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Moderation trumps prejudice

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-08 08:42

Moderation trumps prejudice

Pang Li/China Daily

Moderation trumps prejudice

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Moderation trumps prejudice

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Moderation trumps prejudice

Honor the past, live in the present 

Amid the shock and anger arising from the Kunming terrorist attack comes a new voice of rationality, a grassroots effort to separate the terrorists from the masses who reside in Xinjiang.

Every cloud has a silver lining. If the terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station on March 1 was a dense, ominous cloud, the subsequent outpouring of rational comment can be seen as the silver lining that will help dispel the gloom.

Other than expressions of grief, I noticed on my micro blog a repeated warning not to equate what the terrorists did with race, religion or geography. Han Han, an influential writer, posted a typical remark: "There is no room for compromises when dealing with terrorism that targets ordinary citizens. It must be rooted out. But we should not place hatred on race or religion. Do good, not evil."

A blogger with the handle "As if in New York" wrote: "Do not develop your hatred for the terrorists into fear and loathing for a whole ethnicity. You'd be playing into the hands of the terrorists. Do no twist your effort to counter violence into discrimination and hostility for a whole race. This is exactly what the terrorists wanted."

I was quite relieved that, in the heat of the moment, so many voices of reason emerged and placed the horror in context. Li Duoyu, an acquaintance of mine who is editor-in-chief of Mtime.com, China's largest movie portal, was the first on my list to suggest that Xinjiang not be used as an identifier for the attackers.

"To call them Xinjiang terrorists would be unfair to all those who reside there," she wrote. Li could be one of many who made that suggestion, which was echoed by a government blog from Kashgar, a Xinjiang city: "Most people in Xinjiang have nothing to do with those who resort to violence. Please do not denigrate the word Xinjiang."

I cannot gauge the scale of the triumph of the moderates. Those I subscribe to on my micro blog and those they retweeted may or may not be a representative sample of the whole nation. But in the very least there are so many opinion leaders calling for calm and sounding alarms against a racial divide. I consider this a giant leap forward from the old days when an egregious crime invariably begot the massive response that "People in that province are like that".

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