Violent terrorist acts carried out in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will be shown no mercy and the government will not allow terrorists to wave knives against women, children and innocent people, the Party chief of the region said Wednesday.
Many incidents of terrorism-related violence that happened in the region in the last year actually had an international origin, Zhang Chunxian, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and the Party secretary of Xinjiang, said on the sidelines of the annual NPC session.
“The infiltration of three overseas forces of separatists, extremists and terrorists, the social situation in nearby countries and international anti-terrorism activities may have directly or indirectly prompted such incidents,” Zhang said.
Three violent attacks were carried out in southern Xinjiang’s Kashgar and Hotan last year and another happened last month.
On Feb 28, nine terrorists armed with knives suddenly attacked a crowd on a pedestrian street on Xingfu road, in Kashgar prefecture’s Yecheng county, and killed 13 people. Seven terrorists were shot dead at the scene and two were arrested. The incident was a terrorist attack targeting civilians, the regional information office said.
The Yecheng incident has been properly dealt with and social order has been restored, Zhang said.
Zhang said violent terrorists don’t have the mindset of normal people and the government will not tolerate terrorists as their violent activities target civilians.
“Their acts are against the human race. They wave knives at old people, women and children with extremely brutal means. It’s not a religious problem, nor is it an ethnic problem.”
Xinjiang has witnessed a leapfrog in its economic development in recent years, but development doesn’t necessarily bring stability, said Nur Bekri, a deputy to the NPC and chairman of Xinjiang said on Wednesday.
Xinjiang’s GDP rose by 12.3 percent year-on-year and reached 660 billion yuan ($105 billion) last year. Average per capita income of urban residents in the region increased to 15,514 yuan in 2011, a 13.7-percent hike year-on-year, and the average per capita income of rural residents increased by 17.2 percent to reach 5,442 yuan.
“Meanwhile, without a stable social environment, the region could not be further developed,” he added. “Maintaining the region’s stability is still a grim and overwhelming task.”
He said that terrorist organizations, such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement campaigning for Xinjiang’s independence in neighboring Pakistan, have countless links with terrorists within the region, which covers one-sixth of China’s landmass and borders eight countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
“Violent activities by individual terrorists will not affect the close friendship between China and Pakistan,” Nur said. “Anti-terrorism is a global task, as terrorism is threatening the lives of all people in the world.”
China and Pakistan are all-weather friends, and Xinjiang and neighboring countries share the interests and objectives in fighting terrorism. International cooperation is needed to combat terrorism in addition to domestic prevention and crackdown, he said.