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27 dead in terrorist attack at Chinese train station
 
 
 

BEIJING - A mass stabbing at a Chinese train station late Saturday which left 27 people dead and 109 injured was a “violent terrorist attack”, state media said.
Victims described knife-wielding attackers dressed in black bursting into Kunming railway station and slashing indiscriminately. Beijing’s top security official was reported to be heading to the scene. The incident “was an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack” carried out by “unidentified knife-wielding people”, the official news agency Xinhua said, citing authorities.
Police shot dead a number of the perpetrators at the train station in southwestern Yunnan province, according to posts by local television station K6 on its official Sina Weibo account, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. A victim named Yang Haifei, who was wounded in the chest and back, told Xinhua that he had been buying a train ticket when the attackers approached and he had tried to escape with the crowd.
“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said, while others “simply fell on the ground”. Some who had escaped were desperately looking for missing loved ones. “I can’t find my husband, and his phone went unanswered,” Yang Ziqing was quoted by Xinhua as saying. She said she had been waiting for her train to Shanghai “when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them”. Officers sealed off a wide area around the station, it added, while Xinhua said police still questioning people at the site. The attackers were dressed in similar black clothing, the official China News Service said, citing eyewitnesses.
“A group of men carrying weapons burst into the train station plaza and the ticket hall, stabbing whoever they saw,” it said. Photos posted on Sina Weibo showed blood spattered across the station floor and medical staff crouching over bodies lying on the ground, although the authenticity of the images could not be verified. The photos showed crowds gathered outside among police officers and ambulances. The injured had been delivered to hospitals around the city, K6 reported. State broadcaster CCTV also called the incident a “terrorist attack” on its Weibo account. China’s top security official Meng Jianzhu would travel to Kunming to oversee its handling, it said, while President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent condolences to the victims and their families. Yunnan has no history of violent attacks, and the motive for the stabbings was not immediately clear. Kunming resident Yang Haifei told Xinhua that he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people mostly wearing black rush into the station and start attacking bystanders.
“No matter who, for whatever reason, or of what race, chose somewhere so crowded as a train station, and made innocent people their target - they are evil and they should go to hell,” wrote one user. The attack comes at a particularly sensitive time as China gears up for the annual meeting of parliament, which opens in Beijing on Wednesday and is normally accompanied by a tightening of security across the country.
China has blamed similar incidents in the past on Islamist extremists operating in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, though such attacks have generally been limited to Xinjiang itself. China says its first major suicide attack, in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October, involved militants from Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, many of whom chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture and religion.
 Hu Xijin, editor of the influential Global Times newspaper, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote on his Weibo that the government should say who it suspected of the attack as soon as possible. “If it was Xinjiang separatists, it needs to be announced promptly, as hearsay should not be allowed to fill the vacuum,” Hu wrote.




“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said. Those who were slower were caught by the attackers. “They just fell on the ground.” Graphic pictures on the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo showed bodies covered in blood lying on the ground at the station.
There was no immediate word on who was responsible. State television’s microblog said domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu was on his way to the scene. The attack comes at a particularly sensitive time as China gears up for the annual meeting of parliament, which opens in Beijing on Wednesday and is normally accompanied by a tightening of security across the country. China has blamed similar incidents on Islamist extremists operating in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, though such attacks have generally been limited to Xinjiang itself.
China says its first major suicide attack, in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October, involved militants from Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, many of whom chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture and religion.

 
 
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