China's president warns against growing threats to national security

BEIJING Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:12am EDT

China's President Xi Jinping waits for his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas before a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

China's President Xi Jinping waits for his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas before a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Petar Kujundzic

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that China faces increasing threats to national security and warned of the dangers of terrorism in a speech indicating that Beijing could impose tougher controls on its ethnic minorities.

Xi told a study session of the party's decision-making Politburo "to resolutely stamp out the brazenness of the terrorists," the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

Xi's comments come at a sensitive time for China, as authorities battle unrest in the Tibetan regions and in Xinjiang, home to Muslim Uighurs.

Unrest in Xinjiang has led to the deaths of more than 100 people in the past year, prompting a tougher stance against the Muslim Uighur minority.

The government blames the violence in Xinjiang on Islamist militants and separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan in the far western region.

More than 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest Beijing's rule, with many calling for the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Beijing says the self-immolators are "terrorists". Most have died from their injuries.

"We have to be clearly aware that in the new situation, our country is facing increasing threats and challenges to our national security and increasing threats to our social stability," Xi said.

The Chinese public must build a "wall of bronze and iron" to fight terrorism, and "make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting 'beat them'," he said.

Xi called on officials to "properly resolve disputes affecting national unity and resolutely curb and combat hostile forces from outside and inside the country from using the ethnic issue to engage in separatist, infiltration and sabotage activities".

Xi did not refer to Tibetans or Uighurs, but his remarks reflect the rhetoric often used by party leaders when discussing ethnic unrest and underscore Beijing's anxiety about minority issues.

Human rights groups have said that Beijing tramples on the religious and cultural rights of Tibetans and Uighurs and enforces its rule with brutality. China says ethnic minorities enjoy broad freedoms.

Beijing has called the Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who wants to establish an independent Tibet. The Dalai Lama says he wants autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.

Security has been tightened in Xinjiang after a spate of deadly attacks, including an incident in the southwestern city of Kunming in March, in which at least 29 people were killed and 140 injured, blamed by Beijing on Uighur militants.

Last October, a vehicle ploughed into tourists on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders. Authorities said it was a suicide attack by militants from Xinjiang.

Xi's administration has intensified a crackdown on dissent. Beijing sparked an outcry from Western nations in January when police detained Ilham Tohti, a professor who has championed the rights of Uighurs.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee;Editing by Lynne O'Donnell)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
Oro_Invictus wrote:
I would think the current urbanization drive which, even if it were to work as intended sans negative density dependent effects and none of the downsides of “artificial” urbanization (which, of course, there will be), would be increasing consumption for a population which already has less than half the bare minimum of arable land within its borders (for what is required to ensure no one is malnourished) be at the top of that list; this adjoined to the worsening pollution which kills a million-plus annually. Maybe toss in the catastrophically poor efficiency-of-productivity, best seen in pure (rather than assimilative) R&D ventures?

Of course, the short-sightedness of the CPC will never receive this kind of self-criticism, despite the severity of such making Bush Jr. look like the offspring of Turing and Montessori. Nope, it’s always those “troublemakers” who are full of “jealousy, resentment, and fear” causing things, because why does the CPC need logic when they have a propaganda apparatus that would make a Disney villain blush?

Apr 26, 2014 4:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
isthnu wrote:
Come on Reuters, those out to maim and kill unprejudiced of age or gender are “militants”?

Apr 26, 2014 7:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
aunticcp wrote:
Why is the Free World doing business with the most cruel, most blood-thirsty regime that has ever existed on this Planet $ The brutal Chinese Communist Party has murdered over fifty million of its own people since 1949 and since 1999, has been attempting the genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong who live in Mainland China, by the use of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder. The weak U.N. even appointed the heinous CCP a seat on its Human Rights Council this year. Shameful ! Can anyone please explain to me why the plight of these gentle people is being ignored by the rest of the World$ Thank you for your concern.

Apr 27, 2014 9:22am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.