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China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

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KUNMING, China (AP) — Authorities blamed a slashing rampage that killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in southern China on separatists from the country’s far west and vowed a harsh crackdown Sunday, while residents wondered why their laid-back city was targeted.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants – putting the overall death toll at 33 – and captured another after the attack late Saturday in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. But authorities were searching for at least five more of the black-clad attackers.

State broadcaster CCTV said two of the assailants were women, including one of the slain and the one detained.

“All-out efforts should be made to treat the injured people, severely punish terrorists according to the law, and prevent the occurrence of similar cases,” said China’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, who arrived in Kunming early Sunday, an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack.

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua said. The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded there with heavy-handed security.

Police in Kunming on Sunday were rounding up members of the city’s small Uighur community, believed to number no more than several dozen, for questioning in the attack.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,500 kilometers (more than 900 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

Kunming residents expressed dismay at both the attack and the conditions within China that could have allowed it to happen.

Restaurant worker Xie Yulong said the attackers were “worse than animals.” But he also expressed sympathy toward ethnic Uighurs, saying their region has come under severe security crackdowns in recent months under the government of President Xi Jinping.

“It’s the pressure,” Xie said. “Beijing has put too much pressure on them since Xi Jinping. They are under so much pressure they do not want to live, and they did that.”

Another Kunming resident, Jiang Hua, said the attack has made people scared to go out at night.

“I think we should chase off the Uighurs and let them be independent,” Jiang said. “And local authorities should be held accountable for providing public safety.”

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station late Saturday evening and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people started crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

Alarms over a possible spread of militant attacks to soft targets beyond the borders of Xinjiang were first raised in October when a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs killed five people, including the attackers, at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated, well-organized and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said by phone.

But he added that it is still unclear whether there is any organized Uighur militant group, and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network, because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time, with political leaders in Beijing preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature, where Xi’s government will deliver its first one-year work report.

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. The Security Management Bureau, which is under the Ministry of Public Security, said in a statement that police would “crack down on the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included the killing of women and children. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — Authorities blamed a slashing rampage that killed 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in southern China on separatists from the country’s far west and vowed a harsh crackdown Sunday, while residents wondered why their laid-back city was targeted.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants – putting the overall death toll at 33 – and captured another after the attack late Saturday in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. But authorities were searching for at least five more of the black-clad attackers.

State broadcaster CCTV said two of the assailants were women, including one of the slain and the one detained.

“All-out efforts should be made to treat the injured people, severely punish terrorists according to the law, and prevent the occurrence of similar cases,” said China’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, who arrived in Kunming early Sunday, an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack.

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua said. The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded there with heavy-handed security.

Police in Kunming on Sunday were rounding up members of the city’s small Uighur community, believed to number no more than several dozen, for questioning in the attack.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,500 kilometers (more than 900 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

Kunming residents expressed dismay at both the attack and the conditions within China that could have allowed it to happen.

Restaurant worker Xie Yulong said the attackers were “worse than animals.” But he also expressed sympathy toward ethnic Uighurs, saying their region has come under severe security crackdowns in recent months under the government of President Xi Jinping.

“It’s the pressure,” Xie said. “Beijing has put too much pressure on them since Xi Jinping. They are under so much pressure they do not want to live, and they did that.”

Another Kunming resident, Jiang Hua, said the attack has made people scared to go out at night.

“I think we should chase off the Uighurs and let them be independent,” Jiang said. “And local authorities should be held accountable for providing public safety.”

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station late Saturday evening and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people started crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

Alarms over a possible spread of militant attacks to soft targets beyond the borders of Xinjiang were first raised in October when a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs killed five people, including the attackers, at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated, well-organized and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said by phone.

But he added that it is still unclear whether there is any organized Uighur militant group, and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network, because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time, with political leaders in Beijing preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature, where Xi’s government will deliver its first one-year work report.

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. The Security Management Bureau, which is under the Ministry of Public Security, said in a statement that police would “crack down on the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included the killing of women and children. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what officials said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said at least two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people started crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers who died, 29 civilians were killed and 143 wounded.

A heavy contingent of armed police patrolled in and around the railway station Sunday afternoon, but its ticket window was back in operation and cleanup crews disinfected the area with spray. A local woman laid a bunch of yellow lilies and other flowers near a bull statue in front of the station.

“This is to express our condolences for the victims and to show we have no fear in the face of violence,” said the woman, who gave her name only as Guo.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people, including the attackers, at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate in October raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said by phone.

But he added that it is still unclear whether there is any organized Uighur militant group, and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network, because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time, with political leaders in Beijing preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature, where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what officials said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said at least two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people started crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers who died, 29 civilians were killed and 143 wounded.

A heavy contingent of armed police patrolled in and around the railway station Sunday afternoon, but its ticket window was back in operation and cleanup crews disinfected the area with spray. A local woman laid a bunch of yellow lilies and other flowers near a bull statue in front of the station.

“This is to express our condolences for the victims and to show we have no fear in the face of violence,” said the woman, who gave her name only as Guo.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people, including the attackers, at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate in October raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said by phone.

But he added that it is still unclear whether there is any organized Uighur militant group, and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network, because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time, with political leaders in Beijing preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature, where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what officials said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said at least two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people started crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers who died, 29 civilians were killed and 143 wounded.

A heavy contingent of armed police patrolled in and around the railway station Sunday afternoon, but its ticket window was back in operation and cleanup crews disinfected the area with spray. A local woman laid a bunch of yellow lilies and other flowers near a bull statue in front of the station.

“This is to express our condolences for the victims and to show we have no fear in the face of violence,” said the woman, who gave her name only as Guo.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people, including the attackers, at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate in October raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said by phone.

But he added that it is still unclear whether there is any organized Uighur militant group, and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network, because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time, with political leaders in Beijing preparing for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature, where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later, Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press writers Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what state media said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers killed, 29 civilians were confirmed dead and 143 wounded.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people including the attackers at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said in a telephone interview.

But he added that it was still unclear if there is any organized Uighur militant group and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for `’all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press reporters Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what state media said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers killed, 29 civilians were confirmed dead and 143 wounded.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people including the attackers at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said in a telephone interview.

But he added that it was still unclear if there is any organized Uighur militant group and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for `’all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press reporters Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what state media said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said two of the attackers were women – one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers killed, 29 civilians were confirmed dead and 143 wounded.

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people including the attackers at Be last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs – premeditated and outside Xinjiang – but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said in a telephone interview.

But he added that it was still unclear if there is any organized Uighur militant group and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for `’all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press reporters Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.

China blames separatists for knife attack; 33 dead

KDWN

KUNMING, China (AP) — More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China, drawing police fire, in what authorities called a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists based in the far west, state media said Sunday. Thirty-three people were killed and 130 wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants , arrested one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Witnesses described attackers dressed in black storming the train station and attacking people indiscriminately.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man slash another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

The attackers’ identities were not yet confirmed, but evidence at the scene of the attack showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying. Authorities considered it to be “an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack.”

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by separatists among parts of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are also frequent. Saturday’s assault took place more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on Uighur separatists that killed five people at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets throughout the country.

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday morning and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded and their families, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday’s opening of the annual meeting of the nominal legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for `’all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

A Xinhua reporter in Kunming said firefighters and emergency medical personnel were at the station and rushing injured people to hospitals, while police were investigating. The news agency said that in addition to the four attackers killed, 29 people described as civilians were confirmed dead and 130 injured.

More than 60 victims were taken to Kunming No. 1 People’s Hospital, where at least a dozen bodies also could be seen, according to Xinhua reporters at the hospital.

Yang Haifei, who was being treated at the hospital for chest and back wounds, told Xinhua that he saw a person “come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone.” People who were slow to escape ended up severely injured, he said. “They just fell on the ground.”

At a guard pavilion in front of the train station, three victims were crying. One of them, Yang Ziqing, told Xinhua that they were waiting for a train to Shanghai when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them.

“My two town-fellows’ husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can’t find my husband, and his phone went unanswered,” Yang sobbed.

Xinhua said some victims were migrant workers who were returning to factories after family reunions over the Chinese New Year.

Pictures on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, showed bodies covered in blood at the station. Footage on China’s state broadcaster CCTV showed a heavy police presence near the station and plainclothes agents wrapping a long knife in a plastic bag as investigators collected evidence following the attacks.

The Kunming railway station, located in the southeastern area of the city, is one of the largest in southwest China.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

Associated Press reporters Ian Mader, Gillian Wong and video producer Aritz Parra in Beijing, and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai, contributed to this report.