The Chinese government has blamed religious extremists for
carrying out a bomb and knife attack at a train station in Urumqi,
regional capital of Xinjiang, on Wednesday evening that killed one
bystander and wounded 79.
Both attackers were killed in the blast, according to the
government. In an embarrassing security lapse, the attack happened
just as President Xi Jinping was wrapping up his first visit to
Xinjiang since becoming president last year.
The newspaper identified one of the attackers as Sedirdin Sawut, a
39-year-old man from Xayar county in Xinjiang's Aksu region. The man
is a member of the Muslim Uighur minority, judging by his name.
The Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the ruling
Communist Party's official People's Daily, said police are now
looking for Sawut's wife, father, two cousins and his father-in-law,
who seem to have gone missing after the attack.
They are all suspected of helping Sawut in the attack, the newspaper
said, citing anonymous Xinjiang police officers.
Police are also looking for two other men who may have been involved
in making the bombs, both of whom knew Sawut and also come from the
same county, the report added.
Resource-rich and strategically located Xinjiang, on the borders of
central Asia, has for years been beset by violence blamed by the
Chinese government on Islamist militants and separatists, but
suicide attacks have been extremely rare.
There have been suicide bombings before in China, mostly by people
with personal grievances, but it has generally not been a tactic
employed by Uighurs.
"Previously the attackers would try to leave after they planted the
bomb. This time they obviously stayed to be killed," the newspaper
quoted another unnamed security official as saying.
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In October, a car ploughed into tourists on the edge of Beijing's
Tiananmen Square, killing the car's three occupants and two
bystanders, in what the government believed was a suicide attack by
people from Xinjiang.
Exiles and many rights groups say the real cause of the unrest in
Xinjiang is China's heavy-handed policies, including curbs on Islam
and the culture and language of the Uighur people.
Unrest in Xinjiang has caused the deaths of more than 100 people in
the past year, prompting a tougher stance against the
Turkic-language speaking Uighurs, many of whom resent government
controls on their culture and religion.
In March, 29 people were stabbed to death in the southwestern city
of Kunming, far from Xinjiang and on the borders of Southeast Asia.
The government blamed that attack on Xinjiang extremists.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)
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