British PM Tony Blair came out of his visit to China a big winner after receiving China’s backing for a United Nations Security Council resolution against terrorist incitement. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on London, Blair pushed for new laws that would make public or private statements that indirectly incited terrorism an offense punishable by law. The new UN resolution, which is still in the works, is of the same drift — it gives countries a greater mandate to stop terrorist incitement within their own borders.
Say it ain’t so! This might not bode well for free speech in China. But, back against the wall, China had no choice but to come on board, because it’s got a nasty terrorist problem of its own, at least according to a Chinese anti-terrorist official’s remarks on September 5. According to this report:
Statistics showed, the three forces — terrorists, separatists and extremists — in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region hatched more than 260 terrorist incidents over the past 10 years, killing more than 160 innocent people and injuring 440 others.
So on average, that’s 16 people per year in a country with a current population of 1.3 billion. Compare that to the statistics offered in this report from last year:
Since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the analysis, around 1,500 have died in terrorist attacks in Iraq, nearly 700 in Russia, more than 350 have died in Israel, around 200 in Spain and more than 100 in the Philippines. The numbers sometimes are imprecise because of the nature of the attacks, which leave many missing.
That said, Shanghaiist has another interesting statistic for you to chew on. In the first half of 2005 alone, 2,672 miners died in mining-related accidents in China, which averages out to more than
one person 14 people per day. China wants to paint terrorism as the antithesis of the harmonious society, but a case could be made that those 2,672 people — or rather, their absence — has done more actual harm to the stability and harmony of society than has whatever China is calling terrorism, and all the after the fact investigations into the causes of accidents and legality of the mines won’t prevent these tragedies from continuing apace.
The Uighurs wobble … but will they fall down?