Don't label terrorism as 'ethnic': adviser

By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-06 02:39

Cases like the deadly attack in Kunming should be handled in a way that avoids linking a terrorist assault with an "ethnic issue".

Zhu Weiqun, head of the committee on ethnic and religious affairs under China's top political advisory body, made the remark on Wednesday in an interview with China Daily.

Zhu, the chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was addressing misunderstandings from the terrorist attack in the Yunnan provincial capital on Saturday.

"Actually, in a range of violent terrorist attacks taking place in Xinjiang, the enemy murdered Han Chinese as well as Uygurs."

The stabbing spree by five separatists from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region at Kunming Railway Station killed 29 people and injured another 143.

Afterwards, the veteran official on ethnic affairs noticed fear and resentment among a few Chinese people against their Uygur compatriots from Xinjiang.

"Such sentiments — although not widespread — deserve our attention," Zhu said.

"We should not relate such cases to an ethnic issue in a casual way," Zhu said.

Follow-up measures to handle any other such cases should aim at "guarding people's interests as well as legal sanctity", and the case "should be defined as it is", Zhu said.

"Most Uygurs are with us in the fight against separatism and violent terrorism," he said. "They sincerely support the central government."

After the attack, the international community condemned the terrorists, but some media organizations in the West did not identify the case as a terrorist attack.

Don't label terrorism as 'ethnic': adviser

Don't label terrorism as 'ethnic': adviser

China to severely punish terrorist attackers: spokesman Railway attack orchestrated by terrorists

"They are actually extending a helping hand to the criminals and terrorists," said Zhu, the former executive vice-minister of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee.

A terrorist attack in Tian'anmen Square in October killed two people and injured another 40.

"The separatist forces seem to be sparing no effort in expanding violent terror into the interior of China — first to the capital and then to the provinces and municipalities," Zhu said.

The attackers in Kunming were well organized, orchestrated and trained to make a shocking attack in a short period of time, and the fight against violent terror "will be a long-term, hard fight", Zhu said.

"Given the complexity of the fight, we should overhaul and improve our work to gain more initiatives in the fight and minimize losses among the public, especially losses of human lives," Zhu said.

After the Kunming incident, some netizens voiced discontent about some social security cases involving Uygur people.

Responding to the concerns, Zhu said it is "an unchanged fact that the overwhelming majority of the migrant Uygurs from Xinjiang are good people".