China Boosts 'Anti-Terror' Measures in Wake of Paris Attacks

china-paris-memorial-nov-2015.jpg People gather at a makeshift memorial in Paris, Nov. 15, 2015.

The ruling Chinese Communist Party has stepped up its "anti-terrorism" campaign in the wake of Friday's deadly attacks in Paris, in a move that overseas groups say will target the Uyghur ethnic group across the country.

China's police chief Guo Shengkun has ordered "strengthened patrols and intelligence gathering" after being briefed on Sunday about the attacks, according to a statement on the Ministry of Public Security's official website.

"Guo Shengkun ordered further strengthening of anti-terrorism intelligence analysis so as to perform precision strikes," the statement said.

Police must also "focus on ... efforts to destroy violent terrorist activities before they happen," it said, adding that the fight against terrorism was tantamount to "a people's war."

"We must maintain a high level of threat and pressure in anti-terrorism work, and continue to strike hard at violent terrorists, crushing their arrogance," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, foreign minister Wang Yi told a security meeting in Turkey ahead of the G20 summit that China strongly condemned the attacks in France, drawing a parallel with recent violence in its troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, which many pro-independence Uyghurs refer to as "East Turkestan."

"The fight against terrorist forces in 'East Turkestan' should also be an important part of the international war on terror," Wang said.

As President Xi Jinping headed for Turkey on Saturday, Chinese authorities removed two Uyghur men from a flight to Turkey, a source close to the incident told RFA.

"They got on the plane to Turkey in Xinjiang, and the plane was delayed for a very long time, and then they detained two Uyghurs, and removed them from the plane," the source said.

"I heard them described as terrorists, which I said was a bit extreme, and that they should be referred to as suspects."

But the source added: "It's also likely that they were just preventing them from leaving China, because they don't allow them to—that's quite normal."

"They were pulled off the plane, which was delayed because everyone had to get off the plane and go through security again," the source added.

Using threat of terrorism

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress exile group, said the Chinese authorities consistently make use of the threat of terrorism to justify racial profiling, harassment and extra-judicial killings of Xinjiang's Uyghur population, however.

"China has always taken every opportunity to use international terrorist attacks and the war on terror [to justify its own policies]," Raxit said.

"China's official reporting of the the attacks in Paris has a political aim; to link Uyghurs to terrorism [in people's minds]," he said.

"The Chinese government shoots Uyghurs who protest persecution under its rule, and then says they were terrorists—yet another form of special policies aimed at the oppression of Uyghurs."

China's tightly controlled state media has covered the Paris attacks in detail, including commentary calling on the international community to avoid "double standards" and take Beijing's anti-terror campaign at face value.

The Chinese Embassy in Paris on Sunday issued a security alert for its nationals, 1,300 of whom are currently in the French capital as part of tour groups.

The alert called on all Chinese nationals in France to stay indoors and pay close attention to police information and local media reports connected to the attacks in Paris.

It also called on Chinese travel agencies to step up security precautions for tour groups visiting France, official media reported.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday vowed to eradicate terrorism, saying that "France is at war," following the attacks that left at least 129 dead and 352 wounded.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks, warned that the United States could be next.

"I swear to God, as we struck France in its stronghold Paris, we will strike America in its stronghold, Washington," the group said in a video released online.

France hit back on Sunday with air strikes that destroyed a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in the city of Raqqa, where Iraqi intelligence officials say the attacks on Paris were planned.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.


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