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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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