The body count is not comparable in any way, but the Tiananmen Square car bombing resembles September 11 in its daring, targeting the political seat of power, and the way that it caught a powerful security establishment unprepared.
China has predictably fallen into censorship mode, but it’s obvious that its leaders are being forced to come to terms with the fact that they may be facing a terrorist campaign similar to the one experienced in Europe, America, Israel and other parts of the world where Muslim minorities backed by foreign interests cause violent mischief.
The People’s Republic of China had believed that Muslim violence would be largely confined to outer areas with large Muslim populations, but an attack in Beijing is a warning that their policy of restraint has failed. China, like most countries, has tried to deal with Muslim terrorism as a local problem, while allying with Muslim countries internationally.
That’s the same mistake that America and Europe have made.
Until all the countries that are the victims of Muslim terrorism begin standing together, they have no hope of defeating it.
A day after a sport utility vehicle mowed down dozens of pedestrians near Tiananmen Square and exploded at the foot of the nation’s most hallowed monument, killing five people, the authorities appeared to be focusing on suspects from Xinjiang, the region in China’s far west that has been the scene of increasingly violent resistance to Beijing’s hard-line policies.
Officials increased security at pivotal intersections, subway stations and tourist sites across the capital, but they remained conspicuously silent about an episode that many Chinese believe was a deliberate attack on the political and symbolic heart of the nation.
The attack was no less unnerving given that it took place before a Nov. 9 meeting of party leaders at the Great Hall of the People, which is close to where the car exploded. Just hours beforehand, President Xi Jinping and other members of the Politburo Standing Committee attended the opening session of the National Women’s Congress in the same building.
By Tuesday morning, there was no evidence of the mayhem caused by the vehicle, which struck and killed two people and wounded 38 as it hurtled more than 400 yards along a sidewalk thronged with tourists. Some witnesses said the driver warned pedestrians by honking as the car sped forward. Reuters quoted a witness who said the vehicle was trailing a white banner with black letters.
That would likely be what is known popularly as the Al Qaeda flag. The white flag is known as the “state flag” of the Caliphate. It’s an interesting choice considering that Jihadis usually attack using the black “war flag”.
But maybe the Jihadis chose to use the state flag in an attack on the seat of China’s power to make a point about their goal of replacing the Communist Party with the Islamic law of the Caliphate.