Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Terrorism will never hinder progress

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

In the first half of the 20th century, China was suffering dark days and was rather weak. Supported by foreign forces, extremists and separatists in Xinjiang managed to mobilize some people to riot and kill Han people. However, even during this period they failed to separate Xinjiang from China.

Today, China is much stronger, and it is simply impossible to separate Xinjiang from China. However, the country's fast development has produced some side effects such as the widening wealth gap that need to be arrested. But generally speaking, different ethnic groups understand each other and the government is taking measures to help the poor.

Anybody who has visited Urumqi will know that people from different ethnic groups work and dine together. It is not rare to see lovers from different ethnic groups talking with each other. There are already many families where the mother and father are of different ethnicities and the children grow up mastering two or even three languages. It is really sad to see the dark shadow the terrorist attacks have cast over these families, especially the sporadic small-scale terrorist attacks that are hard to prevent. Reducing the frequency of such attacks and minimizing their negative effects is a difficult task that requires the cooperation and coordination of both the government and the people.

To this end the government should maintain the ban on individuals holding firearms, so that terrorists do not get their hands on more advanced weapons, and it should not abolish capital punishment as the death penalty will still deter some people from becoming involved in terrorist activities. Xinjiang should increase the use of ethnic languages such as the Uygur language in all the cities in Xinjiang, as this will help promote trust and respect. Also bilingual education should be strengthened, so that more Han individuals can speak the Uygur language, which will promote communication between them. In some regions, it would be advisable to make ethnic languages obligatory courses for all pupils in order to promote cultural exchange.

On May 1, "Beijiangzhixing", or "Star of Northern Xinjiang" high-speed inter-city train started its journey from the Urumqi railway station, showing terrorism can never hinder the progress of Xinjiang and China as a whole.

The author is a researcher on Xinjiang's development in Northwest University of Politics and Law.

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