News / Asia

China Heightens Security in Wake of Train Station Attacks

China's top leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, bottom right, have a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of a slashing spree during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, March 3, 2014.
China's top leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, bottom right, have a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of a slashing spree during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, March 3, 2014.
William Ide
China is strengthening security in the capital, Beijing, as it holds key political meetings just days after a violent attack at a train station in southwestern part of the country left more than 30 dead. Chinese authorities say separatists from the country's remote Xinjiang region were responsible for carrying out what officials described as a highly organized terrorist attack.
 
In the wake of the brutal Kunming attack, state media report officials in Beijing held an emergency meeting to boost safety and security in the capital.
 
The measures, among others, include heightening anti-terrorism and anti-explosives awareness in the city. Officials also called for strengthening security on public transportation such as buses and the city's massive and sprawling subway system.
 
Of the more than 10 attackers accused of involvement in Saturday's attack, four were shot dead and one taken into police custody. Others remain at large.
 
Some in Kunming say they felt uneasy that some assailants had not yet been apprehended.
 
Mrs. Shu, a shop owner in Kunming, said that while she feels safe during the day she worries at night. She said it is easier at night for the assailants to commit a crime and escape. She is worried they may come back.
 
Domestic security will be a key issue when Chinese officials meet this week in Beijing. Although China's military spending is growing rapidly, the tightly controlled country still spends more on domestic security than it does on defense.
 
Since 2009, China's security budget in Xinjiang alone has grown from $250,000 to $1 billion.
 
Twin sessions

In Beijing, China's top leaders met at the Great Hall of the People Monday for the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body of 2,200 deputies.
 
Du Qingling a top official with the conference said the government extends its sincere condolences to those killed in the violent terrorist attack at Kunming station. He then asked deputies to hold a moment of silence.
 
Every year when China's top leadership gathers for its political meetings in the capital, there is always a striking increase in police presence on the streets. Security is particularly strengthened around Tiananmen Square where the meetings are held at the Great Hall of the People.
 
The meetings are called the twin sessions in Chinese because while advisors meet, lawmakers gather for what is called the National People's Congress at about the same time.
 
Off guard

In the attack's aftermath, many are demanding that a crackdown be launched. Some are also asking that anti-terror laws be strengthened to help the government have a better ability to respond.
 
James Leibold, a visiting professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the attacks caught the government off guard and heightened concerns that the incident could play into ethnic tensions.  "I think they are particularly worried about the Han backlash. There are a lot of people talking about how this is reminiscent of 2009. When you had the Han riots in Shaoguang in Guangdong and how that spilled over into Urumqi and that terrible street violence. The government is worried to not let that get out to loose control of it," he said.
 
In 2009, Xinjiang was rocked by ethnic riots that left about 200 people dead, both Han Chinese and members of Xinjiang's Uighur Muslim minority group.
 
In late December, Leibold noted, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision for a new grand strategy for Xinjiang. And while details of that strategy are still coming together, it is clear that Xi intends to intensify controls in the region.

"I think we've got some indicators of what that might be and in short it's going to be a further penetration of the party state into the lives of ordinary people in Xinjiang," stated Leibold.
 
He added that will come in the form of more cameras on the streets and boots on the ground in Xinjiang.  Party cadres will also be sent down to areas all over Xinjiang.
 
Xinjiang officials recently announced that some 200,000 cadres would be sent down to the grassroots over the next three years the region. The government aim in doing this, it said, is to improve people's livelihood and ensure lasting stability.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid