China / China

Terrorists strike, but progress made

By Cui Jia (China Daily) Updated: 2016-12-30 07:38

A terrorist attack that left five dead in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Wednesday has come at the end of a year in which China has made significant progress in combating terrorism, a security analyst has said.

Three attackers slashed people with knives and detonated an explosive device after driving up to the Party committee of Moyu county, in the southern Hotan prefecture, at 4:50 pm.

An official and a security worker were killed, and three others were injured.

Police shot dead all three attackers at the scene, the Ministry of Public Security was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency on Thursday. The case is still being investigated, it added.

Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the violence came at the end of an otherwise largely peaceful year thanks to government efforts.

"Besides the Moyu attack, no major terrorist attacks have happened in China this year, as authorities have been striking hard against terrorist activities in accordance with the law," he said. "The measures to fight terrorism have been proven to be effective."

The attackers targeted government authorities during office hours, clearly a move to demonstrate their political goals, Li added.

Xinjiang, which has a predominantly Muslim population, has been China's main battleground in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Even with the prevention measures now in place, Li said it is extremely difficult to stop every attack. He said the public and authorities should be prepared and stay vigilant to threats from home and abroad.

People in Hotan prefecture are known for fighting back against terrorists. In August 2014, more than 30,000 villagers in Moyu joined with police officers to help capture 10 suspects, while in June 2014, people of Hotan city fought off three knife-wielding attackers.

Chen Quanguo, who was appointed as Party chief of Xinjiang in August, said in November that preventing terrorism and maintaining social stability are the overriding political goals for the region.

The region has introduced strict security measures in public places, such as shopping centers and on public transportation, with round-the-clock armed patrols and compulsory checks on bags and luggage.

Chen urged Xinjiang officials to crack down on existing terrorist cells and prevent more people from getting involved in terrorist or separatist activities.

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