December 18, 2014
China blames Xinjiang militants for deadly attack at station
China blamed militants from the restive far western region of Xinjiang for an attack at a train station on the other side of the country by knife-wielding "terrorists" in which at least 33 died, including four of the assailants, who were shot dead.
The attack, in the balmy southwestern city of Kunming, marks a major escalation in the simmering unrest which had centred on Xinjiang, a heavily Muslim region strategically located on the borders of Central Asia.
It is the first time people from Xinjiang have been blamed for carrying out such a large-scale attack so far from their homeland, and follows an incident in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in October which shook the country's Communist leadership.
China has stepped up security in Xinjiang after a vehicle ploughed into tourists on the edge of Tiananmen Square, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders. China labelled it a suicide attack by militants from Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people, many of whom chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture and religion.
China bristles at suggestions from exiles and rights groups that the unrest is driven more by unhappiness at government policies than by any serious threat from extremist groups who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.