Can China Curb Terrorism?

China is pushing its People’s War on Terror to stop a spate of Islamist attacks at home.

By Farhan Zahid.

Like much of the world, China is grappling with its own Islamist terrorist issues. Even before the global War on Terror began in 2001, the Chinese government had started taking vital counter-terrorism measures in collaboration with other neighboring nations. In 1996, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was established, primarily under the aegis of China, to address the security concerns of the member states, terrorism in particular.

Since the infamous success of the 9/11 attackers and the emergence of ISIS in Iraq, however, Islamist terrorism has grown exponentially in the region. Terrorism in China’s Xinjiang province, where a majority of the population is Muslim, has increased exponentially, accelerating Beijing’s interest in formulating an internal counter-terrorism policy.
As with Tibet, China maintains control over the Xinjiang region with strong-arm tactics. Many in the province do not see themselves as Chinese, and there is a popular separatist movement. Some of the separatists are influenced by jihadist ideology and have used violence. A series of terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack in Beijing in October 2013, rocked both Xinjiang province and other Chinese cities previously unaffected by terrorism.

China’s response is the People’s War on Terror, which it announced in January of 2015. China’s main goal is to …

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