BEIJING (Reuters) - China must learn lessons from the Paris shootings and all government departments should improve intelligence-gathering to prevent similar attacks in the country, the government said on Wednesday.
Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun said China must strengthen the sharing of intelligence on counter-terrorism, putting information on people and materials into a national anti-terrorism intelligence system.
The platform was introduced last year as part of changes to a security law following an upsurge in violence in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.
“All localities and departments must seriously study and resolutely implement the profound lessons learned from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, effectively enhance risk awareness and a sense of urgency,” Guo was quoted as saying in a statement on the ministry’s website.
His remarks came a week after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi appealed for international help in the battle that China is waging against Islamist militants in Xinjiang.
Guo said China’s intelligence information platform had stopped “most violent terrorist activity”, but warned that “the fight against terrorism is severe and complicated domestically and internationally”.
Hundreds of people have died in unrest in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur people, and other parts of China over the past three years or so.
Some recent attacks in Xinjiang have pointed to serious intelligence failures despite a big security presence there. Beijing has blamed much of the violence on Islamist militants, led by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a group it says has ties to al Qaeda and wants to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
More recently, China has reported that some Uighurs have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic State and other groups.
Western countries have long been reluctant to share intelligence with China or otherwise cooperate, saying China has provided little evidence to prove ETIM’s existence and citing worries about possible human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Rights groups and exiles say the violence stems more from widespread Uighur resentment at Chinese controls on their religion and culture rather than being committed by a well-organized militant group. China strongly denies abusing human rights in Xinjiang.
China also called for more coordination in the fight against terrorism on Wednesday in relation to Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane.
Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie