News / Asia

China Blames Terrorists for Deadly Train Station Knife Attack

Passengers wait in front of a broken propaganda poster featuring
Passengers wait in front of a broken propaganda poster featuring "the China Dream" outside the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming, in western China's Yunnan province, March 2, 2014.
William Ide
Chinese authorities say separatist terrorists carried out a violent and bloody attack at a train station late Saturday night in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province. The attack left at least 33 dead and more than 130 injured.
 
Kunming, Yunnan province, ChinaKunming, Yunnan province, China
x
Kunming, Yunnan province, China
Kunming, Yunnan province, China
According to eyewitness accounts posted online and in state-run media, more than 10 assailants dressed in black and carrying long fruit knives randomly slashed and hacked travelers in the station.
 
The carnage began inside, near the train station's ticket counters, and then spilled out onto the main square in front of the station. State media say four of the assailants were shot dead and one, a female, was taken into police custody. Others are still on the run.

Although authorities have given little detail so far, they say there is ample evidence that shows the attack was carried out by separatists from China's restive western Xinjiang region.

Calls to End 'Terrorism'
 
Chinese state media have dubbed the incident China's 9-11 a reference to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.  In an opinion piece, the state-run Xinhua news agency argued that terrorists should be punished with an iron fist and warned that nationwide outrage had been stirred.
 
The piece also noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent decision to establish a state security committee was both timely and necessary. Very little is known about the new body, which is expected to focus on domestic security among other things.
 
President Xi has called on authorities to stop what he calls the rampant momentum of terrorists. The attack in Kunming is the second in less than six months that authorities say has been carried by separatists from Xinjiang.
 
Last October, authorities blamed Muslim Uighur separatists for driving a jeep onto the doorstep of the Forbidden City in Beijing. That incident, which authorities also called a terrorist attack, killed five people and injured dozens of others.
 
The attack in Kunming comes just as China's lawmakers and top political advisors begin holding annual meetings in Beijing. In response, some are calling on the government to launch a harsh nation-wide crackdown in response.
 
China's Xinhua news agency quotes Yin Zhuo, the head of an expert panel that consults for the Chinese navy as one of those in support of such a plan.
 
"The well-planned attack was not an issue of ethnics or religion, it was an issue of terrorism with links to the terrorist forces out of the country," Yin told Xinhua.
 
Beijing has long blamed much of Xinjiang's unrest on what it calls Uighur terrorists affiliated with the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement. China says its members are trained in foreign countries.
 
Some analysts say that China exaggerates foreign involvement in the unrest and that government policies in Xinjiang and ethnic tensions are the source of the problem.

Chinese Take to Social Media to Comment on Attack
 
On social media sites reaction to the attack ranged from outrage to concern and sadness.
 
Many posted candle icons and wrote 'pray for Kunming' or expressed their solidarity with the city saying "we are all from Kunming." Kunming is popular with foreigners and is a cultural melting pot of China's rich variety of ethnic groups.
 
Some voiced concern that the bloody attacks would further stoke ethnic tensions between China's majority Han population and Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang and urged others to not blame all Uighurs for the attack. Others said the attack would only heighten their distrust of the minority group.
 
In one posting, a Weibo user by the name of Chen Yingsong (陈应松) argued that the complaints Uighurs have are not with the Han ethnic group but are more of a struggle with a few of China's Han ruling elite. He noted that those who were forced from their homes when the Three Gorges Dam was built were no different.  That post was later removed.
 
The government has not yet released any details about the ethnicity of the attackers, but the fact that were allegedly from Xinjiang raises the possibility that the government could blame separatist Muslim Uighurs for the attack as they have done in the past.
 
Well known Chinese journalist Luo Changping (罗昌平) posted a message online saying a fellow journalist friend who shared his feelings about the attack with him remarked that every time something like this happens, the Chinese government "never lets you know what happened."
 
 "It only lets you blindly hate, live in fear and ignorance and die without ever understanding anything," the post said.  The post was removed from Weibo along with other posts that raised questions about the attack.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More