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UPDATED: March 5, 2014 Web Exclusive
Military Expert Calls for Anti-Terrorism Legislation
By Miao Xiaoyang

Police block off the scene of the terrorist attack at the Kunming Railway Station on March 1 (LIN YIGUANG)

Yin Zhuo

"The terrorist attack in Kunming has proven that establishing a national security commission is absolutely necessary. China should enact an independent Anti-Terrorism Act as soon as possible," Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo told Beijing Review.

The Second Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, opened in Beijing on March 3. Chinese leaders and political advisors paid silent tribute during the opening ceremony to the victims of the Kunming terrorist attack.

On the evening of March 1, eight Xinjiang separatists attacked civilians at Kunming Railway Station in southwest China's Yunnan Province, killing 29 people and injuring 143. Police shot and killed four of the terrorists and successfully apprehended the remaining four. In a statement by the Ministry of Public Security, it was revealed that a terrorist cell led by Abdurehim Kurban was responsible for the attack.

According to Yin, a CPPCC member, separatists can be easily identified through strict security checks between northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and inland provinces, particularly through the security checks at airports. Kunming is around 4,000 km far from Xinjiang. The comparatively convenient transportation by road offers one reason for the city to be chosen for such an attack, as it would allow for bypassing security checks present at railway stations and airports. Meanwhile, as a travelling destination, Kunming might have comparatively loose security check procedures in general since a terrorist attack had never happened there until now.

"Yunnan is home to a larger number of ethnic minorities than any other parts of China. The fact that terrorists chose it as a target and attacked random people regardless of their ethnicity and religion exposes the lie in their claim that 'their own ethnicity and religious belief have been oppressed," Yin said, emphasizing that the terrorists and those working behind the scenes are merely using terrorist activity to attempt to reach their political objectives under the disguise of religion.

Kunming residents mourn the victims of the terrorist attack at memorial event held by The Kunming government on March 4 (HU CHAO)

The Kunming attack has threatened the nation's security and indicates a trend that terrorism is extending from border areas like Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Region to inland areas. "Potential target cities should work out emergency plans in case violent incidents become more severe," Yin noted.

Last November, China decided to establish a national security commission during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with President Xi Jinping as its leader. The main task of the commission is to form security strategies, lay legal foundations for anti-terrorism efforts as well as safeguard security and stability in the country.

Yin believes that the establishment of the commission, which is an important supplement to already existing security mechanisms, will help China fight against terrorism with quicker and more reasonable reactions.

"With the legislation in place, our anti-terrorism strategies will continue working regardless of changes in leaders," Yin said. The commission will coordinate an anti-terrorism act, which will involve a number of departments related to security, intelligence, civil service and medical help.

"In the past, anti-terrorism was only a term used in regulations. Now, the legislation for combating terrorism will crack down on and prevent terrorist attacks even better than before," Yin said. "I hope that the national security commission will start to function early and formulate a series of strategies."

Moreover, a global anti-terrorism network should be established, according to Yin.

China has been actively involved in international anti-terrorist efforts since the 9/11 attacks that occurred in the U.S. in 2001. It has joined the Central Asian countries to fight against the "three evil forces" (of terrorism, separatism and extremism) under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

"It's China's responsibility to cooperate with other countries to battle terrorism," Yin said.

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