Home > Analysis > WSJ Re-reports “37 civilians killed, 13 injured in Xinjiang terror attack”

WSJ Re-reports “37 civilians killed, 13 injured in Xinjiang terror attack”

I have been pretty flabbergasted by how the Western media has been so quick to line up to tote the U.S. government line on Russian or pro-Russian rebel involvement in the downing of Malaysian Flight 17 over Ukraine.  The media blitzkrieg has been very impressive, so have the U.S. drumming up for another round of sanctions.  While I don’t think the stakes this time is that high as say the U.S. government / media deception about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. in the sense that this round of infowar is not really going to lead to major human catastrophe, I am certainly watching with trepidation on how the same machinery of diplomatic, media, and sanctions blitzkrieg can be directed against China.

Well, while still in my doldrums, I suddenly came upon an article that shows that despite the urgent attention on Russia and tragedies unfolding in Gaza, the media arms against China are fully cocked and ready to go!

Just yesterday, Xinhua reported an attack last week in Xinjiang killed 37 and injured 13 civilians.

37 civilians killed, 13 injured in Xinjiang terror attack

URUMQI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — A total of 37 civilians were killed and another 13 injured in a terrorist attack Monday in Shache County, Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, authorities said Sunday.

Police gunned down 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others, the regional government said after a meeting Saturday presided by Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China.

The case was first reported Tuesday, but no figures were given except that dozens of people died.

Among the dead were 35 Hans and two Uygurs, the government said.

Out of the 31 vehicles smashed in the violent attack, 6 were burnt.

Police confiscated long knives, axes as well as the terrorists’ banners that hailed “holy war.”

A gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices in Elixku Township early Monday morning, and some moved on to the nearby Huangdi Township, attacking civilians and smashing vehicles as they passed.

The gangsters also set roadblocks on the Bachu-Shache Road and stopped vehicles passing by, before slashing passengers indiscriminately and forcing civilians to join them in the terror attack, according to police.

Investigations showed that it was an attack jointly “organized and premeditated” by terrorists both in and outside China, the government said.

The mastermind behind the attack was identified as Nuramat Sawut from Elixku Township, who had close connections with the terrorist organization East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

Sawut had been spreading separatism and religious extremism with audio and video materials since 2013. Through this process he developed a terrorist group and became its leader.

Since the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the group had had multiple gatherings in remote places, during which they made attack plans and prepared tools for their violent acts.

Zhang Chunxian said that the terrorists will be punished in accordance with law, and that anyone committing crimes must be brought to justice.

On Friday, police shot dead nine suspected terrorists and captured another in Hotan Prefecture, two days after extremists murdered the imam of China’s largest mosque, Jume Tahir, in Xinjiang.

Shache witnessed another terror attack on December 30, 2013 when nine knife-wielding terrorists attacked a police station. They threw explosives and set police cars on fire. Police shot dead eight terrorists.

On May 22, an attack on a market in Urumqi, the regional capital, left 31 dead and 94 injured.

Good old Wall Street Journal then picked the report, and with no more information than what is reported in this xinhua report, reported the following:

China Says Violent Xinjiang Uprising Left Almost 100 Dead

In Addition to 59 Suspected Terrorists Killed by Police, 37 Civilians Died in Clashes

SHANGHAI—Chinese police gunned down 59 people and arrested 215 during a violent uprising last week in the Xinjiang region, the government said Sunday, in a statement that shed fresh light on what dissident groups had earlier described as a major clash in the area.

In coordinated predawn actions on July 28, unnamed assailants attacked civilians, state buildings and vehicles in two Xinjiang towns, including Elixhu, according to police descriptions reported by the government-run Xinhua news agency.

The agency said 37 civilians were among the 96 people who were killed during the attack. Sunday’s statement called the assailants terrorists and said the attack had foreign support.

The new figures, which emerged from a high-level meeting of the Communist Party over the weekend in Xinjiang, according to Xinhua, illustrate the seriousness of continued violence in China’s largely Muslim province of Xinjiang. The area abuts Central Asia and has seen minor clashes reported weekly.

The Xinhua report said assailants displayed banners declaring a “holy war” and were coordinated by a banned group called East Turkestan Islamic Movement that China’s government says aims to make Xinjiang independent. Sunday’s report said civilians were stopped at roadblocks and slashed with knives if they refused to join the rally.

The mastermind of the attack was Nuramat Sawut, the report said. Xinhua described him as the local leader of the movement and responsible in the past year for spreading audio and video calls for separatism and religious extremism. Mr. Sawut wasn’t reachable and Xinhua’s report didn’t say whether he specifically participated in the attacks.

The report didn’t say where overseas the group had obtained assistance, though in the past China’s government has cited training of separatists by religious extremists in Pakistan.

Ethnic tensions between Han Chinese migrants and Xinjiang’s Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group have remained high for years, with religious, political and economic overtones.

But as violence has at times spilled outside Xinjiang and appeared to target civilians, China’s government in May launched a one-year crackdown on terrorism and has since reported numerous raids, arrests and clashes, often involving Uighurs.

Uighurs complain that Han Chinese control the government and economy, crimp religious activity and are too aggressive with policing. China’s government cites its financial investments in the region.and says only a small majority of Xinjiang’s people are responsible for the troubles.

During last week’s clash, near the city of Yarkand, took place a day before the mostly Muslim area was set to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

Assailants with knives rampaged through town slashing people and smashing symbols of government power, state media said. In its initial reporting on the attack, Xinhua had said dozens of civilians were killed while at least 36 cars were smashed or set on fire. The initial report also called it “an organized, premeditated and carefully planned terrorist attackof vile nature and tremendous violence.”

Later in the week, assailants, identified by Chinese authorities as Uighurs, knifed to death the government-appointed imam of Id Kah Mosque in the nearby city of Kashgar. On Friday, police in Xinjiang had shot dead nine suspected terrorists and captured another in Xinjiang’s Hotan prefecture.

Note how the “terrorist attack” Xinhua reported became a “violent uprising that left almost 100 dead with gunning down 59 people and arresting 215.”  Xinhua’s characterization of assailants as “gangsters” were ignored … but in its place is the typical reference to Chinese suppression involving complaints “that Han Chinese control the government and economy, crimp religious activity and are too aggressive with policing.”

Wall Street Journal would add the photo below to the story.  If you read only the Xinhua story and subscribe to the Chinese narrative, you’d see the forces as representing order, security and safety.  If you read only the Wall Street Journal version and subscribe to the Western narrative, you’d see the forces as representing oppression and suppression.

Chinese soldiers in front of the Id Kah Mosque, in Kashgar, on Thursday. China has increased security in many parts of Xinjiang. Getty Images

Chinese soldiers in front of the Id Kah Mosque, in Kashgar, on Thursday. China has increased security in many parts of Xinjiang. Getty Images

This is a minor episode of U.S. media twisting and undermining the truth.  I am citing it quickly here only because given that there is no other sources of information, this is a good example of how a Western report with no facts to add can still propagandize so thoroughly and effectively.

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  1. N.M.Cheung
    August 4th, 2014 at 10:12 | #1

    As WSJ is owned by Murdock and reflected the right wing attack on China it’s expected biases and distortions. The more interesting articles are from the Chinese edition of NYT. There were various articles by Han and Uighur Chinese from Xinjiang about their uncertainty facing the turmoil there. Although it’s fairer than the Fox news and WSJ, the conclusions they drawn were pessimistic and stating their outlook as leaving Xinjiang rather than staying to build a better future.

    As a Han Chinese-American I obviously have my own biases. To me some of the problems were historical. Chinese government has been trying to avoid the issues for a long time. they didn’t try to integrate the minorities but rather try to preserve the status quo, giving them some protection and privileges, which is okay up to a point, but with the growing economy and free migration of people from rural areas to cities, as well as migration to the minority area as capitalism acting as a solvent and exposing the income differential, the conflict between nationalities would inevitably surface.

    With more transparency we see what the casualties of the conflict which is exacerbated by the nature of Islam’s pushback against modernity is. Obviously Chinese government is adopting a policy of zero tolerance and shoot to kill against any terrorism action, that’s why the kill to capture ratio is now skewed and western sensibility is aroused. But Chinese government is also facing the public reaction and responding to that reaction.

  2. curious
    August 7th, 2014 at 09:10 | #2

    For quite some time now I get most of my news on world events from various news sites and blogs on the internet. I have avoided the news outlet here in the US due to their blatant biased and one sided reporting of both international and local news. Countries out of favor with the West are subject to particular strong propaganda attacks. Events in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, South China Sea, Taiwan etc are seized upon, expanded and made to be major international events. Of course, in the case of China and others, the causes of these events are invariable tied to –
    Lack of religious freedom – lack of democracy – lack of basic freedom – despot like government etc
    all the qualities that only the Western countries solely possess.
    In the case of Xinjiang the previous comments state of the issues well. When different cultures and religions intermingle there are always tensions. This can be seen in different countries around the world. In the case of Xinjiang, the overwhelming factor, in my opinion, is the fact that unrest is stoked by external forces playing on religious extremists often outside who infiltrate Tibet. The hands of foreign intelligence agencies are at play. The CIA has a long history, supporting the Dalai Lama back in the 1950’s. After the CIA’s supported uprising failed, they safely escorted the Dalai Lama to India. He has been a Western puppet ever sine, causing mischief whenever he can in his quest for an “independent” Tibet.
    China has of late spent large yearly investments in infrastructure and social projects. I believe they will bear fruit in Tibet’s future.

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