KUNMING – Uighur Muslims have vehemently condemned Saturday's attacks on a Chinese train station which left dozens killed and injured, amid accusations that point fingers at the persecuted Uighur Muslims in far western China district of Xinjiang.
There was "no justification for attacks on civilians," said Dilshat Raxit of the exiled World Uyghur Congress in an emailed statement cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, March 2.
The Uighur activist added that the discriminatory and repressive policies provoked "extreme measures" in response.
In an unprecedented attack in China's southwest Kunming city, a knife-wielding assault has left at least 33 people killed and more than 140 injured at a train station.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, authorities have described the incident as an “organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack".
"A group of men carrying weapons burst into the train station plaza and the ticket hall, stabbing whoever they saw," Xinhua said.
Chinese authorities rushed to blame Xinjiang people for the attacks that precedes Beijing's annual meeting of the National People's Congress that will tackle the soaring tension among China's ethnic groups.
"Evidence at the crime scene showed that the Kunming Railway Station terrorist attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces," the official news agency said citing Kunming government.
Sending condolences to the victims and their families, President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to punish the perpetrators vowing crackdown on terror activities, Xinhua reported.
"Severely punish in accordance with the law the violent terrorists and resolutely crack down on those who have been swollen with arrogance," the president was quoted by Xinhua
The 33 dead included five attackers who were shot by the police, another was arrested while the police haunt continue for the rest.
Victims, who couldn’t flee the rampage, said that the assailants were dressed in black.
"I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," Yang Haifei, who was wounded in the chest and back, told Xinhua.
Experts believe that authority's policies were responsible for escalating tensions between the state and the country’s ethnic minorities.
“The problem in China is that there’s no mechanism for people who think they are victims of discrimination to seek redress,” Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.
“There is no dialogue between the authorities and those with grievances.
"So they resort to violence, and from official reports it appears the frequency and intensity of those outbursts is increasing.”
A senior member of an advisory body to the parliament said such attacks in China had foreign links.
"The well-planned attack was not an issue of (ethnicity) or religion, it was an issue of terrorism with links to the terrorist forces out of the country," Xinhua quoted Admiral Yin Zhuo of the People's Liberation Army Navy as saying.
One the other hand, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has vigorously condemned the attack, urging trail of those responsible.
“He expresses condolences to the bereaved families and wishes those wounded a speedy recovery,” his spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
“The Secretary-General notes that there is no justification for the killing of innocent civilians and hopes that those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Last October, the government has accused Uighur Muslims of plotting Tiananmen Square attacks that left two killed.
Uighur Muslims have dismissed China's account of a Tiananmen Square “terrorist attack” as a dubious pretext for repression, amid signs of stepped-up security.
Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Xinjiang, which activists call East Turkestan, has been autonomous since 1955 but continues to be the subject of massive security crackdowns by Chinese authorities.
Rights groups accuse Chinese authorities of religious repression against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in the name of counter terrorism.
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