China's Anti-Terrorism Challenge

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Shannon Tiezzi via The Diplomat,

In the wake of another deadly terrorist attack in Urumqi, Chinese leaders are repeating their assurances that China will “severely punish terrorists” and increase its security measures.  “The Chinese government has the confidence and capability to crack down on the audacious terrorists,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. Unfortunately, after three coordinated attacks in public places since March, such promises are beginning to ring hollow.

Generally, China’s response to terrorist activities has been to step up patrols and increase the readiness of its police and paramilitary forces. Last week, China sent officers to train Xinjiang police in gun use and combat training. Police are also stepping up armed patrols in crowded public areas. But increased security measures can only go so far in addressing terrorist attacks, as China well knows. Despite a heavy security presence in Xinjiang, violent clashes have become routine in the more restive areas. The two recent attacks in Urumqi show that, even in areas where security is tightest, terrorists are able to find and exploit opportunities for violence.

In addition, duplicating the intense security presence at work in Xinjiang for the rest of China is not feasible. As Philip Potter, a University of Michigan professor and researcher under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, told the New York Times, there is a huge discrepancy in security forces in the western and eastern regions. China has fostered openness in eastern, coastal regions to encourage economic development while keeping a tight grip in Xinjiang and Tibet. This approach, Potter say, “incentivizes militants in the west to conduct attacks in the eastern population centers, where the targets are less secure and the rewards are higher.” Potter was speaking after the October 2013 attack in Tiananmen Square; the most recent attack in Kunming also lends credence to his theory.

Beijing recognizes that an increased police presences is only part of the equation. As a result, China has ramped up its crackdown on what might be termed “soft” terrorism—what China calls “inciting ethnic hatred”—including the dissemination of videos and other online material encouraging terrorism. Earlier this week, the Xinjiang Higher Court announced that 39 people had been sentenced to prison for such crimes. “We must eliminate from the root the soil where violent terrorist thoughts should grow by severely cracking down on the criminal activities of spreading terrorism audios and video,” the court said.

Yet human rights advocates say that China’s anti-terror crackdown is tantamount to a crackdown on Muslim practices in general, which alienates the Uyghur population. And this could have the unwanted effect of actually encouraging terrorism by increasing anger against the state.

Finally, China’s terrorism problem is an international issue, not simply a domestic one. Even the Uyghur terrorist groups (believed to be relatively small in number) have cross-border operations.  Just before the latest deadly attack in Urumqi, Xinhua released new details about the April 30 train station attack. Xinjiang authorities say that the attack was planned by an East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) member named Ismail Yusup. Yusup reportedly planned and coordinated the attack from outside China’s borders, then ordered operatives within Xinjiang to actually carry out the attack.

The details on last month’s attack reveal the complexity of China’s anti-terrorism challenge. Groups such as ETIM and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), considered by some to be an offshoot or successor group to ETIM, are believed to operate mostly outside of China’s borders. According to Reuters, which held an interview with TIP leader Abdullah Mansour earlier this year, TIP is based in the mountainous border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an area where many terrorist groups have found shelter. Pakistan has so far proven unwilling or unable to entirely secure this area. As long as terrorists groups have a haven close to Xinjiang’s borders, it will be incredibly difficult for China to end terrorist attacks.

There have also been reports that groups like ETIM might seek to target Chinese businesses, embassies, or citizens located in third countries, which would allow terrorists to harm China without ever setting foot within the country. No amount of domestic security initiatives will be able to fully prevent such attacks; it will take a global intelligence-gathering and counter-terrorism initiative.

Unlike the U.S., China has shown no inclination to take matters into its own hands by conducting anti-terrorism operations (including drone strikes) on foreign soil. Such a move would be anathema to Beijing’s golden rule of non-interference in other country’s domestic affairs. Instead, China has been emphasizing joint anti-terrorism activities with its neighbors, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Russia and Kazakhstan. But so far, Beijing lacks a separate strategy should these countries’ capabilities or determination to combat terrorism not meet China’s standards.

Preventing the next terrorist attack is at the top of Xi Jinping’s agenda—just as it was after the Kunming attack and the Urumqi railway station attack. To make progress, China will need to create and implement a new strategy rather than increasing its efforts in the same areas.

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prains's picture

when it's terrorist vs. oligarch.....who is the villain?

ZerOhead's picture

We won't know until we place both of them into a cage for a "deathmatch".

Whoever gets the least cheers before he dies is the villain OK?

Newsboy's picture

China's "New Pearl Harbor"?

With us or against us?

Tao 4 the Show's picture

News reporting U.S. is cutting aid to Thailand after the military coup. Interesting who is worthy of "aid" and who is not.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Islam is a problem in Thailand too. This administration has been very sympathetic to Islam and Islamists from day one.

BigJim's picture

 Islam is a problem in Thailand too. This administration has been very sympathetic to Islam and Islamists from day one.

As any relative of a droned wedding will eagerly attest, I'm sure.

Hey, Chinaaaaa... you can have peace and freedom... or you can have empire; you can't have both.

LawsofPhysics's picture

< Meh > The city-dwellers in China have loved doing the oligarchs bidding and the state (oligarchs) have never had a problem killing their own people.  History is very clear on all this.


same as it ever was.

john39's picture

OT: Corzine et al, take note... this is the punishment that suits your crimes:

"Iran hangs businessman over $2.6 bn banking scam"
svayambhu108's picture

China should know better that there is history in the European thought of better going to war than repaying debts.

lakecity55's picture

Don't worry, they will be buying huge numbers of USTs next week.

Matt's picture

"News reporting U.S. is cutting aid to Thailand after the military coup. "

Do you mean Egypt? Otherwise, US law requires aid to be cut after a military coup.

TBT or not TBT's picture

US "law", in quotation marks. Congress lets the executive branch bureaucracy enforce selectively and make up shit as they go along. Take Obamacare, please. Or campaign finance enforcement. Dinesh D'Sousa will do prison time and be a felon for life for a 15 grand infraction. Bundlers like Corzine? Luxuries for life.

SAT 800's picture

Gee, I don't know. does it depend on whether or not the "terrorist" is a "freedom fighter" ?

besnook's picture

all the chinese have to do is log in to exchanges between the local cia contact and the state department cia rep and they have the answer to their terrorist threat.

DeadFred's picture

Looks like Victoria Nuland has been sent to Western China.

prains's picture

what lies between western china and eastern ukraine?

<---it was a question you fucking morons

SAT 800's picture

Significant oil fields in very unstable mini-countries.

SAT 800's picture

Significant oil fields in very unstable mini-countries. I don't why anyone downticked you; it seems like an intelligent question.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Quoting Borat, I think the answer is "assholes".

Balanced Integer's picture

You questioned the wonderful state of Russia. Zhers do not take kindly to questioning the wonderful state of Russia, led as it is by the wonderful, Glorious Majesty Putin I.

ZHers rally for freedom, but celebrate certain tyrants. as long as the tyrants are proving an irritant to American tyrants and their interests. It's not hard to understand on one hand...on the other hand, shouldn't tyranny be reviled wherever it rears its head?

SAT 800's picture

Seems doubtful as China is still fulfilling the role allocated to it when the Bilderburgers promised an unknown governor of Arkansas the Presidency if he agreed to sell his country down the toilet. In simple English, they're part of the program to make sure you don't earn a decent wage working in America. Not exactly 'our" friends; but the friends of our owners.

Seer's picture

Party Pussy.

Nixon opened up trade relations with China: not to mention completing the destruction of the USD (which has been but a walking-dead since).

Headbanger's picture

Nixon also fucked us by pushing fast nuclear technology (helped Kalifonia) instead of thorium liquid salt reactors which would have averted Three Mile Island and Fukishima while producing no plutonium for weapons.

Nixon was the one alright!

Seer's picture

No shit.  I jumped into this article with that very thing in mind.  That this isn't the first thought by people is rather disturbing, as "divide and conquer" is as old as...

Better believe that the CIA is working overtime.

Dr. Engali's picture

"Unlike the U.S., China has shown no inclination to take matters into its own hands by conducting anti-terrorism operations (including drone strikes) on foreign soil. "

The war mongerers at the diplomat make it sound like this is a bad thing.

prains's picture

LOL your right Doc, but me thinks if the chinese roll out their drones too soon they'll be suspiciously "similar" in design and construct to "somebody" elses intellectual property, much like their entire economy.....

Dr. Engali's picture

That is very true. The difference being, much like the U.S and the Sherman tank during WWII, the Chinese will be able to produce the drone clones en masse.

prains's picture

....but how long will they fly on 4 knock off AA batteries ??

LetThemEatRand's picture

They sell us the knock offs.  The real shit they keep for themselves.

prains's picture

Wee Fuk Yu

<--tree frogs like to suck their own balls

lakecity55's picture

"Haha, let me interest you in PRC Drone!"


"PRC Drone come with 8-track and GPS. Also CB Radio."

"It looks like the US Drone."

"Mere coincidence."

SAT 800's picture

very true; many examples are known; but doesn't actually apply to drones.

SAT 800's picture

most drones use miniture turbojets for primary propulsion; which were at one time regarded as an impossible technology. The Chinese have now got this down pretty well, however; due to R&D in building small turbos for RC Model Airplanes for the rich American Hobbyist. The primary electrical load for the sensors and nav. electronics is provided by an alternator on the turboshaft. Even the batteries from your cordless electric drill would do fine; as they don't have much to do.

ZerOhead's picture

Yup... they criticise them now for not taking a more aggressive stance against "terrorists" ( AKA... Whoever is sitting on whatever it is we want)  But they would squeel like stuck pigs if China actually did.

BTW... the last thing I want to see is China emulate past empirical behaviour... be it Japanese, British or American.

Dr. Engali's picture

My take is they want China to join the U.S. in what they perceive is world wide terrorism, which in their mind is anybody who disagrees with them. See you in FEMA camp six if I'm not put down by a Chinese made drone first.

ZerOhead's picture

Big chunks of the planet are still in play including Africa where China has a presence. I doubt seriously they want to invite China to learn the trade secrets of financing some terrorists so you can take someone else's stuff.

I think this was just self-rightous bullshitspeak at it's best.

And call this a hunch but I doubt they are going to let you pick your FEMA camp.

BigJim's picture

Doc probably assumed they'll send him to the nearest one; but I doubt they'd do that, it would be too comfortable and he might know some of the personnel or locale.

No, if you live in a warm state, they'll send you to an Alaskan Gulag; if you live in Alaska, it's off to Death Valley Happy Camp for you!

Guard, smiling: Yes, yes, leave ALL your belongings there, by the side of the cattle car; of course you'll get your stuff back when you get to your... er... final... destination! What do you think this is?? Nazzzi Germany?? *chortles*

lakecity55's picture

Commissar Bath House: "I sentence you to SIberia!"
patriot: "But I live here in Siberia."
CBH: "Uh, err, give me your coat, then."

john39's picture

as far as the talmudic NWO types are concerned, you can never hate islam or islamic people enough...  the more countries that participate in operation kill brown muslims, the better...

Iocosus's picture

They are waging overt war on Islam while quietly attempting to destroy Christianity through societal manipulation.

john39's picture

Agreed.  All decency must be wiped away if the masses are to accept the luciferian agenda.

Iocosus's picture

Their latest tactic is the LGBT Movement. Next will be lowering the age of consent and the legalization of bestiality.

lakecity55's picture

We need to apply to one of those Ghost Cities in the PRC and use it as a FEMA camp. They look nice from the air.

SAT 800's picture

Do you mean to say "Imperial behaviour" ? As in the machinations or oppressions carried out by an empire ?

ZerOhead's picture

Indeed... brain short circuit. Age related.

IndianaJohn's picture

Who can name a place where "the religion of piece" is at peace with themselves or their neighbors?

ZerOhead's picture

What is this "Religion of Peace" of which you speak?...


SAT 800's picture

Oak Park, Illinois ? The middle class ones in the US seem stupefied enough.

BigJim's picture

 Who can name a place where "the religion of piece" is at peace with themselves or their neighbors?

You mean the Talmudists? Damn good question! Certainly not Israel.

The Buddhists.. well.. not Sri Lanka. And where else do they have a significant political presence and their tax farms are threatened by separatists? Oh yeah - Myanmar! Not there, either.

The Muslims? Quite a few places before we started blowing up their weddings or keeping their despots in clover.

The Christians? Lulz.

SDRII's picture

Just More drivel. A little context might helps...

How about starting with who is funding the Eurasia insurgents. Oh wait....Then roll over to the expansion of the China Turkmen pipelines. Follow it up with the US ejection from Manas and the subsequent Russian deployments. What about those ongoing strange border incidents along the china frontier...

Deputy Secretary Burns Travel to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

The same Burns who was the back channel in Oman/iran and was just in Libya warning of intervention days before the rogue general started his offensive.

explore the Tienanmen attacks identical to the latest car incident. Or that uyghur congress in Japan that resulted in China canceling out of multilateral as a result of Japan hosting the congress Japan Calls China PBOC Chief Skipping IMF Meeting ‘Regrettable’ BBG
Driver plows into crowd at Beijing's Tienanmen Square LAtimes Russia to Deploy More Su-25 Combat Planes at Kyrgyz Airbase Kazakh Border Guard Recants Murder Confession


Kazakhstan plane crash kills 27 people including leading border guards Telegraph Chinese Officials Help To ID Gunmen Killed By Kyrgyz Border Guards RFERL China airs ‘frustration’ after US report challenges Beijing’s terror attack findings  SCMP