Chinese media highlights Pak angle, seeks action on terror

Xinjiang attack
Chinese police officers stand guard near the site of Sunday's attack in Kashgar in China's far-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (AP Photo)
BEIJING: China's official media on Tuesday prominently highlighted the Kashgar government's statement indicting Pakistan-trained militants in violence in the city, while demanding stern action to deal with terrorism.
For the first time, China blamed Uygur "militants" trained in Pakistan for the deadly violence in its restive Xinjiang province which left at least 22 people dead in the last two days.

Xinjiang shares a border with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and China blames the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for fomenting trouble in the province.

Following China's statement, Pakistan, a close ally, said it would extend "full cooperation" to Beijing in countering the rebels of the ETIM.

In an editorial titled 'Fight against terrorism', the China Daily quoted the local government's statement, saying a preliminary probe found that the East Turkistan Islamic Movement was behind the explosion at the weekend.

"The leaders of the group learned terrorist techniques in ETIM camps in Pakistan before they penetrated into Xinjiang," it said, calling for stepping up fight against terrorism and demanding a crackdown on separatists.

In its editorial, the Daily wrote that "the explosion again sends the message that terrorism is still a threat and that we must remain vigilant. Combating terrorism should be high on the agenda of our governments, especially those in the border areas".

Another English daily the Global Times too carried the official statement, highlighting that those captured have informed that their group's leaders got training in explosives and firearms in ETIM camps in Pakistan before entering Xinjiang to organise terrorist activities.

It is rare that Pakistan gets bad publicity in Chinese media considering that close and "all weather relations" between the two countries.

This is the first time China has directly mentioned Pakistan-based terror camps while referring to violence in Xinjing.

Meanwhile, infuriated Han residents of Kashgar said they wanted to hold a demonstration at a square in the city to press the government to sternly deal with the attacks.

"The square, however, was blocked from entry and flooded with heavily armed police," a local report said.

"It is also wrong and misleading to interpret the violent incidents in Xinjiang, including a recent attack on a police station in Hotan, as ethnic conflicts," The China Daily said.

"People from different ethnic groups have been coexisting peacefully in the region for many years. The social stability and the lives of local residents would not have been so brutally disrupted were it not for the terrorist acts of the ETIM, an international terrorist organisation which is said to be the most violent and dangerous among the East Turkistan separatist forces," it said.

It said social turmoil and public panic are exactly what the ETIM wants to achieve in Xinjiang.

"However, very few residents, no matter what ethnic group they are from, want their peaceful lives disrupted by explosions, riots and attacks against innocent people. Most are well aware that more terrorist attacks there are, the more ordinary people will suffer," it said.

The editorial said that no leniency should be shown to separatist activities.

"It is definitely right that no leniency should be shown to separatist activities and extremist forces.

"The government should make every effort to crack down on groups that employ terror tactics as a means to materialise their ambition of splitting a country or fanning extremist sentiments," it said.

The Xinjiang province witnessed massive riots against Hans in capital Urmuqi in 2009, in which almost 200 people were killed.

Ethnic relations between Han Chinese and Turkish- speaking Muslim Uygurs, have been fraught by tensions.

Experts say Uygurs have experienced frustration and resentment over the last decade as a large number of Han Chinese have migrated to the region, many times displacing the indigenous people from their traditional livelihoods. 
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