By Li Wei
The United Nations (UN) Office of Counter-Terrorism recently launched a series of activities during the 2020 Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week, held from July 6 to 10.
During the event, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the international community to work together, keep up the momentum in the fight against terrorism and harness the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions to combating terrorism.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the international society, terrorist activities across the globe have been effectively curbed.
Iraq and Syria have reclaimed many towns and areas that were once occupied and controlled by the Islamic State (IS), and member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have made great progress in counter-terrorism and greatly contained regional terrorist activities. Besides, results have also been achieved in international counter-terrorism cooperation.
However, it should be noted that terrorist activities still pose a major threat to the world. The IS hasn’t been wiped out and many supporters of it in Iraq and Syria are still a huge risk and serious danger, and the continuously expanding Al-Qaeda organization is particularly active in Syria, Yemen, North Africa, East Africa and South Asia.
Meanwhile, some terrorist organizations in the name of secession have become an increasing hazard to the security, stability and development of certain countries and ultranationalism-driven terrorist activities have significantly increased along with the emergence of populism.
Even worse, Internet further encouraged the spread of global terrorism. For starters, Internet has served as a platform and tool for terrorist organizations to pass on methods of terrorist attacks, recruit new members and raise funds.
By spreading extremism on the Internet, terrorist organizations have given rise to many lone-wolf terrorist attacks.
It is more than likely that terrorists will target at the Internet, a platform more and more indispensable in the modern society, to cause more serious harm and panic. The international society should also stay alert to the emerging terrorist attacks of mass destruction.
The major cause of the rampant international terrorism lies in the widespread extremism. It is in the name of religion, racialism or blatant “white supremacy” that many terrorist organizations have gained a foothold.
In essence, terrorism means to seek political interests for a minority of people by employing extreme violence. It takes advantage of contradictions, problems, and conflicts concerning politics, economy, society, religion and nationalities from the past and present to incite hatred and attract supporters and followers.
Although international anti-terrorism cooperation has advanced continuously, major issues hindering its development still remains.
Western countries such as the U.S. only target at terrorism that has threatened their own countries and employ double standards in counter-terrorism, which has greatly hampered international cooperation in the field.
Still, some countries aim to seek political interests through terrorist activities, which has encouraged terrorism.
Combating terrorism simply through military action tend to backfire and bring about more contradictions and conflicts that may stimulate terrorism.
Besides, international anti-terrorism cooperation hasn’t been complemented by fighting and containing extremism, which makes it less effective.
Terrorism is a common enemy of all mankind and fighting against it is a common responsibility of all countries.
The international society needs to maintain the momentum in the fight against terrorism as well as keep a close eye on the trend of terrorism.
It is necessary to promote multilateralism and support the leadership of the UN in international counter-terrorism. Efforts should be made to achieve economic and social development by facilitating employment and education, in a bid to eliminate the root cause of terrorism.
China has made remarkable achievements in fighting against terrorism and extremism, which sets an example to other countries. It has been engaged in promoting the building of a community of shared future for mankind, where people around the world, regardless of their races, nationalities, religions and cultures, share weal and woe, which will truly help eliminate terrorism.
The country has also proposed the Belt and Road Initiative and a path of common development and prosperity, which will fundamentally narrow the divide between the rich and poor and thus remove the causes of terrorism.
(The author is a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations)