Archive for ‘Ethnic clash’

15/07/2014

One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post

An explosion rocked the car park of Xining’s main airport today, state media reported. One person was injured by shrapnel, according to the authorities.

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Police and bomb experts rushed to the scene within minutes of the blast and cordoned off the area around the busy Caojiapu (variably spelled as Caojiabao) airport.

One cleaner was hit when the object detonated in the lot just outside the terminal, the China West Airport Group said in a press statement at 4pm.

According to Chinanews.com, the staff was hit by a piece of glass and was sent to hospital.

Airport operations were not affected, the airport authority said. Cars in the parking lot were moved to other areas to clear the scene.

The Qinghai public security bureau and armed police are now conducting further investigation.

The explosives were concealed in a rubbish bin at the corner of the car park, according to the China Youth Daily.

A person surnamed Bao working for the public security bureau of Haidong prefecture near Xining told the South China Morning Post that the bureau’s command centre were not informed of the blast as yet, but that they would be sending staff to the scene.

“Airport police, anti-terror police, SWAT and paramilitary [officers] have cordoned off the site and are doing further investigation,” Bao said.

The Caojiapu airport is the busiest airport in the Tibet Plateau region. According to the airport’s figures, it handles four million trips a day.

Earlier in June, the airport held an emergency rescue drill – the largest held in the past 10 years – involving firefighters, medical emergency response teams as well as runway and airport maintenance teams.

Clearing explosives was part of the drill.

via One injured as explosion hits Xining airport car park in Qinghai | South China Morning Post.

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23/06/2014

Shenzhen to pump one billion yuan into building new Xinjiang university | South China Morning Post

Shenzhen will pump one billion yuan (HK$1.26 billion) into a new university to be built in Xinjiang’s southern Kashgar city, on top of the region’s own one billion yuan of investment.

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Shenzhen was contributing to the university in support of education in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the Xinjiang Daily reported on Monday.

“Building Kashi University will provide strong human resources to the industrial restructuring in southern Xinjiang and improve the local livelihood,” said Kenjiang Tulahong, a member of the region’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

Plans to build the university were announced by the State Council after a Xinjiang working group meeting in May. It was an important strategic approach, the newspaper said.

Xinjiang, in the northwest and home to the Uygur ethnic minority who are mostly Muslims, has been the focus of a security crackdown after recent violent attacks in the region and elsewhere on the mainland that the central government has blamed on terrorists and separatists who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

President Xi Jinping, who chaired the second Central Work Conference on Xinjiang on May 19, stressed the importance of ethnic unity, education and economic development. Officials at the conference pledged to promote bilingual education and interaction between ethnic groups in the region.

On Monday, Xinjiang party chief Zhang Chunxian, speaking at the region’s party committee meeting, vowed to safeguard social stability and the Central Committee’s authority and political discipline on major issues opposing separatism.

The same day, Korla Evening News reported that police in Korla city, western Xinjiang, had busted an underground group that was teaching the Koran to children. Two men were arrested on suspicion of abusing two children and forcing them to study the Koran, on top of running illegal religious activities. The two pupils were then sent to local kindergartens and assigned guardians, the newspaper reported.

Kashi University, when completed, would give Uygur students more opportunities for higher levels of academic training in future, Kashgar officials said.

“Kashi University will have comprehensive departments and disciplined teachers to train a wider range of talents,” Kashgar Normal College dean Aierken Wumaier said.

The university plans to provide curriculums in the liberal arts, science, art, engineering, management, economics and medicine, among others, he said. The institute aimed to recruit 13,000 students by 2015, he added.

via Shenzhen to pump one billion yuan into building new Xinjiang university | South China Morning Post.

23/05/2014

Terrorist attack kills dozens in China’s tense Xinjiang region – CNN.com

A series of explosions tore through an open-air market in the capital of the volatile western Chinese region of Xinjiang on Thursday, killing dozens of people and wounding many more, state media reported.

Watch this video

China‘s Ministry of Public Security said the attack in the heavily policed city of Urumqi was “a serious violent terrorist incident” and vowed to crack down on its perpetrators. President Xi Jinping called for the terrorists behind it to be “severely” punished.

Two SUVs slammed into shoppers gathered at the market in Urumqi at 7:50 a.m. Thursday, and explosives were flung out of the vehicles, China’s official news agency Xinhua said.

The vehicles then exploded, according to Xinhua, which said at least 31 people were killed and more than 90 wounded.

Some of the photos circulating on social media suggested a hellish scene, with bodies strewn on the ground amid burning wreckage. Others showed flames and smoke billowing out of the end of a tree-lined street guarded by police officers.

via Terrorist attack kills dozens in China’s tense Xinjiang region – CNN.com.

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21/05/2014

Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn

Tourism increased in the Tibet autonomous region in the first four months of the year, as the region aspires to become a world-class travel destination.

Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction

The region had more than 830,000 tourists from January through April, a year-on-year increase of 23.4 percent, the regional tourism bureau said on Tuesday.

Foreign tourists numbered 20,000, an increase of 10.3 percent, and the number of domestic tourists was 810,000, an increase of 23.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the revenue generated by the tourism industry was 926 million yuan ($148.4 million), an increase of 26.2 percent, it said.

Karral Millar, 62, an Australian tourist, said she had a good time in Tibet.

“It’s wonderful. It’s been three days now. We have visited the Potala Palace and many temples, and we are learning new things about Tibetan Buddhism and history,” Millar said on Tuesday.

Cycling has become a popular way to tour the region in recent years, as many tourists want to have close contact with the natural scenery and culture of Tibet.

“It’s my second time in Tibet. I am absolutely impressed with the natural scenery and unique culture. I feel as if I am at home here,” said Liu Xiaojun, from Hebei province.

“I am also overwhelmed with the hospitality and politeness of the local people,” said Liu, adding that he plans to make a bicycle tour to Zhangmu Port in Tibet’s Xigaze prefecture.

Many businesses near the scenic spots in Lhasa see the coming of summer peak season as a harvest.

“Compared with the same period last year, we had more guests this year. We have 62 rooms, and more than half are booked every day,” said India, 41, a receptionist at the Kyichu Hotel, a Nepalese hotel in Lhasa.

Tibet received more than 12 million tourists from home and abroad lastar.

The region hopes to have 15 million tourists this year.

via Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

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16/05/2014

Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China’s top Islamic leaders urged the nation’s Muslims to resist religious extremism and oppose to terrorism after a number of violent attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in March and April.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around 80 religious leaders and scholars discussed Islamic doctrine by quoting the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad on Wednesday and Thursday in Urumqi, the region’s capital. On Thursday, Islamic leaders in China passed a proposal calling on all Muslims in the country to regulate their behavior, resist religious extremism and improve their moral outlook.

Abulitif Abdureyim, director of the Xinjiang Islamic Association, said governments at all levels in the region are resisiting religious extremism.

“The attackers who carried out the terrorist activities cannot go to heaven because they have violated the sayings in the Quran,” he said.

Wang Yujie, a professor of religious studies at Renmin University of China, said separatist forces are the main source of terrorism in Xinjiang.

In recent years, China has seen a number of violent attacks on police, government organs and civilians. Most of the attacks have taken place in Xinjiang.

A national security blue paper said on May 6 that religious extremism was the major reason for 10 violent terrorist attacks last year.

via Islamic leaders join efforts against extremism – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

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07/05/2014

In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters

Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.

Uighur women stand next to a street to wait for a bus in downtown Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region May 1, 2014. REUTERS-Petar Kujundzic

Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.

“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”

Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.

Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.

The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.

via In China’s Xinjiang, economic divide seen fuelling ethnic unrest | Reuters.

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07/05/2014

Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post

At least six people were wounded in a knife attack at Guangzhou Railway Station yesterday, the third assault on civilians at train stations in two months.

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Witnesses said four assailants began attacking passengers at random at about 11.30am.

Watch unconfirmed video: Suspected attacker caught by police after Guangzhou train station violence

One was subdued by police and a luggage handler after being shot by an officer. But police said later on social media that only one suspect was involved.

Witnesses also said one of the injured was a middle-aged Westerner, but Guangzhou police denied any foreigner was among the victims.

The police didn’t approach [the attacker] until they shot him twice in his chest HU ZHONG, LUGGAGE HANDLER

At least four people were taken to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, local police said. Three were in stable condition after surgery.

The attack comes less than a week after an explosion at a railway station in Urumqi – capital of Xinjiang , the vast western region home to ethnic minority Uygurs – left two attackers and a civilian dead and 79 wounded.

It also follows a March attack at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming , in which machete-wielding attackers killed 29 people and wounded 143 in what many in China dubbed the country’s “9/11”.

via Six wounded in knife rampage at Guangzhou Railway Station | South China Morning Post.

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01/05/2014

Two attackers among three killed in China bombing | Reuters

Two of the assailants who carried out a bombing in western China were among the three people killed, state media said on Thursday, in an attack which also wounded 79 and has raised concerns over its apparent sophistication and daring.

Paramilitary policemen stand guard near the exit of the South Railway Station, where three people were killed and 79 wounded in a bomb and knife attack on Wednesday, in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region, May 1, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, said on its official microblog that “two mobsters set off bombs on their bodies and died”, though the report did not call it a suicide bombing.

The other person who died was a bystander, the People’s Daily said.

Knives and explosives were used in the assault on a railway station in Urumqi on Wednesday, the first bomb attack in the capital of Xinjiang region in 17 years. The attack was carried out soon after the arrival of a train from a mainly Han Chinese province, state media said.

The bombing was possibly timed to coincide with a visit to the region with a large Muslim minority by President Xi Jinping, when security was likely to have been heavy.

On Thursday, dozens of black police vans were parked around the station, while camouflaged police with assault rifles patrolled its entrance. Despite the security, the station was bustling and appeared to be operating normally.

The government blamed the attack on “terrorists”, a term it uses to describe Islamist militants and separatists in Xinjiang who have waged a sometimes violent campaign for an independent East Turkestan state – a campaign that has stirred fears that jihadist groups could become active in western China.

State media accounts did not say if any other attackers had been killed or captured. Nor did they say if Xi, who was wrapping up his visit, was anywhere near Urumqi at the time.

Pan Zhiping, a retired expert on Central Asia at Xinjiang’s Academy of Social Science, described the attack as very well organized, saying it was timed to coincide with Xi’s visit.

“It is very clear that they are challenging the Chinese government,” he said.

“There was a time last year when they were targeting the public security bureau, the police stations and the troops. Now it’s indiscriminate – terrorist activities are conducted in places where people gather the most.”

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

via Two attackers among three killed in China bombing | Reuters.

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11/04/2014

India’s election: Seasons of abundance | The Economist

LICK your lips: mangoes are coming into season in Andhra Pradesh, piled up on roadside fruit stalls. Hyderabadis claim theirs are the country’s sweetest. So too are the bribes paid by the state’s politicians to get people to vote. Since early March state police have seized more money from politicians aiming to buy votes—590m rupees ($10m)—than the rest of India combined. An excited local paper talks of “rampant cash movement”, reporting that police do not know where to store the bundles of notes, bags of gold and silver, cricket kits, saris and lorry-loads of booze.

Andhra Pradesh, India’s fifth most populous state, is due to hold an impressive series of polls in the next few weeks—municipal elections and then both state-assembly and national ones. Many politicians keep up old habits by paying voters, especially rural ones, to turn out. A villager can stand to pocket a handy 3,000 rupees per vote. Economists predict a mini-boom in consumer goods.

If this is the lamentable face of Indian politicking, the hopeful side is that, increasingly, skulduggery is being pursued. A worker with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Hyderabad says police looking for illicit cash stopped and searched her car five times in a single drive one day last week.

This may be because in Andhra Pradesh, unusually, politicians are not currently running the show. The state is under “president’s rule”, with bureaucrats in charge, ahead of its breaking into two on June 2nd. Then, a new state, Telangana, will emerge to become India’s 29th, covering much of the territory once ruled by the Nizams of Hyderabad, the fabulously wealthy Muslim dynasty whose reign India’s army ended in 1948. A rump coastal state gets to keep the name Andhra Pradesh. For a decade Hyderabad will serve as joint capital.

The split will have a bearing on the national election. In 2009 the ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance, led by Congress, returned to national office on the back of two whopping southern victories. Congress scooped 33 seats in Andhra Pradesh, more than in any other state. Its ally next door in Tamil Nadu, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), got 18 seats. Both now face heavy defeats. “The south’s biggest impact nationally will be negative, in not voting for Congress”, says K.C. Suri of Hyderabad University.

via India’s election: Seasons of abundance | The Economist.

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07/03/2014

China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist

After a brutal attack in China, the Communist Party needs to change its policies towards minorities

A GROUP of knife-wielding assailants, apparently Muslims from western China, caused mayhem and murder on March 1st in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming, stabbing 29 people to death at the railway station and injuring 140 others. The attack has shocked China. The crime against innocents is monstrous and unjustifiable, and has been rightly condemned by the Chinese government and by America. But as well as rounding up the culprits, the Communist Party must face up to an uncomfortable truth. Its policy for integrating the country’s restless western regions—a policy that mixes repression, development and Han-Chinese migration—is failing to persuade non-Han groups of the merits of Chinese rule.

The party says the attackers were “Xinjiang extremists”, by implication ethnic Uighurs, a Turkic people with ties to Central Asia who once formed the majority in the region of Xinjiang. The killers may have been radicalised abroad with notions of global jihad. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Uighurs are committing ever more desperate acts. Scarcely a week passes in Xinjiang without anti-government violence.

The party claims that Xinjiang has been part of China for 2,000 years. Yet for most of that time, the region has been on the fringe of China’s empire, or outside it altogether. An attempt to incorporate these lands began only with the Qing dynasty’s conquests in the mid-18th century. (The name Xinjiang, “new frontier”, was bestowed only in the 1880s.) During the chaos of the 1940s, Uighurs declared a short-lived independent state of East Turkestan. But from 1949 the Communists began integrating Xinjiang into China by force. Demobbed Chinese soldiers were sent to colonise arid lands, the state repression of Uighurs drawing heavily on the Soviet tactics for handling “nationalities”. Uighur resentment of the Han runs deep. The feeling is mutual. Many Chinese are openly racist towards Uighurs, and the government thinks them ungrateful. In 2009 hundreds of people were killed during street fighting between Uighurs and Han, who now make up two-fifths of Xinjiang’s population and control a disproportionate share of its wealth.

Identity crisis

The Kunming killers’ motives may never be known. But fears of militant Islamism arriving at the heart of China must not obscure the broader problem of Chinese oppression in Xinjiang. Recent crackdowns hit at the heart of Uighur identity: students are banned from fasting during Ramadan, religious teaching for children is restricted, and Uighur-language education is limited. Many Uighurs, like their neighbours in Tibet, fear that their culture will be extinguished. Xinjiang and Tibet (and Inner Mongolia) are still China’s colonies, their pacification under the Communist Party a continued imperial project. Were it not for the Dalai Lama’s restraining influence, violence in Tibet might be as bad as it is in Xinjiang. As it is, over 100 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest at Chinese rule.

There is a large military presence in China’s west. The government seems to believe that unless Uighurs and Tibetans are held in check by force, the western regions could break away. That is always a danger. But suppression, which leads to explosions of anger, may increase the risk, not mitigate it.

The only way forward is to show Uighurs (and Tibetans) how they can live peacefully and prosperously together within China. The first step is for the party to lift the bans on religious and cultural practices, give Uighurs and Tibetans more space to be themselves, and strive against prejudice in Chinese society. Economic development needs to be aimed at Uighur and Tibetan communities. Otherwise, there will be more violence and instability.

via China’s restless West: The burden of empire | The Economist.

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