Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Fear and anger as China reflects on attack

AFP, KUNMING, China

Mourners light candles at the scene of the terror attack at the main train station in Kunming, China, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

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

Chinese Internet users accused the US 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, 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 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.”

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.

Chinese police maintained a prominent presence on the streets of Kunming yesterday, two days after attackers slashed indiscriminately at people lining up 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.

Outside the large open shelter where witnesses said the carnage began, people laid flowers and wreaths around a few dozen burnt-out candles left over from a vigil the previous night. Plainclothes security patrolled the area.

Three kilometers away in Kunming’s eastern suburbs, about 50 people lined up to give blood at a temporary donation center.

“I came here to donate blood ... because these terrorists are too cruel as they inflicted too much pain on the common people,” Hu Jiaquan, 35, said as he waited to give his first-ever donation.

“All citizens should use [our] own strength to defeat these extremists,” he added.

Another donor, Yin Jiang, said: “They are so cruel that they took action against elderly, women and children.”

The US embassy in China said on social media that it condemned the “terrible and senseless act of violence in Kunming” and expressed condolences to those affected in what it called a “tragedy.”

Yet thousands of Chinese Internet users slammed the US for refusing to follow China in defining the attack as terrorism, comparing the knifings to last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon, as well as to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“Would Americans say the same thing about similar attacks on their own territory?” Ma Xiaolin, a Web site administrator, asked on Sina Weibo.

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