News / Asia

China Heightens Security in Wake of Train Station Attacks

China's top leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, bottom right, have a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of a slashing spree during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, March 3, 2014.
China's top leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, bottom right, have a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of a slashing spree during the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, China, March 3, 2014.
William Ide
China is strengthening security in the capital, Beijing, as it holds key political meetings just days after a violent attack at a train station in southwestern part of the country left more than 30 dead. Chinese authorities say separatists from the country's remote Xinjiang region were responsible for carrying out what officials described as a highly organized terrorist attack.
 
In the wake of the brutal Kunming attack, state media report officials in Beijing held an emergency meeting to boost safety and security in the capital.
 
The measures, among others, include heightening anti-terrorism and anti-explosives awareness in the city. Officials also called for strengthening security on public transportation such as buses and the city's massive and sprawling subway system.
 
Of the more than 10 attackers accused of involvement in Saturday's attack, four were shot dead and one taken into police custody. Others remain at large.
 
Some in Kunming say they felt uneasy that some assailants had not yet been apprehended.
 
Mrs. Shu, a shop owner in Kunming, said that while she feels safe during the day she worries at night. She said it is easier at night for the assailants to commit a crime and escape. She is worried they may come back.
 
Domestic security will be a key issue when Chinese officials meet this week in Beijing. Although China's military spending is growing rapidly, the tightly controlled country still spends more on domestic security than it does on defense.
 
Since 2009, China's security budget in Xinjiang alone has grown from $250,000 to $1 billion.
 
Twin sessions

In Beijing, China's top leaders met at the Great Hall of the People Monday for the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body of 2,200 deputies.
 
Du Qingling a top official with the conference said the government extends its sincere condolences to those killed in the violent terrorist attack at Kunming station. He then asked deputies to hold a moment of silence.
 
Every year when China's top leadership gathers for its political meetings in the capital, there is always a striking increase in police presence on the streets. Security is particularly strengthened around Tiananmen Square where the meetings are held at the Great Hall of the People.
 
The meetings are called the twin sessions in Chinese because while advisors meet, lawmakers gather for what is called the National People's Congress at about the same time.
 
Off guard

In the attack's aftermath, many are demanding that a crackdown be launched. Some are also asking that anti-terror laws be strengthened to help the government have a better ability to respond.
 
James Leibold, a visiting professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the attacks caught the government off guard and heightened concerns that the incident could play into ethnic tensions.  "I think they are particularly worried about the Han backlash. There are a lot of people talking about how this is reminiscent of 2009. When you had the Han riots in Shaoguang in Guangdong and how that spilled over into Urumqi and that terrible street violence. The government is worried to not let that get out to loose control of it," he said.
 
In 2009, Xinjiang was rocked by ethnic riots that left about 200 people dead, both Han Chinese and members of Xinjiang's Uighur Muslim minority group.
 
In late December, Leibold noted, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision for a new grand strategy for Xinjiang. And while details of that strategy are still coming together, it is clear that Xi intends to intensify controls in the region.

"I think we've got some indicators of what that might be and in short it's going to be a further penetration of the party state into the lives of ordinary people in Xinjiang," stated Leibold.
 
He added that will come in the form of more cameras on the streets and boots on the ground in Xinjiang.  Party cadres will also be sent down to areas all over Xinjiang.
 
Xinjiang officials recently announced that some 200,000 cadres would be sent down to the grassroots over the next three years the region. The government aim in doing this, it said, is to improve people's livelihood and ensure lasting stability.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs