News / Asia

China Says Terrorist Blast in Xinjiang Kills 31

Police vehicles of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team are seen after a blast occurred, on a road in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, May 22, 2014.
Police vehicles of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team are seen after a blast occurred, on a road in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, May 22, 2014.
William Ide
— At least 31 people have been killed in an attack on a street market in the capital of China's restive region Xinjiang. Chinese state media say two cars plowed into a market street, running people over and throwing explosives against the crowd.   
 
The attack occurred Thursday morning as many were buying vegetables and fruit at a roadside market in a largely Chinese neighborhood in the regional capital, Urumqi. At least 90 people were also wounded.
 
Pictures posted online from witnesses showed chaotic scenes with bodies in the street and flames from the explosions.

Chinese media said the attackers drove two cars, which crashed through a metal barricade and plowed into crowds of morning shoppers.

A local resident who lives in a compound facing the market says she was woken from her sleep by loud sounds. When she went outside, she said many people were paralyzed with fear. Witnesses told her two cars drove back and forth down the lane tossing bombs as they did.
 
Authorities have yet to provide any details about what happened to the assailants, but called the attack an act of terrorism. The bombings are the third major incident in China in recent months. Late last month, a bomb attack at Urumqi's train station left three people dead and 79 injured.
The following is a timeline of recent violence blamed by Beijing on Xinjiang separatists or foreign-backed militants:
 
- October 28: Three attackers ram a car into a group of people in Tiananmen Square; two tourists killed, 38 injured
 
- March 1: Passengers at a train station in Yunnan province attacked by eight knife-wielding men; 29 killed, over 140 injured.
 
- April 30: Two attackers set off explosives, slash passengers at Urumqi train station; one killed, 79 injured.
 
- May 22: Two cars plow through busy market in Urumqi, set off explosives; 31 dead, over 90 injured.


Despite a nationwide crackdown on terrorism and beefed up security at train stations in Xinjiang and across the country, the attacks continue.
 
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
 
Hong Lei says the "Chinese government has the confidence and ability to combat terrorists." Hong says the terrorists are "swollen with arrogance and their schemes will not succeed."
 
The western region of Xinjiang is home to many Uighur people, a largely Muslim minority ethnic group in China. The government has blamed at least two recent attacks, the one last month in Urumqi and a bloody knife attack in early March, on extremist Uighur terrorists.

Xinjiang has long been the site of ethnic unrest and tensions between China's Han majority and its ethnic Uighur minorities.

Uighurs frequently complain about the government's oppressive religious and cultural policies in the region. As Beijing has tightened its grip over the past year, carrying out what it says is a crackdown on terrorism, there has been an uptick in the number incidents of violence, which appears to be spreading beyond Xinjiang.

The government says terrorists were behind an attack on Tiananmen Square late last year, and at train stations in Kunming and Urumqi more recently.

China has blamed the train station attacks on a group called the Turkestan Islamic Party. The group has posted videos online praising the train station assault, and called on people in Xinjiang to take part in the holy war, or jihad, against the Chinese government.

Rohan Gunaratna, who studies terrorism at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University believes TIP could be behind Thursday's attack as well.

"There is no group that has the operational skill and the will to mount an attack of this scale in Xinjiang than the Turkestan Islamic Party," said Gunaratna.

In response to the violence, Chinese authorities have been beefing up security in Xinjiang as well as in train stations and other transportation hubs of cities around China.

Gunaratna says that physical and operational security will not be sufficient alone. China, he says, needs to strengthen its intelligence capabilities.

"China needs to recruit more sources (in Xinjiang) and infiltrate the Turkestan Islamic Party, without that it will be difficult to develop high-quality, high-grade intelligence," said Gunaratna.

Gunarata adds that as the U.S. draws down in Afghanistan, the terrorist threat to China is likely to grow. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that terrorist cells trained in Pakistan have organized acts of violence in Xinjiang with the intent of splitting the country.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: stevenssoelwin from: myanmar
May 23, 2014 4:10 AM
china must respect human right and democracy.if its wanna be a powerful and responsible country in the world.Chinese government must improve their human right and democracy.Otherwise the raise of china same as a nightmare start

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid