Fear and anger as China reflects on mass stabbing

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Chinese mourners lighting candles at the scene of the terror attack at the main train station in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on Sunday. AFP PHOTO

Chinese mourners lighting candles at the scene of the terror attack at the main train station in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on Sunday. AFP PHOTO

KUNMING: Defiant residents of the Chinese city where 29 people died in a mass stabbing queued to donate blood on Monday, while others vented anger at what authorities say was a terrorist attack by separatists from Xinjiang.

Chinese Internet users accused the United States of double standards after Washington condemned the bloody rampage in Kunming by knife-wielding attackers but refrained from calling it a terrorist incident. More than 130 were injured.

Officials have blamed separatists from Xinjiang, the far western Chinese region home to the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, and one media report showed a flag embroidered with an Islamic saying said to have been found at the scene.

A taxi driver in Kunming said she would stay away from the train station where the violence occurred, underscoring the tense sense of fear in the southwestern city.


She then launched into an anti-Uighur tirade.

“I won’t let them into my taxi. They are all drug addicts and everyone outside Xinjiang distrusts them,” she said, refusing to give her name.

“They are trouble. Most people thought like this before, so you can imagine what people think now,” she added, pounding her steering wheel for emphasis.

Xinjiang is periodically hit by violent clashes between members of the Uighur minority and security forces, which China blames on terrorist groups seeking independence for the region.

But attacks targeting civilians are rarer and almost unheard of in Yunnan province, which is more than 1,600 kilometers from Xinjiang and a popular tourist destination.

The attack, which prompted shock and outrage nationwide, has been dubbed “China’s 9/11″ by state media and security has been tightened at transport terminals nationwide.

It came just days before the annual meeting of China’s parliament.

Police maintained a prominent presence on the streets of Kunming on Monday, two days after attackers slashed indiscriminately at people queuing to buy tickets at the busy railway terminal.

Armed guards remained on duty at the station, although the temporary waiting area that was sealed off on Sunday had reopened.

AFP

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