Talk:Terrorism in China

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Words to avoid[edit]

Wikipedia:Words to avoid#Extremist, terrorist and freedom fighter

knowledge needed[edit]

I would rather edit than tag {Cleanup|date=September 2007}} but I really do not have the background knowledge to do the article justice Aatomic1 16:31, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

pacificempire.org.nz[edit]

This blog post could serve as a starting point for an expansion of this article: "Major terrorist attacks in China, 1997-2007" Amygdala (talk) 00:38, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Issues that need addressing[edit]

This page suffers a number of problems, and I would like to try to propose an approach to remedy them. First, there are a few things that need to handled with more caution. When I was editing the lede just now, I noticed that Uyghur separatism was linked to a page on Islamic terrorism. Just because most ethnic Uyghurs are Muslim does not mean that they share the same religious, ideological, or political objectives as transnational Islamic terrorists (as the term is usually understood). Quite the opposite, really. They are best understood as a separatist movement motivated by localized political interests, not religious ideology.

We also need to be careful with definitions. I edited the lede to reflect the divergence in the understanding of this term. It's a loaded one, and is particularly controversial in the context of China. Namely, the PRC government has been criticized for labeling non-violent religious or political dissidents as terrorists as a means of legitimizing strike-hard campaigns against them. There should be a section that deals with this in more depth so that a reader can properly contextually and evaluate divergent claims of terrorism. Another section that should be added would examine the laws and legal practices that govern the prosecution of terror cases.

The page in its current form seems to contain only accounts of terrorism by Muslims or in Xinjiang. There are a lot of other instances of terrorism that do not fall within this category (the Fuzhou bombings last year comes to mind[1]). It would therefore be prudent to describe the different manifestations of terrorism in more detail. I should also note that, in keeping with the understanding of terrorism as it was conceptualized after the French Revolution (ie. by states against people), some sources have described the Communist Party's political campaigns are forms of state terrorism, and we can also explore that.

Finally, I would like to ask whether there are any opinions about whether the article should contain a chronological list of events, or whether we should describe trends and notable events in a more integrated manner. Thoughts? Homunculus (duihua) 18:52, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

I just added a couple sections and reorganized the chronology of major events into a bulleted list. There are lots of outstanding issues:
    • chronology of events is lacking in sources
    • chronology should come with a clear disclaimer about how varying definitions of terrorism are applied, and also note the lack of transparency in official claims (eg. Western reporters are seldom if ever allowed to investigate). If we were to go by strict interpretations of international law, only a handful of events in the last two or three decades are true "terrorist incidents". I'm not saying we need to confine the discussion to those, but it should be made clear where evidence and interpretations are less than clear.
    • Need to flesh out an overview section on ethnic separatism in Tibet and Xinjiang. These sections should explain ethnic grievances, the tactics used, and so forth.
    • A more explicit discussion is needed to address concerns of human rights groups that China uses the threat of terrorism to legitimize suppressions of dissidents. Also need some information on the paucity of good statistics from official sources. A couple very good sources to review are here:[2][3]
    • Section on international cooperation needs to be improved. It's not a complete list, for one (where's the U.S.?), and it does a poor job of providing a real overview of the topic.

I'm sure there are other things. I'll come back to it another day.Homunculus (duihua) 00:43, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


An editor has deleted the section dealing with manifestations of terrorism, arguing elsewhere that the term is contentious, is not necessarily synonymous with political violence or guerrilla warfare, etc. Editor also said that I misrepresented the Martin source, who discusses Mao's campaigns in the Chinese Civil War as including terror tactics. So, here's a rebuttal. Like genocide and similarly loaded terms, there will never be consensus over what constitutes terrorism. Depending on where one's sympathies lie, one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. The line between guerrilla warfare and terrorism, in particular, is frequently blurred. That's why I added a section on etymology and use, which noted the divergent definitions and usages. That section notes that some forms of violence directed against political authorities (for instance, as anti-colonial or secession movements) are not necessarily defined as terrorist activities. In light of this, the argument could be made that Mao's guerrilla tactics were not a manifestation of terrorism. The source I used, Gus Martin's "Understanding terrorism: challenges, perspectives, and issues," also delineates between guerrilla warfare and terrorism by saying that the terms are not synonymous. However, the fact that they are not synonymous does not mean that guerrilla warfare is never terrorism. It means simply that it is not necessarily terrorism. In the case of Mao's campaign, Martin explains that terrorism was a strategic instrument in the "people's war" practiced by Mao. Here's the relevant excerpt:

"According to Mao, the Red Army should fight a guerrilla war, with roving banks that would occasionally unite. The war was to be fought by consolidating the countryside and then gradually moving into the towns and cities. Red Army units would avoid conventional battle with the Nationalist, giving ground before superior numbers. Space would be traded for time, and battle would be joined only when the Red Army was tactically superior at a given moment. Thus, an emphasis was placed on avoidance and retreat. In people's war, assassination was perfectly acceptable, and targets included soldiers, government administrators, and civilian collaborators. Government=sponsored programs and events—no matter how beneficial they might be to the people—were to be violently disrupted to show the government's weakness. [...]
Mao's contribution to modern warfare—and to the concept of political will—was that he deliberately linked his military strategy to his political strategy; they were one and the same. Terrorism was a perfectly acceptable option in this military-political strategy. The combination of ideology, political indoctrination, guerrilla tactics, protracted warfare, and popular support made people's war a very potent strategy. it was an effective synthesis of political will.
Leftist revolutionaries adopted this strategy elsewhere in the world in conflicts that ranked from large insurrections to small bands of rebels. Terrorism was frequently used as a strategic instrument to harass and disrupt adversaries, with the goal of turning the people against them and forcing them to capitulate. In the end, people's war had mixes success. It was sometimes very successful, such as in China and Vietnam, but failed elsewhere, such as in Malaysia and the Philippines."

I will try to rewrite the section again, and will take care to be more explicit in providing necessary qualifiers. As to the section on state terror, editor who deleted said (elsewhere) that state terrorism does not comport with the common usage of terrorism as acts committed by non-state actors, and that Mao's campaigns were simply political repression. That is true in the contemporary context. As I wrote in the section on etymology, however, this has not always been the case. Several sources, three of which were cited, do describe Mao's political campaigns as forms of terror (sometimes directly comparing these campaigns to those of Robespierre, after whom the term was devised). I would also exhort deleting editor to explore the genre of Cultural Revolution memoirs. Doing so might disabuse him of the notion that the Cultural Revolution was merely repression.

I also feel obligated to note that most of the events described by Chinese officials today as acts of Uyghur terrorism are not true terrorism either, but are instead part of a secessionist movement. Furthermore, Uyghur violence is directed almost exclusively against organs of the state, and the intent to induce terror in the civilian population does not appear to be a major component. Does this mean that those events should all be deleted off the page? I don't think so. I think it just means that we should be careful in describing these events, making clear the sources of contentious claims, the political context in which allegations of terrorism are made and, where available, divergent accounts.

Lastly, I really would like to work collaboratively with other editors on this page to ensure that it is nuanced, complete, and impeccably sourced. I would welcome in particular editors with expertise in the relevant field; terrorism studies were in vogue when I was in grad school, but I remember little and retained only a couple books. Ultimately, I think this page could become a good article. But deleting massive, sourced sections of content without discussion is not really constructive. Homunculus (duihua) 19:16, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I like the way you talk (urging caution, care) but your edits were not congruent with the message. Your attempts to characterize the CPC's fighting in the Chinese Civil War as terrorism, and the CPC's political campaigns as terrorism was definitely excessive, stretched the sources, and was out of scope for this article. Since this article is titled "People's Republic of China", we're not going back to the French Revolution to argue that "terrorism" refers to state actions: this is your own argument. Why did you not include the acts of violent non-state actors (VNSA), like the Fuzhou bombings, which are much more widely accepted as terrorism than the actions of the state? It really doesn't look like you're trying to add balance.
I think you need to be more specific when you accuse the Chinese government of labeling "non-violent religious or political dissent" as terrorism. For example, the government called the recent Kirti Monastery self-immolations (and actions to prevent the burning from getting medical treatment) as "terrorist". However, some authors (and the Dalai Lama) argue that suicide is violence "against the self", so we also have to be careful with terms such as "nonviolent" or "peaceful". Many instances of Uyghur Muslim attacks against civilians (and which regardless of disputed intent do cause fear) have been confirmed not only by the state, but also by anti-state exile groups, as well as by foreign and Hong Kong journalists who do have contacts in and report firsthand from Xinjiang, especially in recent years. Also, there exists a secessionist movement in Xinjiang, but transnational Islamic terrorists also act there. Let's also be sure not to credit all "divergent accounts" equally, as some such accounts come from anonymous emails, and some media sources misrepresent state accounts.
As for the comparison with genocide, there are different degrees of contentiousness. The Armenian Genocide, for example, is pretty much widely-accepted outside of Turkey. However, claims of genocide are regularly leveraged by small secessionist or new religious movements, and are taken much less seriously by scholars. Similarly, the notion of "state terrorism" is much more closer to the fringe than the nation of VNSA attacks against civilians being terrorism. I think your edits have disproportionately served to (1) tar the Chinese government's normal state actions as "terrorism" (2) cast doubt on the Chinese government's antiterror efforts by connecting them to general repression, and (3) imply that reported instances of VNSA terrorism in China are falsified. Therefore, to leave your edits untouched would have been "not really constructive". Rather than attempt to restore this contested content, why not flesh out some of the more mutually agreeable content such as VNSA terrorism by irreligious Han Chinese and international cooperation against terrorism? Shrigley (talk) 20:52, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Read my earlier comments, and I think you will see that I have every intention of fleshing out other sections of the article.Homunculus (duihua) 21:02, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Chronology of events[edit]

I just ordered the chronology of events as a table. This section was badly lacking in sources before, so I went and read articles on almost all the events listed, adding references and clarifying details. I think it's important to note when allegations originated with Chinese state-run media. Very, very few events are ever independently corroborated, and when journalists do attempt to travel to Xinjiang, they are generally thwarted. I also removed a couple things that appeared to be non-events (eg. video messages warning Uyghur not to hang out with Han Chinese during the Olympics), and incidents that were clearly not terrorist incidents (eg. a bus burning in Hubei. No one called this a terrorist event). Additional scrutiny is still needed. Also, several events that much more readily meet the criteria for terrorist attacks are not currently included on the page. I will do some more research and add more.Homunculus (duihua) 19:42, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Recent changes, further proposals[edit]

I just updated the page with the following changes:

  • Added an expanded discussion on etymology and the Chinese cultural context. I think this is particularly valuable in illuminating why usage of the term "terrorism" by the government of the PRC diverges quite significantly from international legal or scholarly definitions; namely, the PRC government (like imperial governments) views groups with the potential to upset the existing social order as terrorists (whether violent or not).
  • Restored a discussion of state terrorism, with more sources, more example, more inline citations, as well as a disclaimer paragraph to reflect scholarly understandings of terrorism by state actors, and how this diverges from most contemporary uses of the term
  • Added a preliminary discussion of ethnic separatism, focusing on the Uyghur population. At this stage it's mainly background, so more could be added on specific Uyghur groups that advocate terrorism or engage in violence, etc. There is also a section, which needs to be built out, on terrorism as a tactic of Tibetan secessionists.

There are a several things that are still missing, as I see it:

  • As stated above, a section is needed on Tibetan terrorism
  • A discussion on the "three evils," and how the PRC government views the relationship between these forces
  • Need more information on the legal structure governing prosecution of terrorism in China, the volume of cases, etc.
  • I would like to see a section on Han Chinese terrorism. It is very rare, so part of the section could include an explanation of why it is so rare (some of the literature I'm reading credits this fact to the Confucian value system, fear of chaos, and to the threat of retribution, among other things).
  • As noted previously, the chronology of events needs work. Some notable events are missing from the list, and others need to be examined with greater scrutiny.
  • A section is needed on domestic counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Section on international cooperation should be shortened and summarized, and at the same time its scope should be expanded to represent China's role in multilateral fora, etc.

Maybe there are things I've overlooked. (Constructive) feedback is welcome.Homunculus (duihua) 20:19, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Tibet[edit]

Another editor deleted the section addressing Tibet within the subheading of ethnic separatism, calling it "appalling editorialization". Now, I'll concede that the section (which I started earlier today) needed to be expanded with more sources, and I just wanted to get it started by drawing on Suzanne Ogden's survey of terrorism in contemporary China. I don't think my edits were especially "appalling," but maybe I'm suffering some kind of strange cognitive filter that is impeding self awareness. Here's a comparison. This is what I wrote (ref tags removed):

"Many Tibetans desire greater cultural and political autonomy, if not full independence, and outbreaks of violent clashes with authorities in the region do occur intermittently. However, Tibetans seldom resort to acts of terrorism. Ogden credits this, in part, to the swift and brutal response from authorities against manifestations of political violence or opposition in Tibet. As a consequence, most Tibetans have adopted a pragmatic, incremental approach to seeking change. The teachings of Buddhism—and of the Dalai Lama in particular—also discourage violence. Nonetheless, there are segments of the Tibetan population who disagree with the Dalai Lama's exhortations against violence, and view violent opposition as the only viable route towards independence.

Here's what the source writes:

"Although Tibetans would like more autonomy, if not independence, they only intermittently engage in violence against the regime and rarely engage in anything that could be labeled terrorism. Like other ethnic activists in China, Tibetans tend to act pragmatically rather than as fanatics dedicated to a cause regardless of the consequences. This is in part because Beijing’s policy toward politically motivated violence directed toward undermining China’s control over Tibet has been swift and brutal. The Tibetan rebellion against Chinese rule in 1959 was summarily quashed, and there have only been sporadic efforts since then to challenge Chinese rule. One reason is that there is a powerful Chinese military presence in Tibet. Another is that the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader who is living in exile, has strongly advised Tibetans against the use of violence to achieve greater autonomy. Further, although Tibetan history is full of violence and cruelty to others, especially other Tibetans, Buddhism itself emphasizes peace and abjures violence.
Nonetheless, some Tibetans (largely those who reject the Dalai Lama’s leadership of Tibetan Buddhism) do believe they are living in an occupied territory and endorse violence as the only way to gain independence from Chinese rule. But it is clear to any would-be terrorists that, at least at this time in history, and under the conditions of underdevelopment and relatively low levels of education and technological expertise in Tibet, terrorist actions against the Chinese state would bear little fruit."

Now, in the event that I have failed to do justice to the source, I would strongly encourage others to try constructively improve upon what I've written, and expand this section with additional sources.Homunculus (duihua) 02:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Right, and per that discussion, would you like to offer some concrete suggestions for this section based on your readings of the relevant literature? Homunculus (duihua) 14:19, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
In the absence of a response, I have tried again with an expanded section on Tibet. This one incorporates more sources, background information, and accounts of notable uprisings and terrorist incidents in the region. Again, if you have any thoughts on how to improve this section based on your readings of the literature, you are most welcome to either raise those ideas or implement them yourself.Homunculus (duihua) 07:32, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

A note regarding edits recently made to this section (and others): some of these changes did improve the concision and quality of the prose, I think, though there are a couple things I'd like to point out that still need to be refined. First, the editor deleted some references that refer to non-violent acts (including simply emigrating from China, or participating in "illegal" religious activity) is sometimes labelled terrorism by Chinese officials. This was replaced with a very specific (I think too specific) example of how authorities condemned the recent self-immolations of Tibetans as terrorism. I would also note that the Dalai Lama, who was accused of "terrorism in disguise" for fasting and praying for the self-immolators, was not actually condoning these, though authorities claimed he was. The text, as currently written, does not make that clear.

Another problem is that the section on Tibet may be interpreted to suggest that Tibetans have no ongoing, legitimate reason to feel aggrieved. I wrote in a previous version that repressive policies were eased beginning in 1980. While this was an improvement, we must remember that policies under Mao involved human rights abuses of a staggering scale and the near-complete destruction of Tibetan culture. Human rights abuses and restrictions to religious freedom persist, as do (admittedly less aggressive) attempts at assimilation. It's partly my fault, but none of this made clear in the article. I will make some edits to address this, but will wait for a reply to see if anyone has thoughts on the best approach. Homunculus (duihua) 00:39, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

People ought not to get too upset by what Mao did in Tibet as a standalone. We must put it into its proper political context: Mao not only destroyed Tibetan culture, he is responsible for the deaths of millions of Han (as well as Tibetans and Uyghurs) and more or less wiped out three thousand years of Chinese culture too. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 01:50, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm disappointed that you've taken it as a job to "suggest that Tibetans have an ongoing, legitimate reason to feel aggrieved", especially on a terrorism article where your words might justify violence against civilians. You've declared an intention of advocacy, which is not the job of Wikipedia, especially if your means of advocacy is writing polemical histories refuting China's sovereignty over Tibet.
As you alluded to before, increasing religious and political rights has not decreased violence in the Tibetan experience. Human rights and other advocacy groups press for these rights regardless of their effect on terrorism, so it would be best to consult more terrorism experts and less rights groups as sources.
Regarding the Dalai Lama, he said that the self-immolators had "very strong courage", held day-long euologies for them, and blamed China's policies for their self- and peer-inflicted deaths. There are countless poignant examples of cultural destruction and assimilation in China's history; the PRC's creation of a strong homogenizing Tibetan nationalism is a stark contrast and exception to that history.
There are very practical reasons why the two ethno-nationalist groups mentioned commit terrorism, and why it works; starting not least with the money, attention, and legislative favors lavished upon them by their panda-baiting Western patrons. As Ohconfucius points out, the Tibetans do not win even a bronze in the Oppression Olympics. You should neither start nor finish your research with the conclusion that a liberal democratic China would have no trouble with terrorism or separatism.
Those Tibetans who left for the Dalai Lama's pretend government and organizations like the Tibetan Youth Congress were described as having possible terroristic intent, which we should not inflate with "terrorism". And that intent is a real possibility, since the latter group has been accused of organizing guerrilla anti-Chinese cells in India, and regularly makes extreme statements advocating the slaughter of Han people, and saying that no Chinese person in Tibet is innocent, among other gems of Buddhist compassion.
I don't think this article will ever become a good article, or even anything past a battleground article, if you aren't willing to push aside the extreme Tibetan nationalist historiography; the need to challenge every minutia favorable to the government; and the Communists-as-terrorists doublespeak. It would be a shame, because you wrote some good stuff about the Chinese cultural context, and I do see potential for this article. Shrigley (talk) 03:19, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I did not declare an intention of advocacy. I declared a need for contextualization. Providing this information does not exonerate individuals who might resort to violence. You may want to consider toning down the rhetoric, as well as the extrapolative reading of my intentions. As a personal note, I would also suggest that you acquaint yourself with some Tibetan and Uyghur exiles (the latter in particular). Doing so might disabuse you of the erroneous notion that they have profited from being associated with terrorists.Homunculus (duihua) 04:59, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

State Terrorism[edit]

An editor has deleted the section about state terror for a second time.[4] As is typical, editor has refused to discuss the reason for deletion on the talk page, but said in the edit summary that "state terror has been widely disputed." I would like to be educated about the nature of that dispute. Specifically, I'm interested to see explicit rebuttals against the scholars who have characterized campaigns under Mao as state-sanctioned terrorism. Please don't delete again without discussing this. Homunculus (duihua) 04:38, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

On its own very own article:

The Chairman of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee has stated that the twelve previous international conventions on terrorism had never referred to state terrorism, which was not an international legal concept, and that when states abuse their powers they should be judged against international conventions dealing with war crimes, international human rights and international humanitarian law, rather than against international anti-terrorism statutes. In a similar vein, Kofi Annan, at the time United Nations Secretary-General, stated that it is "time to set aside debates on so-called 'state terrorism'. The use of force by states is already regulated under international law" Annan added, "...regardless of the differences between governments on the question of definition of terrorism, what is clear and what we can all agree on is any deliberate attack on innocent civilians, regardless of one's cause, is unacceptable and fits into the definition of terrorism."

Dr. Bruce Hoffman has argued that failing to differentiate between state and non-state violence ignores the fact that there is a “fundamental qualitative difference between the two types of violence.” Hoffman argues that even in war there are rules and accepted norms of behavior that prohibit certain types of weapons and tactics and outlaw attacks on specific categories of targets. For instance, rules codified in the Geneva and Hague conventions on warfare prohibit taking civilians as hostages, outlaw reprisals against either civilians or POW’s, recognize neutral territory, etc. Hoffman states that “even the most cursory review of terrorist tactics and targets over the past quarter century reveals that terrorists have violated all these rules.” Hoffman also states that when states transgress these rules of war “the term “war crime” is used to describe such acts.

Walter Laqueur has stated that those who argue that state terrorism should be included in studies of terrorism ignore the fact that “The very existence of a state is based on its monopoly on violence. If it were different, states would not have the right, nor be in a position, to maintain that minimum of order on which all civilized life rests.” Calling the concept a “red herring” he stated: “This argument has been used by the terrorists themselves, arguing that there is no difference between their activities and those by governments and states. It has also been employed by some sympathizers, and rests on the deliberate obfuscation between all kinds of violence...”

What you're doing here is effectively editorializing and spin the article into some sort of justification of terrorism by non-state actors against the PRC government.--PCPP (talk) 04:45, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

I am aware that the article State Terrorism includes a section explaining why some parties do not consider it a legitimate form of terrorism. It also has sections representing the opposite view. The presence of a dispute over definitions does mean that this page must have no reference to state terrorism. Moreover, a definitional dispute also does not change the fact that numerous scholars have characterized these campaigns as state terror. If you can find scholars who say that campaigns under Mao were not a form of terrorism, you can add them to the article. Or, if you want, you can add a sentence in the opening paragraph of that section that concisely summarizes the perspective that state terrorism does not exist.
Also, don't speculate on my motives. I am not trying to "spin the article" into providing a justification of terrorism against the PRC government. I don't endorse terrorism or violence in any form—regardless of the provocation—but my personal views are irrelevant. My purpose here is not to praise or condemn, but to try to describe and place these events into context. Ultimately, the goal is to represent all significant viewpoints as they pertain to terrorism in the PRC, and state terror is a part of that narrative.Homunculus (duihua) 04:56, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
This article is not the place to discuss whether actions by the PRC government consitutes terrorism, and no other "Terrorism in ..." articles contain grievances about government human rights abuses. There difference here, of course, is that groups like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement has been internationally recognized as terrorist groups by both the US government and the UN, whereas whether state terrorism consitutes terrorism itself is heavily disputed. Furthermore, what you added contains a large amount of original research - Dikkoter did not actually use the term "state terrorism", others used the term "Red Terror", which is a term used to describe political repression, not terrorism.--PCPP (talk) 05:18, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I conducted no original research. I quoted what reliable secondary sources said. If you want an example of another article that discusses state terrorism, see Terrorism in Russia. Homunculus (duihua) 05:21, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes you did, none of the sources you used specifically used the term "state terrorism" to describe the political violence of the Cultural Revolution et al. Furthermore, the definition of State Terrorism, "violence by a state against its own people", can be applied to all states with poor human rights records, such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and yet their "terrorism" articles makes no mention of such. State terrorism is not a internationally recognized legal concept, simple as that.--PCPP (talk) 05:33, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Ogden says that the Cultural Revolution was "state-directed terrorism," was widely described as a campaign of "mass terror," was "state-sanctioned use of violence against civilians and property for politically motivated objectives," etc. Dikotter describes with less concision how terror was used as a policy implement, saying (among other things) "Terror and violence were the foundations of the regime. Terror, to be effective, had to be arbitrary and ruthless. It had to be widespread enough to reach everyone but did not have to claim many lives. This principle was well understood. 'Kill a chicken to scare the monkey' was a traditional saying." Many other sources describe mass terror, or "Red Terror" (which, by the way, is a term that originated with the "Reign of Terror" under Robespierre. The term "terrorism" also originated as referring to that period). I'm also curious where are you drawing your definition of state terror from? I don't think state terror is defined as "violence by a state against its own people," and that's not how the sources interpret it either. In the section that you deleted, the opening paragraph contained a disclaimer that explicitly differentiated between ordinary violence by the state and state terrorism. Anyways, I can work on other things and revisit this later. In the meantime, I'll suggest again that you read some books about campaigns under Mao (Dikotter and MacFarquhar are good places to start), and also consider reading some books on terrorism if you hope to contribute here (I recommend Louise Richardson's 'What Terrorists Want').Homunculus (duihua) 06:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't care what KMT sponsored academics like Dikkoter thinks, they're not experts on terrorism or even state terrorism. And "Red Terror", "mass terror", and "state terrorism" are not interchangeable words as you're trying to claim, considering that the Anti-Movements and Cultural Revolution are largely seen as political repression and mass movements respectively. In contrast, terrorism specialists like Hoffman and Laqueur already pointed out why "state terrorism" is not terrorism - that states have a monopoly on violence and are subject to international conventions which non-state actors are not bound by. Furthermore, UNSC Resolution 1566 defined terrorism as "criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act". You are, in fact, trying to synthesize your own definition of terrorism.--PCPP (talk) 12:10, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I did note that there was a section defining "terrorism" in this article that I already thought was out of place, and that I removed on the basis that it belonged, if anywhere, in the terrorism article. We really ought to be extremely wary of creating an alternative definition of what could be termed "terrorism with Chinese characteristics" [sic], which could be bent to say or imply that state terrorism is rife in the PRC and to also downplay terrorist acts committed on Chinese soil by those who would 'normally' be considered terrorists. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 05:49, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't have a big problem with the removal of the etymology section, though I do think it's valuable to clearly convey the extent to which this is a contested term, with definitions varying across time, among academics, and also between states and international bodies. Maybe you have some thoughts on how we can convey that effectively without a long diversion. Regarding state terrorism, I don't think any of the sources I've seen would argue that state terrorism remains rife in China (Ogden makes a point of saying otherwise; that the Cultural Revolution is over, and much has changed since. I'm sure there are segments of the population that continued to feel terrorized, but it's really not comparable).
I laughed at the "terrorism with Chinese characteristics" because that's exactly what some Chinese authorities want—their own definition of terrorism.[5] In the readings I've done researching this topic, I came to appreciate much better how and why PRC officials use the term as they do. They truly do conceive of it very differently, as is described in the section on "Chinese cultural context." Another section, most of which PCPP deleted, discussed the understanding of the "Three Evils," which I found also very illuminating. Namely, while rights groups in the West might see the granting of greater religious freedom and political autonomy to Uyghur and Tibetans as a means of reducing violent confrontation, Chinese authorities see religious freedom and political autonomy in these regions as the cause of terrorism (I'm oversimplifying of course. And if the cause of terrorism is religion and civil liberties, it holds that suppressing these things reduces terrorism. This notion is, unfortunately, confirmed by experience: terrorism was greatly reduced following strike-hard campaigns, though the causal relationship is probably not exactly as authorities imagine it). Now, I'm not saying that we must subscribe to their definition of terrorism, but we should explain the perspective of Chinese officioldom, as well as of international observers.
Finally, it's not my goal to downplay acts of terrorism committed on Chinese soil. This is a real issue, and I don't think it should be marginalized. While human rights groups argue that the government hyperbolizes the terror threat to legitimize human rights abuses, I think it's also true that they may downplay or fail to publicize some events, lest they lose legitimacy as the protector of national stability. With that said, it's important to give readers an understanding of the context and of the causes of terrorism where it does occur. I don't necessarily believe that "to understand is to forgive," but understanding is nonetheless something to be desired.Homunculus (duihua) 06:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Some suggestions[edit]

I was invited to review this article by Homunculus.

The article Definitions of terrorism explains why there is no universally agreed meaning to the term terrorism, and the section Terrorism#Pejorative use explains why the use of terrorism carries non neutral connotations. So given that there are several things that are problematic about this article.

The first is the title of the article. "Terrorism in the People's Republic of China" it implies that in the opinion of Wikipedia editors there is terrorism in the China.

The next problem is the lead. It is in clear violation of WP:TERRORISM. The best way to handle accusation of terrorism is to state what the action are and then who describes those actions as terrorism. To see a good example of this look at the lead in the al Quada article. Until recently it included the line:

  • "global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden"

It now says:

  • "global broad-based militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden"

and this change was accepted after a long debate because in the same lead the article says

"It has been designated a "terrorist organization" by the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations Security Council, ..."

So it was agreed that there was no need for Wikipedia to express the opinion that al Quada in the passive narrative voice of the article.

I suggest that the article is rewritten to completely remove the passive narrative use of the term terrorism and terrorist and always attribute it to the article. Once that is done rewrite the lead in a similar way to remove the current POV.

For example the article currently says:

Most instances of terrorism by non-state actors in contemporary China involve members of the largely Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, who are concentrated in the Northwestern province of Xinjiang. According to Suzanne Ogden, only six incidents in China from 1990 to 2005 meet the strictest definition of terrorism, meaning the use of "random" violence against innocent civilians to cause terror, and excluding calculated violence against the state to advance a secessionist movement.[5] Among these unambiguous acts of terrorism was an incident on 6 February 1992 when Muslim extremists (possibly belonging to the East Turkestan Islamic Party) detonated a bomb on a public bus in Urumqi, and a bomb attack on a hotel in Kashgar on 17 June 1992.[11] Instances of violence by ethnic Uyghurs against security forces, organs or infrastructure of the state are far more common, and are also classified as terrorism under Chinese law.

Consider rewriting it along these lines:

According to Suzanne Ogden, six incidents in China from 1990 to 2005 involved "random" violence against innocent civilians to cause terror, and excluding calculated violence against the state to advance a secessionist movement.[5] Ogden includes under this definition of terrorism an incident on 6 February 1992 when Muslim extremists (possibly belonging to the East Turkestan Islamic Party) detonated a bomb on a public bus in Urumqi, and a bomb attack on a hotel in Kashgar on 17 June 1992.[11] Instances of violence by ethnic Uyghurs against security forces, organs or infrastructure of the state are common, and are classified as terrorism under Chinese law.[citation needed] [What law? Here is an opportunity to discuss what the Chinese define as terrorism]


The above is not meant to be perfect and I have not checked [11] to see if it is an attack discussed by Suzanne Ogden but it is an attempt to give an example of how this article can be rewritten so that it contains the same information but does not editorialise about what is or is not terrorism. -- PBS (talk) 22:08, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for taking the time to give feedback. I'll go through the article again with this in mind. In a little while, I may solicit your opinion again to reevaluate for compliance with WP:TERRORISM. Homunculus (duihua) 22:22, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


An account of recent changes?[edit]

A number of rather significant changes were made to the article quite recently[6]. I have not yet reviewed these thoroughly, and since some appear constructive, I did not revert. However, I have some objections to register, and hope for a cogent response:

  • Editor added a lead paragraph to the section on ethnic separatism in Xinjiang elaborating on the role of Soviets in the first independent Uyghur state during the Sino-Soviet split. I fail to see how role of the soviet union is germane to contemporary ethnic separatism in the region. Presumably the Uyghurs accepted assistance from Soviets because they were the only other power in the region willing to offer help. I just don't see why this is of central relevance in explaining contemporary issues related to terrorism. Do the sources draw that connection?
  • Editor moved the more relevant discussions down into a second paragraph, and qualified nearly every sentence—including those that are widely accepted facts, supported by multiple references—as coming from Suzanne Ogden alone. Did this in other sections too, like background on Tibet. Basic, commonly accepted historical facts are all now “according to Ogden.” Not helpful. Did the same thing with Chien-peng Chung in the section on counter-terrorism.
  • Editor deleted mention of repression in Tibet, assimilation policies or radical social and economic reforms. This is highly germane—insofar as there is Tibetan violence and resistance, these are identified as the leading causes.
  • Editor added paragraph on a CIA-trained Tibetan paramilitary group operating in the 50s and 60s, but provided no evidence of how this is linked to contemporary terrorism. How is it relevant?
  • In the list of terrorist incidents and alleged incidents, editor stripped out the source of information (eg. state-run media). When discussing allegations of terrorism, the source of the claim and the label is important. This is all the more so in light of the fact that international observers have expressed serious concerns about the veracity of government reports and the lack of independent corroboration available.
  • When discussing the monitoring of Uyghurs returning from Madrassas, editor added that the schools are “perceived as hotbeds of religious extremism and anti-Western sentiments.” The source provided, ironically, is a critique of simplistic narrative on terrorism, pointing out that Madrassas are just Islamic schools, and that the majority do not promote radical Islam. Either way, the source says nothing about China, and Uyghurs aren’t part of a radical Islamic movement anyway. This is original synthesis.
  • Editor deleted image showing the results of investment in Urumqi, saying it wasn’t relevant. I say it is—the sources describe economic development and investment as one aspect of counter-terrorism efforts, and the image illustrates that.

I think that's all, but I may have missed some things. Homunculus (duihua) 01:09, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

No answer. I'm going to fix these issues then. If there are objections, talk. Homunculus (duihua) 16:24, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The Soviet Union reference is important historical background, and your personal opinions on the matter does not change the facts that Soviets has been linked with the region since the founding of the short lived Soviet Republic in Xinjiang which the PRC later took over.
  • Ogden's and one other person's views alone does not make her opinions fact, and in fact you deleted sourced material from Van Wie Davis [7] which challenged Ogden's claims, and noted that some Uyghurs favor assimilation with China, while that there is no one single Uyghur agenda.
  • The Tibetan guerrilla section does a good job in highlighting historical background, as well as attempts at armed resistance by Tibetans and foreign influnces by the CIA. What you're attempting to do is trying to divert attention away from terrorism and placing blame solely on the Chinese government. Economic development has little to do with terrorism, and issues with it does not justify terrorism al all.
  • The moniker of "state-run media" has been overused in the lists section, and there is little need to highlight every Chinese-derived report as being from a monolithic "state-run media". The opening section already noted the facts about there source.
  • "Uyghurs aren’t part of a radical Islamic movement anyway." And neither are Afghans nor Saudis as a whole people. This does not change the fact groups pursing Uyghur independece such as ETIM were caught training with al-Qaeda and released videos calling for attacks against China.
  • Again, economic development has little to do with terrorism, and it's not the focus of this article either. The Chinese government do not do development for the sole purpose of countering terrorism.--PCPP (talk) 13:39, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Please explain what the sino-soviet split has to do with Uyghur sentiments or contemporary terrorism. Better, provide a reliable source that does so.
  • Facts and opinions are different. I cited her in text for statements of opinion. Statements of fact that are supported by multiple reliable sources don't need to be attributed as the opinion of Suzanne Ogden. I did not delete the reference to Van Wie Davis that there is no single Uyghur agends - it's still there. I did delete your statement that some Uyghurs favor assimilation because that was not supported by the source. Maybe you used the wrong reference.
  • Don't speculate on my motives. Show a reliable source that conducts this synthesis, demonstrating that the CIA is linked to terrorism (not armed resistance, that's a different topic)
  • My interpretation of PBS's suggestion above is that the source of the claim of terrorism needs to be clear. I think it needs to be made clear in each instance. The fact that these allegations arise from the state is significant to understanding them.
  • All the books I've read make the point that Uyghur separatism is not connected to the global radical Islamic movement. What some individuals may or may not have done does not negate that. You conducted original synthesis. That's all there is to it.
There is Chinese apprehension, even in the absence of any evidence of contact between Uyghur separatists and the radical Islamic movement, see http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/09/world/asia/china-signals-interest-in-afghanistan-after-nato-leaves.html A few Uyghurs did end up in Guantanamo; they were not considered particularly dangerous, at least to the United States. “The official line is that the Uighurs get terrorist training in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”User:Fred Bauder Talk 16:06, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes, the Uyghurs in Guantanamo will need to be written up somewhere, maybe the section on international cooperation. The original synthesis I'm referring to was that the editor added a note that Madrassa schools are 'hotbeds of Islamic extremism' (see corresponding bullet in my opening post). Homunculus (duihua) 16:22, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
There are sources for that opinion. All they do in the worse ones is learn to read the Koran and interpret it in a literal way. User:Fred Bauder Talk 16:29, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Certainly, and I imagine that discussions of those opinions are found in the article about Madrasahs. Here's the context. In the section on counterterrorism, editor added the bolded sentence:
In 1997, a "strike hard" campaign began in Tibet and Xinjiang involving in tightly controlling religious activities and festivals. In Tibet, authorities sought to curtail the influence of the Dalai Lama by banning all displays of his image, and in 1995, authorities replaced his choice of the number two Panchen Lama with a Beijing-approved candidate.[1] In Xinjiang, authorities placed restrictions on unofficial religious practices, and closely monitored Muslims returning from madrasah schools overseas.[1] Following the September 11 attacks, such schools were perceived as hotbeds of religious extremism and anti-Western sentiments.
The sourced used was this article[8], which makes no mention of China, no mention of Uyghurs, and which actually disputes the characterization of the schools as "hotbeds of extremism." This seems to me to be a clear example of original synthesis. All the more because Uyghurs are not part of an anti-Western, global islamic movement. I think it would be perfectly acceptable if we had a source stating that the government of the PRC considers Madrasahs to be terrorism training camps (or whatever), but the current presentation seems to be synthesis. Does that make sense? Homunculus (duihua) 16:59, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Dead link now. This is not an area the Chinese are expert on. User:Fred Bauder Talk 17:14, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Shoot. In any case, I can try to find a source somewhat articulating the PRC's position on Madrasahs, if one can be found. Homunculus (duihua) 17:33, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Studies has in fact noted the role of radical Islam in influencing Uyghur separatist groups [9] At the same time also, as the restrictions on religious education in Xinjiang were being strengthened, many young Uyghurs went abroad. Through connections established during the 1980s or through family links on the spot, these young people—and also Uyghurs in the Diaspora—took religious courses in the Koranic schools sometimes attached to Islamist movements ... Nevertheless, some of them did indeed follow programmes in fundamentalist Koranic schools in Pakistan, and were even in contact with various local Islamist movements (Jamaat-e Islami, Jamaat al-Tabligh...). Through these connections, some Uyghurs took part in military operations. It seems that the Hizb ul-Mujahidin and the Salafist Jihadist movement Lashkar-e Taiba in particular enrolled a handful of Uyghurs in the Kashmir conflict--PCPP (talk) 15:26, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
That's a good source. I'll have to read the other chapters linked when I have some time.Homunculus (duihua) 04:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I suggest you read some of the sources. Economic development is described in reliable sources as one facet of a broad counter-terrorism strategy (or course that's not its only purpose). Homunculus (duihua) 14:20, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Again like I said, historical background info is important, or do you only want to add ones that suits your POV in trying to portray the Uyghurs as victims? And you're the one who need reliable sources for the claim "Presumably the Uyghurs accepted assistance from Soviets because they were the only other power in the region willing to offer help"
  • Trying to contain the entire opinions of the Uyghur people as either "favoring independence" or "favoring autonomy" is ridiculous. And you should stop trying to misinterprete your edits, since you clearly removed Van Der Weiss's source in your June 5 edit [10] (second paragraph).
  • CIA's role in supporting paramilitary organizations and covert regime change actions has been documented by numerous scholars such as Chomsky "The Washington connection and third world fascism". And as I said, the Chushi Gangdruk mention highlights examples of Tibetan armed resistance. Unless you can demonstrate how the Tibetan uprising in 1959 is entirely related to contemporary terrorism, then the mention stays.
  • Like I said, the very fact that these reports largely derive from Chinese media and weren't collaborated by third parties were already mentioned in the opening paragraph. Adding the phrase "state-run media" to every sentence suffers from repetition and is not constructive in creating an encyclopedic article.
  • "All the books I've read" Care to note them? And for an extraordinary claim like that requires more citation that a few scholars you mention. Other scholars has in fact noted the influence of radical Islam amongst Uyghur separatist groups since the 1980's.[11]
  • Last time I checked, this article is about "terrorism" in the PRC, not "economic development" in the PRC. Such developments is not, and should not, be the main focus of the article. --PCPP (talk) 15:17, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
PRC sourcing

I disagree with some of the changes shown in this diff [12] because I think transparency in sourcing is important, and the reader should be clear that they are reading official accounts of things--in the text. These accounts should not be represented as plain facts, but as facts according to Xinhua, or other state media. Does anyone else disagree, and think that readers should be expected to check the reference, and that the sources not be mentioned in the text? The Sound and the Fury (talk) 18:01, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

I was the one who added the source of the statements. I've already stated the reasons why I believe it's important to note the origin of these claims. Were it not the case that international observers have expressed concerns about the veracity of Chinese media reporting on this topic, the qualifiers wouldn't be necessary. However, I can concede that there is a painful monotony to the repeated use of "state-run media." Perhaps we could employ some synonymous terms, like "official Chinese media," or something. Homunculus (duihua) 18:23, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm not concerned about the particular signal terms used, but I think it is important that the source be mentioned. If no one dissents I will add them back in. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 19:07, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I think we should probably depend on the reader to supply their own understanding of the bias of official Chinese media rather than repeating it over and over. A simple statement in the lead should serve. User:Fred Bauder Talk 19:46, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Does all information in the article come from official media? If so then I think that solution would be adequate (though the article as a whole would then fail NPOV). But if some information comes from reliable sources, and some comes from official sources, how will the reader know, when reading through the article, the nature of the information they are reading if it is not pointed out in each case? The Sound and the Fury (talk) 20:02, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
Coverage by external media is important. That can be seen in the Self-immolation in China incidents. Chinese coverage will try to offer some explanation such as terrorism for incidents where a matter cannot be hidden or denied. User:Fred Bauder Talk 20:56, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
In the 'list of incidents,' I believe all these events have been reported on by reliable sources. In some cases reliable sources have somehow been able to obtain corroboration, and report these as fact. However, in many instances (particularly the spate of violence around 2008), reliable sources wrote only that Chinese media or Chinese authorities claimed x, without endorsing or verifying these claims themselves. In a couple instances, there appeared to have been conflicting reports between official media and outside (western) media. My understand from PBS's post in the thread above is that the source of the "terrorism" label should always be made clear, and I think I extrapolated that to conclude that the source of unverified details should also be clear in each case. But maybe it's not always necessary. Any further thoughts (especially on individual cases) would be appreciated. Homunculus (duihua) 21:31, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Another question: PCPP, what is this Elizabeth Van Wie Davis source? Is it a conference paper? It's not clear. The author appears to be a professor at a mining school specializing in energy issues. I'm asking because of the statement that members of the Hui ethnic group regard Uyghurs as separatists giving Muslims a bad name. Van Wei Davis appears to have taken this phrasing from this New York Times article[13], which she cites. It might be better to simply cite the Times in this case (though I would prefer a scholarly source that gives a little more nuance; surely not all Hui think this way). Homunculus (duihua) 21:50, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

  • I put back in the references to state channels. This is sensitive material subject to political manipulation and propaganda, and it is important for the reader to be aware that these are state reports. There is no reason to obscure this information. Some Uighur groups have disputed the nature of certain incidents (e.g. they might argue that what state-media said was a bombing was actually a crackdown on a protest), and very often it is only state-run media that are the source of certain claims. Much of this information cannot be independently verified by reliable sources, because access is disallowed and for other reasons. Under that circumstance, it is vital to note the information source being used. When Reuters and NYT report on these matters, they very often also say "state media reported" or other language. It would be extremely lax of us not to be as judicious. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 22:21, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
I suggest that Homonculus should stop trying to attempt to discredit sources that he dislikes just because Ms Van Der Weiss is a "professor at a mining school", when in fact she has taught international studies at John Hopkins as well as several other institutes. The paper comes from APCSS, a study center under the US Dept of Defence, something that is far more relevant on terrorism in China than someone who teaches Tibetan studies.--PCPP (talk) 15:35, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
I think you should assume good faith, rather than assuming a) that I'm trying to discredit anyone, or b) that I dislike anyone. I just asked a question and pointed out a potential problem with the sourcing. An adequate response would have been something to the effect of "I'm sorry it wasn't clear. The paper was published under the APCSS, a study center under the U.S. Dept of Defence. The author's full CV can be seen here. She has published several books and articles related to the topic." Just an illustration. Homunculus (duihua) 15:57, 10 June 2012 (UTC)


PCPP can you please explain your insistence on removing the fact that the information came from Chinese state media? Why do you think this information does not belong in the article? The Sound and the Fury (talk) 18:50, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
He didn't remove it all this time. He replaced it in a couple instances with "Chinese media" or simply with "Xinhua." I think intelligent readers will know enough by this point to recognize that these are references to state-run media (one of my problems, I realize, is that I tend to underestimate the intelligence of readers). It's probably okay now.Homunculus (duihua) 18:54, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
I think the rule of thumb is simple, and it is not related to a judgement of the intelligence of our readers: if information is coming from a Chinese state source, say so. It's very simple. This rule is generally followed by all major news agencies, and for a very good reason. If something turns out to be made-up later on, they're not responsible because they're simply transmitting the state reports. In particular when some events are so deeply disputed, it is simply irresponsible not to note that state reports are being referred to for the news. I don't the reason not to include this. The Sound and the Fury (talk) 19:12, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, in the case of Xinhua, as long as it's made clear that Xinhua is a state-run source representing the views of the Chinese government, I think it's fine that we don't remind readers of that affiliation on every subsequent mention.Homunculus (duihua) 04:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Classified[edit]

Information about actual incidents should be classified as most political and social science information in China is. We would only have information if an external organization has it or it is released by China in answer to external coverage or to make a point. In other words, we have no access to neutral Chinese information, only to biased information they chose to release, or distort. User:Fred Bauder Talk 19:46, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

What do you think the implications are for us in the presentation of information? Anything we might be mindful of? Homunculus (duihua) 15:57, 10 June 2012 (UTC)
The modesty of our efforts needs to mirror the paucity of our information. User:Fred Bauder Talk 16:23, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Looking at the page now, do you have any thoughts on where it needs to be expanded / improved / made more nuanced? There are a couple things on my list, but would appreciate feedback on the general direction. My next step is to expand section on counter-terrorism efforts. For domestic terrorism, this should include more present-day information, as well as perhaps a subsection noting the human rights concerns that the policies have engendered. For international cooperation, need to add information on cooperation with the UN, United States, and an account of the Uyghurs who were sent to Guantanamo. Homunculus (duihua) 18:01, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Chinese behavior in Tibet[edit]

This edit has removed inappropriate language from a biased source; however, it has also removed even a summary of the conditions in Tibet prior to the reforms instituted after Hu Yaobang's visit in 1980; he is said to have wept openly upon hearing Tibetan grievances. User:Fred Bauder Talk 09:30, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Any suggestions on what we might do instead? This is important content to include in some form, as it is one of—if not the—main sources of Tibetan grievances against Chinese rule. Moreover, as the HRW source notes, the policies during the Maoist era had the effect of strengthening Tibetan group identity, which is an important part of the narrative of the Tibetan independence movement (and, insofar as it exists, Tibetan terrorism). There may be better ways to approach this, but could you clarify what language you felt was inappropriate? The content of the quoted material is evocative, though I'm not sure it's possible to describe what occurred in Tibet in this period in more sanitized terms. I'm not sure that more conventional scholarly sources would be any more staid, though I could look for something.
As an aside, senior researchers for groups like HRW generally have rather impressive academic pedigrees. Mickey Spiegel, who wrote this report, holds an MA in anthropology from Columbia University, and has published and co-edited books and the like with some very reputable presses. Her orientation is around human rights issues, of course, but the publication is nonetheless a reliable source. Homunculus (duihua) 17:26, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
It says 'Tibetans experienced "psychological humiliation, loss of livelihood, decimation of religious institutions, inhumane prison conditions, wholesale slaughter, starvation, and execution of family members in the 1950s."'. This is way over the top. The quotation is biased on its face. It doesn't matter where it was published or who wrote it. "Wholesale slaughter" is particularly unfounded and would require documentation. "Inhumane prison conditions" is a bad joke to anyone familiar with Tibetan prisons, and punishments, before occupation. User:Fred Bauder Talk 17:50, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
The main grievance was occupation and removal from power and privilege of the aristocracy and the religious establishment. For most ordinary people replacement of religion as the focus of their lives was wrenching, and remains so. The Chinese being there and taking control was an outrage to nearly all Tibetans from the Dalai Lama to the lowest freed serf or prisoner; adding exaggerated grievances is not necessary. User:Fred Bauder Talk 18:01, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Would you like to try your hand at rewriting this information on the page? Homunculus (duihua) 18:05, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
When and if I can find a good source; the basis point is valid, the language is just exaggerated. I might have one, I have Goldstein's books, but it is probably buried. User:Fred Bauder Talk 19:09, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Alright, sounds good. As an addendum, when we're discussing the source of Tibetan grievances in the Maoist era, we ought not neglect the role of the GLP and Cultural Revolution in exacerbating resentment.Homunculus (duihua) 19:17, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Edits look good to me.Homunculus (duihua) 16:54, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

A Qaeda links[edit]

I added a request for citation for the statement "The group [ETIM] has a close relation with al-Qaeda and Taliban," but was reverted. I see now that one of the sources cited earlier in that paragraph, MSNBC, does say this[14]. However, I'm wondering if we could get more clarity on this point, as most of the sources I've read don't make such categorical affirmative statements. My understanding is that the Chinese government asserts this connection, but that there is little definitive proof. Here is what I've found in reports:

  • "Occasional reports have surfaced of Uighur separatists operating with the Al-Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Chechens, and other groups in Central Asia that use violence to pursue their aims, and even an IMU cell established in Xinjiang, but there has so far been no concrete proof."[2]
  • "in January 2002 the State Council published an ambiguous report laying stress on the supposed links between al-Qaeda and the Uyghur opposition grouped under the falsely unifying label of Dongtu. In fact, there is no structure that controls all the Uyghur movements in Xinjiang and abroad; and the vast majority of them have no connection, either ideological or organisational, with radical Islam. Yet, by stressing the supposed links of the Party of Allah and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) with al-Qaeda, this report tends to lump together disparate elements of this kind. According to the thesis proposed by the State Council, members of these groups received training in Afghanistan. The leaders of the ETIM (a group that until then was almost unknown) are alleged to have met bin Laden at the start of 1999 and in February 2001; and he is alleged to have agreed to provide them with “fabulous sums”. It is possible that these movements, and particularly the ETIM, might have had contacts with the bin Laden network and more probably with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. But the Chinese declarations that attempt to show particularly close relationships fly in the face of bin Laden’s silence on East Turkistan. For his part, the leader of the ETIM, Hasan Mahsum, assured Radio Free Asia on January 22nd 2002 that his ultimate aim was the liberation of Xinjiang; and he denied any organic link with al-Qaeda. Even so, the Chinese lobbying did bear fruit. It enabled China to persuade the US government, at the end of August 2002, and then the UN Security Council to include on the list of groupings linked to al-Qaeda the East Turkistan Islamic Movement"[3]
  • ""Two groups added to China's list of enemy groups are the World Uyghur Youth Congress (WUYC) and the East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC). China's Public Security Ministry claims that these groups have ties to al Qaeda, including funding and contacts. The former is an exile-political-action group, the latter issues press releases from Munich and has a spokesman who frequently appears in media reporting (the ETIC's website is www.uyghur.org.) The veracity of China's claimed al Qaeda links are not possible for the present study to authenticate, though it seems at least equally plausible that blanket accusations are meant to smother embarrassing dissent."[4]

I think we need a more even-handed approach when describing the alleged links to al Qaeda. Homunculus (duihua) 18:55, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

The Chinese government is not a reliable source with respect to this issue. User:Fred Bauder Talk 19:24, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Anti-Tibetan POV[edit]

This article has an anti-Tibetan POV. Comparing Tibetan resistance with bombings in Xinjiang is complete nonsense. Despite Chinese hatred of the Tibetans, the Chinese government hasn't even officially listed any Tibetan organizations as terrorist! No one outside of China's propaganda offices takes the claims of terrorism seriously.--JeremyMiller (talk) 05:12, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

We do need to be very careful about characterizing one group, or even a particular incident, as being of the nature of terrorism (see this thread for useful guidelines on how ought to handle this). Tibet is described in the article because a) It is discussed in a number of scholarly articles, even when the discussion consists largely of explanations of why instances of terrorism in Tibet are comparatively rare; b) There have been at least one instance of apparent terrorism in Tibet (and possibly more, though I have my own doubts about the Chinese government accounts); c) The Chinese government quite regularly imputes terrorist traits or motives to Tibetan dissidents. In light of this, are you suggesting that the article should make no mention of terrorism or alleged terrorism in connection with the Tibetan independence movement? Or is it just that the issue needs to be explained and contextualized more clearly? If the latter, do you have any suggestions on how to achieve that? By the way, I don't have super strong feelings, as long as the article serves the reader and illustrates the relevant dynamics as well as possible.Homunculus (duihua) 22:50, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
As of August 15, 2012, I am not seeing an anti-Tibetan POV in the Tibet section of this article. Geraldshields11 (talk) 17:39, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I think that "terrorism" in Tibet and Xinjiang need to be contextualized separately. Claims of Uyghur terrorism are, to a degree, acknowledged by the international community (whether or not this is ethnic separatism or "Islamic terrorism" as the PRC regime claims is up for debate), but claims of Tibetan terrorism are restricted to PRC propagandists. The way the current article is written, it implies that terrorism in Xinjiang and Tibet are of equal significance and weight, which is undue. There has only been one incident of so-called "Tibetan terrorism" and even that incident is controversial. My suggestion is to reduce the size of the section on Tibet, and include it in a separate section titled "Other regions", which will also include incidents of Han Chinese terrorism.--JeremyMiller (talk) 07:44, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I also have an issue with heading above Xinjiang. It implies that terrorism in Xinjiang is strictly related to ethnic separatism, when the reality, as explained by the sources, is that Xinjiang incidents are motivated by a variety of ideologies, including Uyghur nationalism, pan-Turkism, and Islam. There is no unified Uyghur ideology in Xinjiang, and different segments of Uyghur society are motivated by different ideologies. Some Uyghurs only demand autonomy, others demand government respect for their religious and political rights, to say that all of this is "ethnic separatism" is to blindly accept the PRC's line.--JeremyMiller (talk) 07:45, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I think these are fair points. Some thoughts:
  • Tibet and Xinjiang do need to be contextualized separately. The current article structure does address them as separate issues, but puts both under the heading of ethnic separatism. I think you raise a valid point that this section title is inadequate and potentially misleading.
  • As to the idea of putting information on Tibet in an 'other areas' section, I'd have one idea. Perhaps we could change "ethnic separatism" to..."Ethnic minorities" or "Autonomous regions," or something. Under that first-level heading, we could have Xinjiang and "other areas," the latter of which could include both Tibet and Inner Mongolia. I think sub-headings would still be needed; the issues in Tibet are not the same as those in Inner Mongolia, of course. As to other areas in China, I had been meaning for a while to add a section on Han terrorism. What do you think?
  • I can understand your concern about giving structural undue weight to Tibet. I am generally a proponent of giving more explanation and context when dealing with disputed topics like this, but it can be too much. I don't have a solution to offer here.
  • There are two events listed on this page of (alleged) terrorism tied to Tibet. It is my impression from the scholarly literature that the event in Lhasa in 1996 is quite widely recognized as being more than just CCP propaganda. A lot of scholarly articles do discuss the issue of Tibetan "terrorism", and from what I've seen they generally don't dispute the basic facts of that event (I could do more research though). The 2002 incident in Chengdu is more shady in terms of Tibetan culpability. Anyways, I don't think we can say that terrorism in Tibet is purely a rhetorical concoction by the government.
  • Speaking more broadly, the CCP defines terrorism in its own terms. Its definition is strange and excessively broad and inconsistently applied. But the fact remains that the CCP regularly imputes terrorist motives to a variety of actions in Tibet, and that this receives a fair bit of (sometimes mocking, derisive) attention internationally. Whether it be the act of leaving the country without permission, or demonstrating against the government, or whatever—the party calls these things terrorist acts. International observers and human rights groups criticize them for doing so, and the article should make that clear. The dilemma I'm facing is this: how can be adequately explain this issue (it takes a lot of words) without giving undue weight to the topic? I'm not sure. Homunculus (duihua) 16:41, 28 August 2012 (UTC)