Archive for ‘Inequalities’

16/05/2014

Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China’s top Islamic leaders urged the nation’s Muslims to resist religious extremism and oppose to terrorism after a number of violent attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in March and April.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around 80 religious leaders and scholars discussed Islamic doctrine by quoting the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad on Wednesday and Thursday in Urumqi, the region’s capital. On Thursday, Islamic leaders in China passed a proposal calling on all Muslims in the country to regulate their behavior, resist religious extremism and improve their moral outlook.

Abulitif Abdureyim, director of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, said governments at all levels in the region are resisiting religious extremism.

“The attackers who carried out the terrorist activities cannot go to heaven because they have violated the sayings in the Quran,” he said.

Wang Yujie, a professor of religious studies at Renmin University of China, said separatist forces are the main source of terrorism in Xinjiang.

In recent years, China has seen a number of violent attacks on police, government organs and civilians. Most of the attacks have taken place in Xinjiang.

A national security blue paper said on May 6 that religious extremism was the major reason for 10 violent terrorist attacks last year.

via Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

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07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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07/05/2014

Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post

At least six people were wounded in a knife attack at Guangzhou Railway Station yesterday, the third assault on civilians at train stations in two months.

guangzhou1-0507-re-net.jpg

Witnesses said four assailants began attacking passengers at random at about 11.30am.

Watch unconfirmed video: Suspected attacker caught by police after Guangzhou train station violence

One was subdued by police and a luggage handler after being shot by an officer. But police said later on social media that only one suspect was involved.

Witnesses also said one of the injured was a middle-aged Westerner, but Guangzhou police denied any foreigner was among the victims.

The police didn’t approach [the attacker] until they shot him twice in his chest HU ZHONG, LUGGAGE HANDLER

At least four people were taken to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, local police said. Three were in stable condition after surgery.

The attack comes less than a week after an explosion at a railway station in Urumqi – capital of Xinjiang , the vast western region home to ethnic minority Uygurs – left two attackers and a civilian dead and 79 wounded.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming , in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

via Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post.

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01/05/2014

Explosions on Train in Chennai Kill One – India Real Time – WSJ

Two explosions on a train in the Indian city of Chennai killed one person and injured nine others Thursday.

Authorities believe two bombs were planted in two separate coaches of the Bangalore to Guwahati express train and blew up as it sat at the Chennai railway station in southern India.

“The police are already on the job, they are investigating what kind of bomb it was and what was the purpose,” Chennai Central station General Manager R.K. Mishra told reporters.

One of the bombs killed a 20-something woman that was sitting on the seat under which it was placed, Mr. Mishra said.

Two of the nine injured were hospitalized for serious injuries. Police and bomb squads have checked the train for more explosive devices, said Mr. Mishra.

“Initial investigation reveals that the blasts were low intensity,” said an official with the Indian Railways.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in a region of India which is rarely a target of these sorts of attacks.

The explosions came despite heightened security as India votes in its massive, rolling general election. In Srinagar in the northern state of Kashimir two explosions targeting election rallies injured 14 people this week.

On April 12, a suspected landmine blew up a bus carrying poll workers in Chattisgarh, killing 14.

via Explosions on Train in Chennai Kill One – India Real Time – WSJ.

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19/04/2014

India struggles with rebel threats during election – Businessweek

Indians cast ballots Thursday on the biggest day of voting in the country’s weekslong general election, streaming into polling stations even in areas where leftist rebels threatened violence over the plight of India’s marginalized and poor.

Nationwide voting began April 7 and runs through May 12, with results for the 543-seat lower house of Parliament to be announced four days later. Among the 13 key states voting Thursday was Chhattisgarh, now the center of a four-decade Maoist insurgency that has affected more than a dozen of India’s 28 states.

With roadside bombings, jungle ambushes and hit-and-run raids, the rebels aim for nothing short of sparking a full-blown peasant revolt as they accuse the government and corporations of plundering resources and stomping on the rights of the poor.

via India struggles with rebel threats during election – Businessweek.

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12/03/2014

Police: Rebels kill 18 soldiers in central India – Businessweek

Police say Maoist rebels have killed 18 paramilitary soldiers in an ambush in central India.

Mukesh Gupta said rebels ambushed a paramilitary camp on Tuesday in a remote and dense forest in Chattisgarh state.

The police said the rebels surrounded the camp and opened fire, killing 18 instantly. Several others were injured in the attack in the Jiram Ghati area in southern Chattisgarh.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

via Police: Rebels kill 18 soldiers in central India – Businessweek.

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07/03/2014

China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist

After a brutal attack in China, the Communist Party needs to change its policies towards minorities

A GROUP of knife-wielding assailants, apparently Muslims from western China, caused mayhem and murder on March 1st in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming, stabbing 29 people to death at the railway station and injuring 140 others. The attack has shocked China. The crime against innocents is monstrous and unjustifiable, and has been rightly condemned by the Chinese government and by America. But as well as rounding up the culprits, the Communist Party must face up to an uncomfortable truth. Its policy for integrating the country’s restless western regions—a policy that mixes repression, development and Han-Chinese migration—is failing to persuade non-Han groups of the merits of Chinese rule.

The party says the attackers were “Xinjiang extremists”, by implication ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people with ties to Central Asia who once formed the majority in the region of Xinjiang. The killers may have been radicalised abroad with notions of global jihad. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Uighurs are committing ever more desperate acts. Scarcely a week passes in Xinjiang without anti-government violence.

The party claims that Xinjiang has been part of China for 2,000 years. Yet for most of that time, the region has been on the fringe of China’s empire, or outside it altogether. An attempt to incorporate these lands began only with the Qing dynasty’s conquests in the mid-18th century. (The name Xinjiang, “new frontier”, was bestowed only in the 1880s.) During the chaos of the 1940s, Uighurs declared a short-lived independent state of East Turkestan. But from 1949 the Communists began integrating Xinjiang into China by force. Demobbed Chinese soldiers were sent to colonise arid lands, the state repression of Uighurs drawing heavily on the Soviet tactics for handling “nationalities”. Uighur resentment of the Han runs deep. The feeling is mutual. Many Chinese are openly racist towards Uighurs, and the government thinks them ungrateful. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed during street fighting between Uighurs and Han, who now make up two-fifths of Xinjiang’s population and control a disproportionate share of its wealth.

Identity crisis

The Kunming killers’ motives may never be known. But fears of militant Islamism arriving at the heart of China must not obscure the broader problem of Chinese oppression in Xinjiang. Recent crackdowns hit at the heart of Uighur identity: students are banned from fasting during Ramadan, religious teaching for children is restricted, and Uighur-language education is limited. Many Uighurs, like their neighbours in Tibet, fear that their culture will be extinguished. Xinjiang and Tibet (and Inner Mongolia) are still China’s colonies, their pacification under the Communist Party a continued imperial project. Were it not for the Dalai Lama’s restraining influence, violence in Tibet might be as bad as it is in Xinjiang. As it is, over 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest at Chinese rule.

There is a large military presence in China’s west. The government seems to believe that unless Uighurs and Tibetans are held in check by force, the western regions could break away. That is always a danger. But suppression, which leads to explosions of anger, may increase the risk, not mitigate it.

The only way forward is to show Uighurs (and Tibetans) how they can live peacefully and prosperously together within China. The first step is for the party to lift the bans on religious and cultural practices, give Uighurs and Tibetans more space to be themselves, and strive against prejudice in Chinese society. Economic development needs to be aimed at Uighur and Tibetan communities. Otherwise, there will be more violence and instability.

via China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist.

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01/12/2013

Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters

College students in China\’s restive western Xinjiang region will not graduate unless their political views are approved, a university official said, as the country wages what school administrators called an ideological war against separatism.

A Uighur student attends a lesson at the Xinjiang College of Uighur Medicine in Hotan in the southwestern part of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region September 15, 2003. REUTERS/Andrew Wong

Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, many of whom resent controls imposed by Beijing and an inflow of Han Chinese migrants. Some Uighur groups are campaigning for an independent homeland for their people.

University officials from Xinjiang said their institutions were a frontline in a \”life and death struggle\” for the people\’s hearts and a main front in the battle against separatism, the ruling Communist Party\’s official newspaper in the region, the Xinjiang Daily, reported on Tuesday.

\”Students whose political qualifications are not up to par must absolutely not graduate, even if their professional course work is excellent,\” said Xu Yuanzhi, the party secretary at Kashgar Teachers College in southern Xinjiang, which has been an epicenter for ethnic unrest.

It is unclear if such a policy has been officially implemented throughout the region.

\”Ideology is a battlefield without gun smoke,\” Xinjiang Normal University President Weili Balati said.

\”As university leaders, we have the responsibility to do more to help students and teachers properly understand and treat religion, ethnicity and culture and help them distinguish between right and wrong,\” he said.

China blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for an attack on October 28, when a vehicle ploughed through bystanders on Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames, killing three people in the car and two bystanders.

Uighur exiles, rights groups and some experts have cast doubt on the official accounts of what China has deemed terror attacks and foreign reporting of the incident has discussed whether it was motivated by punitive ethnic policies.

An Islamist militant group has released a speech claiming responsibility for the incident, which China\’s Foreign Ministry said should silence those who are skeptical about the threat of terror within China\’s borders.

The Uighurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than the Han Chinese who make up the vast majority of China\’s population.

via Xinjiang college says approved political views needed to graduate | Reuters.

09/11/2013

China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat

Prediction time: China will experience unprecedented terrorism over the next few years.

China

On October 27, a carload of Xinjiang residents made headlines by crashing into a Tiananmen Square crowd, killing two people while injuring 38. Then, on Wednesday, a series of explosions rocked the provincial Communist Party headquarters in Shanxi province, killing one person while injuring 8.

This recent uptick in political violence is not an anomaly for China, but a harbinger of terrorist violence to come.

Several long-term trends put China at risk.

China’s footprint on the world stage is growing while the United States is retrenching internationally. The recent travel schedules of Xi Jinping and Barack Obama are telling. At a time when Barack was cancelling trips to attend the APEC Summit in Indonesia, the East Asia Summit in Brunei, and his planned visits to the Philippines and Malaysia, Xi was wrapping up tours of Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, the Congo, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, and Turkmenistan. Look for Xi and he’s probably overseas. Look for Obama and he’s probably at home, wrangling with Congress.

Historically, Americans have been the preferred target of international terrorism, while China has been virtually spared. Americans have been the most popular target because of their country’s hegemonic position around the globe, which inevitably breeds mistrust, resentment, and ultimately counterbalancing. Professor Robert Pape at the University of Chicago has found that foreign meddling is highly correlated with incurring suicide terrorist campaigns. With its comparatively insular foreign policy, China has understandably elicited less passion and violence among foreign terrorists.

But the trajectories of the U.S. and China are now inverting. Reeling from its botched counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is engulfed in an unmistakable wave of isolationism. Meanwhile, China is rapidly converting its rising economic power into ever greater international leverage. This newfound orientation makes sense geopolitically, but will not come without costs.

Moving forward, China will contend with not only international terrorism, but also the domestic variety. This is because China is likely to follow (albeit belatedly) the post-Cold War Zeitgeist towards democratization. China will neither become a Jeffersonian democracy nor continue to disenfranchise political dissidents. Instead, it will inch closer to a “mixed” regime, a weak democratic state. This regime type is precisely the kind that sparks domestic political unrest. Such governments are too undemocratic to satisfy citizens, but too democratic to snuff them out.

Add to this brew globalization and the government’s critics at home and abroad will be better informed about both Chinese policy and how to mobilize against it, including violently.

via China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat.

06/11/2013

Blasts at China regional Communist Party office kill one – BBC News

A series of small blasts have killed at least one person outside a provincial office of the ruling Communist Party in northern China, state media report.

The blasts in Taiyuan in Shanxi province appeared to have been caused by home-made bombs, Xinhua reported.

It said eight people had been injured and two cars damaged.

Photos posted on social media showed smoke and several fire engines at the scene of the incident, which happened around 07:40 local time (23:40 GMT).

No immediate explanation has been given for the incident. There have been occasions in the past where disgruntled citizens have targeted local government institutions.

They do not often make the headlines but explosions in China\’s cities are not unheard of. Earlier this year, in another part of Shanxi Province, Chinese media reported that a bomb exploded outside the house of a local law official, killing his daughter. The culprit was a pensioner enraged by a court ruling against him.

Last year the BBC reported on a suicide bombing in Shandong, carried out by a disabled man upset by lack of compensation for an industrial accident. Every year there are examples of attacks with crude weapons or explosives, carried out by the desperate, the dispossessed and the disturbed, usually triggered by a dispute with some arm of local government or a local official.

It\’s too early to say whether the explosions on Wednesday follow the same pattern. But some details will worry the authorities: the ball bearings apparently placed inside the bombs, increasing their destructive power; the fact that witnesses reported several explosions over a period of time. And the bombs were placed outside the local Communist Party headquarters – was the party itself the target, or was this just the product of a local dispute?

The authorities will especially be nervous after last week\’s apparent suicide attack outside the gates of the Forbidden City, especially as the capital also prepares to host a meeting of China\’s Communist Party elite on Saturday.

Tensions are also high in the wake of last week\’s incident in Beijing. A car ploughed into a crowd in Tiananmen Square in what the authorities said was a terrorist attack incited by extremists from the western region of Xinjiang.

Later this week, the Communist Party\’s top officials will meet in Beijing to start a major economic planning meeting.

via BBC News – Blasts at China regional Communist Party office kill one.

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