- Time for the T word
- July 28th, 2013
OK, it's time someone got to grips with China's "incidents," and to do it properly, we need the T word: terrorism.
China is in the grip of a wave of home-grown terrorist attacks. The other week there was a suicide bomber at Beijing airport. A couple of weeks before that, someone self-immolated in a bus in my town, Xiamen. About five years ago now, there was a spate of school massacres. I should go through the news reports to dig up more, but you get the picture.
So, 1) why aren't these being labeled as terrorism, and 2) why should they be?
1) The attacks aren't coordinated by an Al-qaeda or similar, and their motivations seem personal rather than political: often it is just the individual acting out in response to a (perceived) injustice against him (it's usually men).
2) But there's quite a consistent set of beliefs behind these attacks: a desire for social justice, a desire that the demands of the poor are treated with respect by those with more power and influence. And they are the model of terror attacks: designed to attract attention and disrupt ordinary life, targeted at highly public places.
Of course, the Chinese government will never admit that anyone other than those from Xinjiang or Tibet could possibly be terrorists. But the western media surely needs to smarten up a bit and start using the proper language to describe what happens here.