantial difference between Xi and his predecessors.

“That sort of thing is always a national security concern and I don’t see any change in policy that really represents a very large shift in resources or change in the type of policy," said Nolt. "It is just being talked about more because there has been incidents in the news recently.”

Chinese analysts say violent terrorism is the biggest threat to domestic security and are looking to Xi’s newly formed National Security Commission to play a guiding role in establishing clearer legal and policy guidelines. China’s new report on national security says that while the military played a leading role in handling domestic security in the past, a more comprehensive approach spearheaded by the commission is needed now to deal with the growing complexity of the problem.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SEATO
May 09, 2014 4:06 PM
China has been making more enemies both inside and outside China. It is bound to get more attacks as long as it is still occupying Xinjang and suppressing religious and cultural freedom among ethnic Uighurs. God bless China !

In Response

by: NEIL from: Perth
May 30, 2014 4:09 AM
Well what about America?R u still remember 911?How can u just superficially believe it is government's problem?Why the most terrorist attacks were made by muslim ?

In Response

by: HANNAH from: CHINA
May 21, 2014 11:39 PM
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLESSING! IT IS TRUE THAT CHINA HAS MORE AND MORE ENEMIES INSIDE AND OUTSIDE.SOME COUNTRIES BULLY CHINA JUST OUT OF ENVY,BECAUSE CHINA HAS DEVELOPED FAST RECENTLY. HOPE WE ORDINARY PEOPLE CAN BE SAFE ,HAVE PEACEFUL LIFE.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid