03/03/2014, 00.00
CHINA
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Vigil for 29 dead and over 130 injured in Kunming massacre

A hundred people gathered spontaneously in the station where the massacre took place. The gang raided the station armed with curved swords and meat cleavers and stabbed people randomly. Beijing says the leaders are ethnic Uyghur "separatists", but there is no evidence to support this thesis.

Kunming ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - Last night a hundred people held a candlelight vigil at the train station in Kunming (Yunnan Province), where March 1 last a bloody attack targeted commuters and passengers. Men and women dressed in black and wearing masks assaulted bystanders with curved swords and meat cleavers, instantly killing 29 people and wounding more than 130. The critically injured includes a woman six months pregnant. According to the Chinese authorities ethnic Uyghur "separatists" are responsible for the attack. However, there is still no evidence against them.

The massacre took place at 21:30 on Saturday evening. The Kunming station, in the capital of Yunnan, is one of the largest and busiest in all of China. The police have described the massacre as "a well-organized terrorist attack": The attackers randomly stabbed those present, in the chest , neck and head. Four of them - three men and one woman - were killed on the spot by police. Another woman suspect is under arrest and is in hospital.

More than 100 people participated in a spontaneous vigil last night. A 53 year old man said he was find"very saddened" by what happened, but urged the government to provide answers to the problems in Xinjiang. "No one ever told us why there is so much tension there - said the man - what did our government do to attract so much anger?".

The Uyghur ethnic group lives in the northern autonomous region of Xinjiang, is of the Turkish language and the Muslim faith, and denounces a strong linguistic, cultural and religious repression by the Chinese central government. Over the years there have been numerous violent clashes between the two sides: Beijing argues the region is home to Islamic extremists and separatists, while local activists pointing the finger at ethnic tensions caused by the Chinese control and "racist" policies in implemented by the central government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the government "will do everything" to clarify what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice. The governments of Russia, France, the United States and Japan have unanimously condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to the victims. Ban Ki- moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, said that " there is no justification for the murder of innocent civilians."

The attack took place a few days before two important appointments for Chinese politics: the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), scheduled for today, and the National People's Congress (NPC, China's parliament), on March 5.

 

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