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China Active in Global Counter-terrorism
Fighting against terrorism has become a common task of the international community after the September 11 attacks, as the world enters new era in the struggle, according to Chinese officials and experts.

International cooperation is imperative in the fight against terrorism, which -- like a plague -- can not only deprive many innocent people of their lives, but also have an enormous impact on the world's political and economic structures, said Li Baodong, director-general of the International Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

To fight terrorism in China, the Ministry of Public Security has set up an anti-terrorism bureau, he said. This is the first time that a Chinese official confirmed the existence of such an organization.

In the week before the September 11 anniversary, a series of anti-terrorism maneuvers were organized in Shanghai and Beijing, according to reports.

"China is a victim of terrorism," Li said. "Collaborating with al-Qaida and the Taliban, the Eastern Turkistan forces have created lots of terroristic violence in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and in Central Asian regions, seriously threatening the safety and security of the whole area.

"International cooperation thus could play a pivotal role in the anti-terrorism war," said Li in a written response to questions from China Daily.

Turning Point

Meanwhile, others believe it is perhaps too early to declare that the September 11 attacks will alter the political and economic structure of the world. Li Wei, director of the Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies under the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, shared this view during an exclusive interview.

"The September 11 event is regarded as a turning point in the international anti-terrorism campaign," said Li Wei. "An international coalition has taken shape, pushing the anti-terrorism campaign to an unprecedented level."

Up to now, 122 countries have showed their support for the US campaign against the terrorists led by the formerly Afghanistan-based al-Qaida, he noted.

But the coalition that has emerged since the attacks is still rather loose and immature, he said. "It will take more time to form a formal anti-terrorism mechanism led by the United Nations (UN)," Li Wei said.

What's more, comprehensive management measures should be taken to eradicate the fundamental reasons for terrorism which lie in poverty, the wide gap between the rich and the poor as well as unfairness in international relations, he added.

Commenting on the news that the US Government has listed the Eastern Turkistan activists as a terrorist organization, Li Wei said the activities of such organizations conform to the terrorism standard set by US laws and that they threaten US national security.

Further legislative procedures are needed in the United States before it can take action against such terrorist organizations, he added.

With the acceleration of globalization and the development of high technology, transnational terrorism activities not only threaten the interests of one or two countries, but many members of the international community, he explained.

After the September 11 attacks, the Chinese Government strengthened cooperation with other countries in the fight against terrorism and won high praise from the international community, said Li Baodong, a Foreign Ministry official.

China's national leaders have repeatedly elaborated China's stance towards international terrorism.

As a UN Security Council member, China has taken an active part in promoting multilateral anti-terrorism cooperation under UN leadership, Li Baodong added.

For example, China has participated in 10 and approved another of the 12 international anti-terrorism conventions.

In addition, China has taken an active part in regional anti-terrorism cooperation, Li Baodong said. An anti-terrorism statement signed by the APEC leaders late last year, the first such document, played an important role after the September 11 events.

And mid- and long-term exchange and cooperation mechanisms for anti-terrorism were established between China and the United States. A high-level panel for anti-terrorism was set up by China and Russia as well.

Meanwhile, the researcher Li Wei argued that China should draft specific laws as soon as possible to give a clear definition of terrorism so as to effectively fight against such activities.

(China Daily September 11, 2002)

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