Free Press Journal

China: Xi orders crackdown after Xinjiang ‘terror’ attack


Beijing: An outraged Chinese President Xi Jinping today ordered a “decisive” crackdown on Muslim Uygur militants in the restive Xinjiang province, after a knife and bomb attack killed three people and left 79 others injured.

Three persons were killed yesterday and 79 others injured in the “violent terrorist attack” at a railway station in Urumqi, capital of China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.

“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,” Xi said in comments published by state-run Xinhua news agency.

The daring attack came as Xi was wrapping up his first visit to the volatile border region in northwestern China, during which he had called for a “strike-first” strategy to fight terror.

Xi, who was in Urumqi on the last day of his four-day tour – the first after he took over as President last year – called for “decisive actions” against violent terrorist attacks.

He demanded profound awareness of the Xinjiang separatist forces and noted that the anti-separatism battle in Xinjiang is long-term, complicated and acute.

Four people were seriously injured but in stable condition, said the publicity department of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China, Xinhua reported.

An initial police investigation showed knife-wielding mobs slashed people at the exit of the South Railway Station of Urumqi and set off explosives, the report said.

All injured were sent to hospitals for treatment. Police are investigating the case.

The attack occurred last evening with an explosion in the area between the station exit and a bus stop. Some luggage and damaged motorcycles were left at the scene.

The attack was similar to the knife attacks carried out by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) at the Kunming railway station in March in which 33 people were killed and 143 injured. ETIM is fighting for the independence of Xinjiang from China.

Resource-rich Xinjiang has witnessed a spurt in attacks by Islamic militants in recent years as the province experienced ethnic tensions between native Muslim Uygurs and Han Chinese settlers from other provinces.