China says three killed in attack at Xinjiang train station

BEIJING Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:24pm EDT

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Three people were killed and 79 wounded in a bomb and knife attack at a train station in the far western region of China on Wednesday, state media said, as President Xi Jinping was wrapping up a vist to the area.

Xi promised "decisive actions" against the "terrorists" behind the attack in Xinjiang, a region beset for years by violence the government blames on Islamist militants and separatists seeking an independent state called East Turkestan.

Quoting police, Xinhua news agency said "knife-wielding mobs slashed people" at an exit of the South Railway Station of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, and set off explosives.

Pictures on China's Twitter-like Weibo site showed blood on suitcases and debris on the ground in front of the station. Many posts carrying the images were later removed by censors.

Xinhua said the station re-opened at 9 p.m. (9.00 a.m. ET), around two hours after the attack, under heavy police presence. Four people were seriously wounded but were in stable condition.

It was not clear if President Xi was still in Xinjiang at the time of the attack, at the end of his four-day visit to the region during which he stressed tough policing to fight "terrorists".

Responding to the attack, he said: "The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xinhua reported.

Xi said the battle against separatists would be "long-term, complicated and acute".

Exiles and many rights groups say the cause of unrest in the resource-rich and strategically located region is heavy-handed conduct by authorities, including curbs on Islam and the culture and language of its Muslim Uighur people.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress exile group, said he feared the incident would lead to a new round of repression against Xinjiang's Uighurs.

"It's extremely worrying. No matter what happens, China first of all represses the Uighurs, leading to many innocent Uighurs being locked up," he said by telephone.

"We can see from this that Xinjiang is in a period of turmoil, and such incidents could happen again at any time. This is the trend and it's directly related to Beijing's policies."

Unrest in Xinjiang has caused the deaths of more than 100 people in the past year, prompting a tougher stance against Turkic-language speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent government controls on their culture and religion.

STABILITY

Urumqi was the scene of deadly ethnic riots in 2009, with nearly 200 people killed when Uighurs clashed with members of the majority ethnic Han Chinese community. It has been relatively calm since.

Many Chinese took to the Weibo microblogging service to express anger and defiance at the station attack, including Hu Xijin, editor of the influential tabloid the Global Times, who wrote: "We will never be cowed by a handful of bad people."

China's nervousness about militancy, especially Islamic militancy, has grown since a car burst into flames on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square in October, and 29 people were stabbed to death last month in the southwestern city of Kunming.

The government blamed Xinjiang militants for both incidents.

During his visit, Xinhua quoted Xi as saying: "The long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country's reform, development and stability; to the country's unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of the Chinese nation."

Uighurs have traditionally followed a moderate form of Islam but many have begun adopting practices more commonly seen in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, such as full-face veils for women, as China has intensified a security crackdown in recent years.

China reacted to the 2009 riots by pumping money into less-developed southern Xinjiang, in an implicit recognition of the economic causes of the unrest. But it has taken a much harsher line of late, especially towards dissenters.

The government detained Ilham Tohti, a Beijing economics professor who has championed Uighur rights, in January and subsequently charged him with separatism.

Advocates for Tohti say he has challenged the government's version of several incidents involving Uighurs, including the car fire on the edge of Tiananmen Square.

(Editing by Robert Birsel and Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (6)
Kodalwa wrote:
Is it a coincident , a blast was happen when previouse leader Mr. Hu Jin Tao first visit to XinJiang while he was annouce he will fight for anti-corruption .It was blamed for military disposal truck.
This time also Mr. Xi Jin Ping’s first visit to Xinajiang,Also he is on the huge fight to implement anti-corruption policy …..
I dont think it so simple , as being a chinese citizen , I wish government can tel the truth !!! Good bless to Xi Jin Ping !

Apr 30, 2014 12:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:
Osama bin Laden supported the terrorists in Xinjiang and in the southern Caucasus. Two of his announced reasons for the 9-11 attacks were that the US “allowed” China to stay in Xinjiang and “allowed” Russia to stay in the southern Caucasus. China has had previous attacks in Xinjiang, and Russia has had attacks in the southern Caucasus. China, Russia, and four central Asian countries form the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a military, economic, and political alliance. They have agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave, and they have conducted joint police and military exercises to prepare. Russia and China will conduct joint naval exercises in late May and integrate China’s new ADIZ into naval maneuvers. The US has had more extensive ADIZs since WWII and still failed to prevent 9-11 attacks although ADIZs are mainly effective against airliners flying inbound.

China and Russia are de facto military allies of the US and NATO in the current war that the West has with islamic insurgents. However, the West refuses to cooperate with the East and often engages in overblown disputes and imposes sanctions over minor issues. The US and NATO have forgotten the Twin Towers in 2001, the Madrid train bombings in 2004, and London bus bombings in 2006. They may need to receive more 9/11′s, more 3/11′s, and more 7/7′s to refocus their efforts on the more serious threats that the West still faces. This attack in China, and other attacks in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and north Africa, prove that enemies of civilization, who must be restrained, continue to attack the East and the West in different theaters of operations. China and Russia are de facto allies of the US and NATO whether or not the West has the wisdom to understand this fact.

Apr 30, 2014 4:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
freeokinawa wrote:
If the exiles are really against terrorism and follow the rule of law, they should cooperate with the Chinese authorities, OPENLY DENOUNCE the criminal acts and help hunt down the culprits. By not saying a thing bad about terrorism they are implying they support their actions.The Western governments sheltering them should demand they publicly take a stand against terrorism instead of keeping quiet. Isn’t it shameful to allow these people on their soil? China might just carry out assassination attempts on these exiles like US hunt down UBL if a link is found to them. We didn’t hear any condemnation of the Kunming bombing by these exiles, why? Some Western reporters should interview Reba Kadeer, Dilxat Raxit and other exiles and seek their opinions.

Apr 30, 2014 6:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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