Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Xinjiang riots a lesson for West

By Shi Lan (China Daily) Updated: 2013-06-28 08:33

But even with mutual understanding and the facts being clear, some voices still differ on the issue. Most of these voices come from the West, especially the US, which distort the truth by claiming that the separatists and extremists - who would be condemned as terrorists for committing the same crimes in their own countries - are "heroes fighting for freedom and independence".

Such double standards have hurt the fight against terrorism, and helped the evil cause of terrorists.

People in Xinjiang have suffered many terrorist attacks perhaps because of the region's strategic location near Central Asia, where uncontrolled groups exploit the complicated ethnic situation to plow their evil trade. With Xinjiang making tremendous economic progress in recent years thanks to the immense support from the central government and coastal provinces, some terrorist groups fear their survival and thus launch more attacks to check the march of development.

Worse, some of the Xinjiang terrorist groups get support from the West which loves to call their usurpations acts of "independence and religious freedom", complicating the situation further. The result is deeper fear and greater misunderstanding among Xinjiang residents.

Because of the double standards adopted by the US-led West, the cost of Washington's fight against terrorism has been soaring without much success in rooting out the evil. The US has led the invasion of two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, since the Sept 11 attacks but, far from being cornered, terrorists have responded with more attacks.

Even after May 2011 when US troops shot dead al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who was believed to have masterminded the Sept 11 attacks, attacks against American citizens and troops have not ceased. Just two months ago, explosions in Boston claimed three lives and injured many more.

A deeper look into history will show that the US has also been a victim of its double standards. In the 1980s and 1990s, the US supported terrorists in Afghanistan against its ideological enemy, the Soviet Union. One of those the US supported was Osama bin Laden. In fact, some terrorist groups threatening Iraqi people today were also supported by the US to fight former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Terrorism is evil not only because of the violence it unleashes on people, but also because it has a political agenda to overthrow governments and thwart development. So it's time the US-led West gave up its double standards and coordinated with the rest of the international community, including China, in the fight against terrorism.

The author is the vice-director of Institute of Central Asia Studies, under the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences.

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