Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Terrorism will never hinder progress

By Sun Lizhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-05 07:39

The latest terrorist attack aimed at innocent people was an open challenge to the government, as the bomb attack at the railway station in Urumqi was carried out on the last day of President Xi Jinping's four-day inspection tour to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. However, the terrorists' attempts to defy the government and create panic and plant the seeds of hatred among different ethnic groups are doomed to fail.

With the terrorist attack on Kunming railway station still fresh in people' s minds, the terrorists chose to attack another railway station for a number of reasons.

First, there were many passengers in the station as people were traveling for the May Day holiday, making it easier for the terrorists to cause mass casualties and spread panic, and also ensure the attack received a lot of media coverage.

Second, terrorists also have their own calculations of "cost" and "benefit". Being controlled by extremism, they have lost their humanity, although they appear quite rational when choosing easy prey for their attacks. Railway stations, where large numbers of vulnerable people accumulate, are "good" choices.

Third, the attacks on Kunming and Urumqi may have something to do with China's cross-border railway construction. Kunming is a railway gateway to Southeast Asian nations, while Urumqi links the inland provinces to Central Asia, Russia and even further to Europe. By attacking the two cities, the terrorists might aim at destroying investors and business partners' confidence in western China, thus curbing the region's economic development. That strategy would keep people in the western provinces in poverty, making it easier to recruit people for more attacks.

Especially after the riots on July 5, 2009, both ordinary people and the authorities in Xinjiang have been on high alert against violence, making it difficult for the terrorists to organize large-scale riots. Because of this, the terrorists shifted their focus to attacking government offices and small police stations, even government staff workers that were alone; now they have shifted there attention to transportation centers.

However, instead of causing ordinary people to panic as they intended, the terrorists have met resistance and opposition. On May 1, the day after the attack in Urumqi, 11 Uygur college students nationwide jointly published an article condemning the attack; the article has been widely welcomed by all Chinese people, including Uygur people.

Han, Uygur, Kazak, Mongolian, Hui and people of other ethnic groups have cohabitated in Xinjiang for centuries. Peace and harmony have been the main theme of their lives together.

As a member of the Bai ethnic group who grew up in Xinjiang, I have good friends of many other ethnic groups. Some of my Uygur friends are especially angry at the terrorists because they have tarnished the image of the Uygur ethnic group and that of Xinjiang. They used to be silent for fear the terrorists might take revenge, but since the attack in Kunming on March 1 they have realized the harm the terrorists are doing to Uygurs and spoken up.

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