The Obama administration's decision to categorize the deadly attacks at a market in Urumqi as "terrorism" validated the views of Chinese bloggers, but may have deepened local fears.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing originally labeled the attacks, which killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more, as "violent": The failure to use the word "terrorism" angered Chinese netizens on popular microblogging platform Weibo.
While most posts online using the keywords “Urumqi” or “Urumqi explosion” are being blocked by Chinese censors, that didn't stop conversation about the new, escalated vernacular.
“The change of attitude by the White House to support the severity of the terrorist situation has been overdue,” another user wrote. “We now need a united front on terrorism.”
“So if the U.S. is now agreeing I guess that this really means we’re living in a period of domestic terrorism,” one blogger wrote. “More than fighting over the appropriate word to use, we need to stop the violence.”
"Great, we agree it's terrorism. Now, how do we stop it?"
Terrorism is a sensitive subject for China, a nation that historically has been walled off from such threats.
Beijing has dubbed most violence in Urumqi, and other parts of Western China, by Uyghur separatists as acts of terrorism, though links to terrorist organizations have in some cases been unconfirmed or not specified. The recent attacks have brought home to China the kind of fears that many countries have struggled with for decades.