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China pounces on double standards on terrorism

BEIJING (UCAN) : The president of China, Xi Jinping, reacted angrily to accusations that his administration would use the terrorist attacks on Paris to further clamp down on Muslim rights in Xinjiang.

Xi called for an end to what he termed double standards in the west on global terrorism.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit on November 15 from Anyalya in Turkey, which is the main destination of Turkic-speaking Muslim Uyghur people fleeing stricter measures as Beijing toughens its stance against spiralling violence in western China, Xi noted, “The terrorist attacks in Paris are yet another reminder that the impact and danger of terrorism are not to be underestimated and that terrorism has become the most serious and pressing security challenge for us.”

He continued, “It is especially important to address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism and reject double standards.”

Xi made his comments to members of the informal organisation BRICS—a grouping that includes five major emerging national economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

There have also been media reports suggesting that Beijing may be ready to join Moscow in attacks against the Islamic State group.

China’s security forces issued a rare series of pictures on November 14. While not giving away any details, the pictures show armed police preparing to storm a house in Xinjiang after a 56-day battle against terrorists.

“Paris was hit by its worst terrorist attack in history, with hundreds dead and injured. On the other side of the world, police in China’s Xinjiang, after 56 days of pursuit and attacking, carried out a full attack on the terrorists and got great results,” a micro-blog, from the Ministry of Public Security, posted, but later removed, said.

At least 500 people died in Xinjiang-related violence in China in 2014, one of the bloodiest years on record.

In response, in May last year, China initiated tougher measures in the region, deploying thousands of additional soldiers and police, banning burqas and what it terms as Muslim clothing, as well as cracking down on underground madrasas.

“They want to convince the world that people in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) are terrorists,” Seyit Tumturk, the vice-president of the World Uyghur Congress, said by telephone from Istanbul.

World media, including the British Broadcasting Corporation and Reuters, ran comments from the World Uyghur Congress over the weekend, accusing Beijing of violations against the Uyghur people, prompting an angry response on Chinese social media.

“The west is accusing other countries’ antiterrorism efforts, while being attacked itself. Terrible double standards,” Gao Cheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, wrote on the microblogging site, Weibo.

Only one Chinese national was reported to have been among the hundreds injured and killed in Paris. 

An audio message from the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the attack was delivered in a number of languages, including Turkic, the language of the Uyghur, fuelling Chinese claims it is being targeted.

Recent maps put out by Islamic State leaders show parts of western China as intended targets for the eastern frontier of the caliphate by the year 2020.

Rights and Uyghur groups overseas had previously accused Beijing of exaggerating terrorist threats linked with Xinjiang, both from inside China and from overseas.

Videos and arrests in Syria and Iraq since last year have shown Chinese citizens fighting for the Islamic State.

Uyghur fighters have also operated out of Pakistan, which borders Xinjiang, although security operations by the Pakistani military over the past year have reportedly caused their numbers to dwindle to just a few hundred.

Senior Chinese military officials coincidentally arrived in Islamabad on the same day as the Paris attacks in a visit state media described as strengthening antiterrorism measures between the two countries.

 

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