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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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