The latest terrorist attack in China has once again been traced to religious extremists in the Xinjiang province that borders Pakistan. This is the third major terrorist attack against Chinese civilians in recent months and China’s statements in the days following include subtle warnings that our own leaders in the government and military would be very wise to heed.
The latest terrorist attack, a suicide bombing targeting a train in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China, on Wednesday killed three people and wounded 79 and is seen as a sign of a rising threat of jihadi terrorism in China – a threat China is taking very seriously.
China’s president Xi Jinping is not begging for peace talks and concessions, but has promised swift and decisive action against terrorists.
“We must recognize that the fight against the Xinjiang separatists will be a long-term, complex, acute struggle against violent terrorists, and we cannot relax for even a moment,” Mr. Xi said. The government must work “to safeguard the lives and property and normal working lives of peoples of all nationalities,” he added.
We may like to think of this as a sign that even the most powerful countries are facing the same threats as we are, but the situation is actually much worse. China is not only facing terrorist attacks, China also holds Pakistan partly responsible.
The Kashgar local government said in a statement on its website that the assailants who attacked a restaurant that left six dead on Sunday had learned explosive-making skills in terrorist-run camps in Pakistan.
“The heads of the group had learned skills of making explosives and firearms in overseas camps of the terrorist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang,” the online statement said.
The attackers adhered to “extremist religious ideology” and advocated “jihad”, the statement also said.
Chinese authorities have accused the ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions.
The strategy of using jihadi groups as ‘assets’ for our national security is a failure. Our belief that we can play China against India like we played the Americans against the Soviets is mere fantasy. Actually, jihadi terrorism is driving China and India closer together, not farther apart. So far China’s warnings have been subtle. Let us not get to the point when they become overt.