May Peace and Tranquility Return to Xinjiang–Four Years after the July 5 Massacre

BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) — Four years after the traumatic July 5 riots, many people in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region still live in fear of outbreaks of deadly violence.

They have learned in a painful way that terror attacks have nothing to do with religion or ethnicity. Those who want to separate China and pursue selfish goals will find any excuse to wield their knives on innocent people and set cars and buildings ablaze.

Up to 156 lives were lost and more than a thousand were injured in Urumqi, Xinjiang on July 5, 2009, when a premeditated terrorist plot incited violent killing, beating, looting and arson in the regional capital.

In the bloodiest attack since then, 24 people, including 16 Uigurs and eight Han Chinese, were killed last week when a terrorist mob assailed a police station, a government building and a construction site in the eastern Xinjiang county of Shanshan.

However, the United States and the European Union have shrugged off the massacre as mere “clashes” and oddly sympathized with the terrorists. Instead of voicing condolences for the victims and their families, they hyped up the tragedy to smear Beijing’s ethnic and religious policies.

Their distorted depiction of the unrest plays into the hands of the separatists, who have been eager to inspire deep resentment among the Xinjiang people against the Chinese government.

Despite what the West thinks about China, Beijing has for decades channeled money, technology and talent into developing Xinjiang, while respecting the culture, language and religion of its ethnic minorities.
The Muslim Uigurs, in particular, enjoy preferential treatment and a much higher living standard than decades before. They know a stable environment is an imperative to pursuing further prosperity and well-being.

When the knives of cold-blooded mobs fall on fellow Uigurs, who just happen to be passing in the street, witnesses can no longer believe the violence is due to ethnic conflicts or religious repression.
Nor can they see any plausible cause for the rampant killing except as an attempt to intimidate the local people.

Bordering Central Asia, Xinjiang has long been a victim of terrorists and radical militants fighting and training abroad.

Any country in the world that is ruled by law cannot tolerate such brutal violence against civilians, and blatant disrespect for human rights. The repeated violent attacks remind the Chinese government that only a heavy hand against violent terror forces can restore peace and tranquility to Xinjiang’s people.

Beijing has already announced a crackdown on weapons as well as rewards for tipoffs to help hunt down the fugitives. It is time for the West to wake up to the global threat of terrorism and stop applying double standards that could disrupt cooperation across the world.

They need to first of all abandon their self-absorbed moral arrogance and a deep-rooted prejudice against China. Any misworded comment could become a cheap excuse for terrorists and possibly fuel new violence in Xinjiang.

Western countries have also fallen victim to terrorism. The 9/11 tragedy, the Norway attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing, to name a few, are still fresh in the memory for many in the West. Similar tragedies must not happen again in the rest of the world.