When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CAIXINMEDIA

China Faces Terrorism, And The Excesses Of Anti-Terrorism

Chinese counter-terrorism forces perform an anti-terrorism drill in Beijing on May 29, 2014
Chinese counter-terrorism forces perform an anti-terrorism drill in Beijing on May 29, 2014
Nan Hao

BEIJING — Recent acts of violence in China have prompted the country to step up its anti-terrorism measures, leading the Beijing government, for example, to give police more authority to use force to stop a terror attack.

The capital’s public security bureau has given anti-terror units twice the normal amount of bullets, Beijing News reports. And officers are being allowed to shoot attackers on site, skipping previous protocols that required addressing perpetrators and firing warning shots.

But not everyone believes the war against terror should mean greater authority for law enforcement. Zhang Qianfan, a professor at Peking University Law School, says police and the military should have the power they need to stop terrorists, but that measures should be in place to prevent abuse.

"Terrorists are indeed dangerous, but uncontrolled public power is even more dangerous," he says.

China has been hit by a troubling number of terror attacks in recent months that the government blames on separatists from the western region of Xinjiang, which is home to the Uyghur ethnic group who are Muslim and speak Turkic.

In a May 1 attack at the main train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, police officers shot and killed four attackerswho used knives to kill 29 people and injure 140 more. State media have characterized that attack as "China’s 9/11," referring of course to al-Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

But police don't need any extra powers to fight terrorism, and officers can handle attackers the same way they would other violence, Zhang says. One problem with creating exceptions that apply only to terrorism is that once special rules are established, any shooting could be justified.

The recent attacks prompted the ruling Communist Party to say it will be more forceful in fighting terrorism. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the 25-member Politburo, the party's second-highest decision-making body, decided that "China must make cracking down on violent terrorist activities its current focus of struggle so as to contain the spread of religious extremism and violent terrorist infiltration."

Efforts to improve responses to terror attacks are also apparently in motion. Police officers around the country are being given a three-month course in the use of firearms. Ordinary police in China usually do not carry guns when they appear in public.


You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

eyes on the U.S.

Eyes On U.S. — California, The World Is Worried About You

As an Italian bestseller explores why people are fleeing the Golden State, the international press also takes stock of unprecedented Silicon Valley layoffs. It may be a warning for the rest of the world.

Photo of a window pane with water droplets reflecting Facebook's thumb up logo, with one big thumb down in the background

Are you OK, Meta?

Ginevra Falciani and Bertrand Hauger

-Analysis-

For as long as we can remember, the world has seen California as the embodiment of the American Dream.

Today, this dream may be fading — and the world is taking notice.

A peek at the Italian list of non-fiction best-sellers in 2022 includes California by Francesco Costa, a book that looks to explain why 340,000 people moved out of the state last year, causing a drop in its population for the first time ever.

To receive Eyes on U.S. each week in your inbox, sign up here.

Why are all these people leaving a state that on paper looks like the best place in the world to live? Why are stickers with the phrase “Don't California my Texas” attached to the back of so many pick-up trucks?

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest