【英语中国】乌鲁木齐爆炸案促使中国加强新疆安保 China puts security first in Xinjiang after rail station attacks

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-5-12 17:48

小艾摘要: Xayar, an oasis town on the frontline of China’s homegrown “war on terror”, has the feel of a combat zone. Armed groups patrol the streets and every major building is protected by high walls and ba ...
China puts security first in Xinjiang after rail station attacks
Xayar, an oasis town on the frontline of China’s homegrown “war on terror”, has the feel of a combat zone. Armed groups patrol the streets and every major building is protected by high walls and barbed wire.

Most of Xayar’s residents are Turkic-speaking members of the Muslim Uighur minority who before China’s 1949 communist revolution comprised more than 90 per cent of the population of the northwestern “autonomous region” of Xinjiang.

But after decades of state-directed immigration by Han Chinese, Uighurs now account for only about 40 per cent of Xinjiang’s 22m population. The region, which makes up about a sixth of China’s territory, is also autonomous in name only, with Han officials dominating the territory’s government and security apparatus.

“We hate the Han government because society is so unfair here,” says one Xayar resident who asked not to be named. “They are the big bosses of everything and have all the opportunities, while we Uighurs are denied even basic rights.”

The young man, whose face and head bear scars from a street brawl with Han Chinese settlers, fears what may happen to him were he to be labelled a “separatist”. “If I curse the communist party in front of a Han person or if I start complaining that this is our land and they are occupiers, then I can be locked up as an extremist, no questions asked.”

Such resentment lies behind a recent upsurge in ethnic riots, and terrorist attacks. Late last month two suicide bombers attacked Han railway passengers with knives before detonating explosives at a train station in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, killing themselves and one person, and injuring 79 others.

Uighur resentment has periodically boiled over into riots and bombings over the years but the attack on the train station was the first bombing in Urumqi in 17 years and the first suicide bombing in the city ever. Pre-meditated suicide attacks by Uighurs have been very rare until recently.

The Urumqi attack came less than two months after the brutal slaying of 29 people at another station, 4,000km away at Kunming in Yunnan, by a group of at least eight knife-wielding Uighur attackers, an incident that turned what had been a low-intensity conflict with police and soldiers in Xinjiang into a deliberate assault on civilians in China’s Han heartland.

“There has been a shift over the past couple of years from targeting symbols of the party and state in Xinjiang – police stations and government buildings – to targeting people to create terror,” says James Leibold, a Sinologist at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

In Xayar, residents will only whisper the name of Sedirdin Sawut, the 39-year-old who was identified by the government as one of the two Urumqi attackers. That attack appeared timed to coincide with a four-day visit to the region by President Xi Jinping.

Police are still searching for at least five of Mr Sawut’s relatives including his wife and father, who have all gone missing and may have been involved, according to state media, as well as two alleged bomb-makers from Xayar.

Locals say Mr Sawut moved to Urumqi several years ago, where they believe he was radicalised by extremists who frequently target non-Chinese-speaking Uighurs from the countryside. Such migrants often struggle to find good jobs, especially as economic growth slows to as little as 4 per cent in large industrial areas to the east that have traditionally attracted large numbers of Uighurs.

Though their town is perched on the rim of the energy-rich Tarim basin, residents of Xayar and other nearby settlements have been left behind by the region’s oil and gas boom.

“Life is very hard in poor, ecologically fragile towns in Xinjiang,” says Jiang Zhaoyong, a Beijing-based expert on the region. “Many people leave to work as labourers or peddlers in large Chinese cities, but even these opportunities are fewer and fewer. It is not easy for them to make money.”

During his trip to Xinjiang, Mr Xi acknowledged the economic predicament faced by many Uighurs.

“Development should benefit the people, the local area and ethnic unity,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a typical dispatch that hyped the aid given to the region by Beijing and downplayed the Urumqi attack. “Promoting employment of minorities is vital to people’s livelihood and stability?.?.?.?However, exploitation of [Xinjiang’s] resources has enriched large enterprises and entrepreneurs rather than the local area and its people.”

Nevertheless, the president’s Xinjiang tour remained firmly focused on security and counter-terrorism as he paid high-profile visits to military and police units across the region. In the wake of the train station attack, which took place on the day he left Urumqi, Mr Xi pledged to “resolutely suppress” terrorism in the region.

“Xi is afraid to look soft on public security issues,” says Mr Leibold. “His visit was very carefully orchestrated and had many elements, but certainly it led with security. I think he wants to calm the nerves of a slightly jittery Han population.”

Chinese officials often claim Uighur terrorists have been helped by “outside forces” from countries bordering Xinjiang, including Afghanistan and Pakistan where Uighurs have been fighting alongside the Taliban.

But apart from a few Pakistani gem merchants in Xayar, residents say there is no evidence of an expanding foreign presence, adding that locals are effectively stopped from getting within 100km of the Afghan or Pakistani borders by -Chinese military checkpoints.

And, while everything about Xayar and nearby towns feels thoroughly -Muslim, religion is very tightly -controlled. Locals are woken not by the traditional dawn call to prayer, which is forbidden throughout -Xinjiang, but rather by the sound of Han paramilitary troops practising their morning drills.

Additional reporting by Wan Li

阿克苏沙雅县是一处沙漠绿洲,位于中国国内“反恐战争”的前哨,给人一种战区的感觉。武装人员在街道巡逻,所有主要建筑物都被高墙和有刺铁丝网保护了起来。

多数沙雅居民说突厥语,为信奉伊斯兰教的维吾尔族。在1949年中国解放以前,维族在新疆这个中国西北部“自治区”的人口中曾占90%以上。

然而之后的几十年里,根据中国政府的指示,很多汉族移民到这里,维族现在仅占新疆2200万人口的40%左右。新疆约占中国国土面积的六分之一,但只在名义上“自治”,汉族官员控制着该地区的政府以及公安部门。

“我们憎恨汉族政府,因为在这里社会很不公平,”一位要求匿名的沙雅居民表示,“他们是一切事务的‘大老板’,拥有所有机会,但我们维族人甚至连基本权利都没有。”

这位年轻人的脸上和头上还带着伤疤,他曾与汉族居民在街头发生冲突,他担心如果自己被列为“分裂分子”,结果会怎样。“如果我在一个汉族人面前咒骂共产党,或者开始抱怨这是我们的土地,他们是占有者,那么我将会被不由分说地作为极端分子关起来。”

最近爆发的民族骚乱和恐怖主义袭击背后就是这种怨恨情绪。上月末,两名自杀式炸弹袭击者在新疆首府乌鲁木齐的火车站持刀砍杀多名汉族乘客,之后引爆炸弹身亡,另造成一名群众死亡,79人受伤。

过去几年,维族的怨恨情绪有时会升级为暴乱和爆炸案,但此次火车站袭击事件是乌鲁木齐17年来的首起爆炸袭击案,也是该市发生的第一起自杀式爆炸案。以前,维族很少发动这种有预谋的自杀式袭击。

此次事件前不到两个月,远在4000公里以外的云南省昆明火车站也发生了一起造成29人遇难的惨案,至少8名持刀的维族人发动了此次袭击,这一事件令以前发生在新疆的维族与警方和军队强度不大的冲突,变成了有意针对中国汉族腹地平民的袭击。

澳大利亚墨尔本拉筹伯大学(La Trobe University)汉学家詹姆斯?雷柏德(James Leibold)表示:“过去几年,新疆恐怖主义活动的目标,已从象征着共产党以及中国政府的警察局和政府大楼转向平民,以制造恐慌。”

沙雅县的居民们只会私下里谈起色地尔丁?沙吾提(Sedirdin Sawut)的名字。这名39岁的男子被中国政府确认为乌鲁木齐的两名袭击者之一。看起来,袭击在时间上恰好安排在中国国家主席习近平对新疆为期4天的视察之时。

警方仍在寻找色地尔丁的至少5名亲属(包括他的妻子和父亲),以及两名涉嫌制造炸弹的沙雅居民。官方媒体报道称,这几名亲属全都失踪了,他们很可能参与了此次袭击事件。

当地居民称,色地尔丁几年前搬到乌鲁木齐,他们相信色地尔丁正是在那里受到极端分子的影响而变得激进起来——极端分子经常将争取目标对准来自乡村、不会说汉语的维族人。此类移民很难找到好工作,尤其是目前传统上吸引大量维族人的东疆大型工业区的经济增速降到了仅达4%。

尽管沙雅位于能源丰富的塔里木盆地的边缘,但沙雅及其邻近地区的居民们一直未能从该地区的石油和天然气繁荣中受益。

研究该地区的北京专家蒋兆勇表示:“在新疆生态脆弱的贫困城镇生活非常艰难。许多人离开家乡,在大城市务工或沿街卖东西,但即便是这些机会也越来越少。他们赚钱并不容易。”

习近平在视察新疆期间承认,许多维族人面临经济困境。

中国官方的新华社写道:“发展要落实到改善民生上,落实到惠及当地上,落实到增进团结上。促进少数民族就业是新疆民生之本、稳定之基。”新华社的这篇典型报道大力宣扬了中央政府给予新疆的援助,同时淡化了乌鲁木齐的袭击事件。不过它还写道,新疆的资源开发让大型企业和企业家、而不是当地及其居民变富。

然而,习近平新疆之行的重点依然是安全和反恐,他高调视察了新疆地区的部队和公安部门。乌鲁木齐火车站发生袭击事件之后,习近平要求“采取果断措施,坚决把暴力恐怖分子的嚣张气焰打下去”——袭击事件发生在习近平离开新疆的当天。

雷柏德表示:“习近平担心自己在公共安全问题上显得软弱。他精心安排了新疆之行,此次视察有许多用意,但当然是以安全为主导。我认为他是想要安抚稍有些紧张的汉族人。”

中国官员经常宣称,维族恐怖分子受到来自与新疆接壤国家(包括阿富汗和巴基斯坦)的“外部势力”的帮助——在这些国家,维族人一直与塔利班并肩作战。

但沙雅居民表示,这里除了有少数几个巴基斯坦宝石商以外,看不出外国人在增多。他们补充称,中国边防军实际上禁止当地人进入距离阿富汗或巴基斯坦边境100公里范围之内的地区。

沙雅以及邻近城镇的一切都让人觉得这完全是个穆斯林地区,但宗教受到严格的控制。每天清晨,当地人不是由传统的召祷歌唤醒,而是被汉族人准军事部队的早操声吵醒。

万丽补充报道

译者/何黎

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