China urges villagers: Give militants a bad stare and have a club

September 3, 2014

Chinese villagers

Police wearing sashes hold placards during a ceremony to award those who the authorities say participated in "the crackdown of violence and terrorists activities" in Hotan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region earlier this month. —Reuters

XINJIANG, China

Don’t discount the power of a frown or a pitchfork and a club.

In China, these are the Communist Party’s latest weapons to combat terrorism.

Party officials have instructed residents to “give an angry stare” to as a way to strike fear on terrorists planning to launch attacks in China, The Telegraph reports.

The instructions were addressed to residents of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, a predominantly Muslim area where the government has implemented a security crackdown.

Chinese authorities believe that Xinjiang is a hotbed of Islamist extremism with the government blaming terror attacks on civilians in different parts of the country on Islamist suspects from the region.

Xinjiang has seen ethnic tensions brewing over the past two years as Beijing implemented security restrictions on the region's Uighur ethnic minority, most of whom are Muslims.

China got so frustrated with the spate of attacks in the capital that its officials launched a “people’s war” against terrorists.

Government-run newspapers have consistently published stories on groups conducting anti-terrorism drills in the region.

Telling residents at a town that used to be part of the ancient Silk Road trade route, officials suggested using “six super weapons” that could prevent extremists from staging attacks in the area.

Conventional weapons included in the list were clubs, pitchforks and spades to combat rebels, said officials.

A nonviolent way of attacking extremists, officials recommended, was using “mental attacks” like giving them a stare.

A photo, which came with the advisory, showed villagers staring in bemusement rather than with malice.

The “stern look” strategy gathered a four out of six star rating in the advisory, while the wooden club got a perfect six score. Officials described the club as a must in every villager’s home.