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  • Updated: 11:04am
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XINJIANG

China airs ‘frustration’ after US report challenges Beijing’s terror attack findings

Washington accused of 'double standards' after China questioned over who it blamed, especially Uygurs, for attacks such as 2013 Tiananmen car blast

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 May, 2014, 1:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 May, 2014, 6:52pm
 

Beijing expressed strong frustration over a US report that criticised China for failing to provide sufficient evidence of terrorist involvement in recent attacks and its reluctance to step up counter-terrorism co-operation with Washington.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry late last night accused the United States of having “double standards” and making “irresponsible remarks” a day after the US State Department released the Country Report on Terrorism last year.

In general, Chinese authorities did not provide detailed evidence of terrorist involvement
US State Department report

The report challenged some of Beijing’s conclusions on who was responsible for recent violence, including a deadly car blast at Tiananmen Square.

“China expresses dissatisfaction towards the remarks concerning China in the report,” ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in the statement.

“On the anti-terrorism issue, making irresponsible remarks towards other countries and pursuing double standards will not help international co-operation on counter-terrorism.”

The criticisms come at a sensitive time when China’s west has just been rocked by an alleged suicide bombing at a railway station in Urumqi, the capital of the restive Xinjiang region, while President Xi Jinping was visiting the region.

Officials have so far blamed Wednesday's blast on “religious extremists”, killing one and injuring nearly 80 people.

The Country Report said Chinese authorities had labelled as “terrorism” several incidents of violence involving Uygurs, a mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic minority concentrated in China’s westernmost regions, especially Xinjiang.

It cited the Tiananmen explosion on October 28 last year, when a vehicle carrying three Uygurs careened into an ornamental bridge and exploded, killing all those onboard and two tourists.

Chinese authorities said it was a terror plot by the separatist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

But the State Department report said: “There was no independent evidence to suggest ETIM involvement.”

“In general, Chinese authorities did not provide detailed evidence of terrorist involvement, and restricted the ability of journalists and international observers to independently verify official media accounts,” it said.

Qin said China was opposed to linking terror attacks to specific ethnic or religious groups, but asserted Beijing would “resolutely crack down on terrorism at its root”.

The US report also said China’s co-operation on counter-terrorism issues “remained marginal, with little reciprocity in information exchanges”.

“Chinese law enforcement agencies were reluctant to conduct joint investigations with US law enforcement agencies or provide assistance in cases involving suspected terrorists,” the report said.

Qin argued that China always supported conducting such exchanges with other countries, but it should be based on mutual respect and equality.

“China falls victim to terrorism and always firmly opposes terrorism in any form and terrorist acts conducted or backed by any person under any name,” Qin said.

Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, called on Washington to respect China when stepping up anti-terror co-operation.

Yang Shengmin, an ethnic affairs expert of the Minzu University of China, pointed out that the US had transferred six suspected Uygur terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the Pacific island nation of Palau, ignoring China’s demand for repatriation.

Twenty-two ethnic Uygurs were captured after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. When the US moved towards closing the Cuban detention facility, all were eventually resettled to six different countries including Slovakia, Palau, the Maldives and even the United States instead of China.

Washington cited the Chinese government’s “history of mistreating” Uygurs for the decision, according the The New York Times.

“When the US accuses China of not willing to co-operate, the US is also reluctant to co-operate with China,” Yang said.

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This article is now closed to comments

clc2
Whether the Uygurs behind attacks like the Tiananmen explosion were doing so at the behest of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) or decided to do so outside that organizations would lead to a different diagnosis of the problem and a different response.
That can be significant. For example, Donald Rumsfeld, after successfully toppling Saddam Hussein, chose to attribute attacks against Coalition forces and their allies to all sorts of other causes than what was really going on -- an organized insurgency. That delay was almost fatal to the entire effort.
China won't be served well if, in error, the cadres choose to see the reverse -- organized insurgency rather than more loosely connected reaction to extreme repression. If the problem is more attributable to repression than organized insurgency at this point, than doubling down on repression will probably lead to what they most want to avoid -- a much more successful ETIM.
dunndavid
Your comments seem well informed except for this point: their may not even be an ETIM in the present day? The KGB was very skilled at creating all kinds of splinter groups to discredit their opponents. You can see this kind of gang-counter gang techniques still at use in the Ukraine where both Russians and Ukrainians have created phony anti-semitism to discredit the other party. China could be borrowing the same techniques. In intelligence circles there is some controversy as to whether the ETIM even exists. Your point though that the Uigher grievances are real is a good one. I've been to Xinjiang several time myself and have seen the evidence. Uighers are largely uninvolved in the bigger, more lucrative natural resource projects.
dunndavid
All of the comments miss the mark. There is still much uncertainty as to who carried out the Kunming and Urumqi attacks. The Chinese government has not released enough information to make outside observers confident of committed these two attacks. You haven't heard any details released 2-3 days after "China's 911" the Kunming stabbings. All that is being said is that information is missing.
daily
Let's just wait for the next 9/11 to occur on American soil and then see if the Chinese will mock the Americans the way they are doing right now...............Just what does it take to shut those Yankees up and have them mind their own business.
shuike
Terry Ng @ SCMP: why put “double standards” and “irresponsible remarks” in inverted commas? Are these descriptions deceptive/suspicious & cannot be believed? This means you agree with the US line & only the US line? If blowing up innocent people & hacking them to death is not terrorism, what is? Can you advise? Why are your reports always taken from western sources? Why can't you also quote alternative balancing source like RT?
M Miyagi
If terrorism is good for China it will be even better for the USA which have more enemies than flies in a Brahmin cow's ar$e.
Masako Owada
If the suicide bombing in Urumqi is not a terrorist attack then the 911 attack in 2001 wasn't a terrorist attack too. So Osama bin Laden is only a pious religious leader and the US must have murdered him without reason too.
andreaswagner
1) 911 was indeed not a terrorist attack, but an act of war. The US could have seen it coming for 30 years, and should have known better.
2) Big difference is that the US were not occupying and colonising Saudi Arabia (Bin Ladens home country) and killing and oppressing the local population.
3) What has religion to do with this? Do you think the Uighurs would not fight against the Han colonisers if they were not muslim?
jayb
"US were not occupying/colonising"? you've got too much cool aid in your system! US killed hundreds of thousands of muslims just in "Operations Iraqi Freedom" alone. according to Pentagon, we presently have troops in 75 countries engaging in 146 "active operations". finally, the ENTIRE USA came from white people slaughtering, racial cleansing of indigenous american people. in 1800, there were 20 million indigenous native americans in north america. today, fewer than 2 million.
M Miyagi
The US won the war on terrorism by attacking the wrong country Iraq! Talk about collateral damage.

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