China media: Kunming attack

Many Chinese are holding vigils to mourn the victims Image copyright AFP
Image caption A vigil was held in Kunming to mark those who died on Saturday

Media strongly condemn the mass knife attack at a railway station that left 29 people dead and at least 130 wounded.

A group of attackers burst into a railway station in the south-west city of Kunming and began stabbing people at random.

Chinese officials have blamed separatists from the north-western Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uighur minority group, for the attack.

Experts interviewed by the Beijing Times are calling for heavy punishment for the "terrorists" to maintain law and order in the country.

The Beijing News' editorial notes that the incident took place just days before the opening of China's annual parliamentary session, so "the political motive of the attackers is very obvious".

"They [the attackers] are not only doing it as a stunt for separatism, but they are making use of the fear in the people to create a split within the ethnic groups," it analyses.

The editorial calls for more transparency and the timely release of information to dispel the fear in the society.

"In the past, terrorist incidents caused by separatism are often highly sensitive topics, they are related to the issue of sovereignty as well as issue of ethnicity, which are often the restricted areas.

"But now this has changed - since last year, terrorist attacks no longer confined in Xinjiang, and once an attack took place, everyone will know it on the internet," it adds.

An editorial in the Xinjiang Daily reminds that "Xinjiang is part of the big family of the Motherland".

"Resolutely fighting against violent terrorist criminal activities, upholding the law and unity of the Motherland fits the basic interest and reflects the wish of of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," it says.

In a commentary in Global Times' Chinese edition, Turgunjan Tursun, a researcher at Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, urges the public not to isolate and discriminate against the Uighurs and "avoid hurting their feelings".

"The important thing is, the mainstream media need to be a guide, to make it clear to the public about the real face and viciousness of terrorism, and not to twist the anger and retaliation towards the terrorists against an ethnic group... which is exactly what the enemy hope for," he writes.

Instead, he adds, the country should involve the Uighurs in the fight against terrorism.

"Anti-terrorism in Xinjiang is a long-term process. If the Uighurs are not involved in this process, the fight against terrorism in Xinjiang will not succeed...

"In Xinjiang, among the police at the frontline or those who are on duty patrolling the streets or ensuring stability, many of them are the Uighurs, so the unity of all ethnic groups is the basic factor that is needed to fight terrorism."

The People's Daily reports that "all ethnic groups in Xinjiang condemned the attack" and adds that authorities have stepped up security in areas where crowds gather.

'Lax security'

Media also discuss why the attackers targeted Kunming.

"It's a long distance between Xinjiang and the inner land, so they risk being discovered easily [if they go by this route], especially if they travel by air where there is tight security. But they could take the highway or rail transport on their own from Xinjiang to Kunming," Yin Zhuo, director of the expert consultation committee of the People's Liberation Army Navy, tells the China Youth Daily.

He further explains that Kunming is a tourist destination, where there were no terrorist attacks in the past, so "security there is more lax".

Meanwhile, some media outlets and experts say some Western media are "sympathetic" towards the "terrorists" and have a "double standard on terrorism".

"This time, the Western media, particularly the US media, are defending the terrorists who carried out the Kunming terrorist attack, which becomes the loudhailer for the so-called appeal of the terrorists.

"Now they [the Western media] are not only holding double standards on the anti-terrorism issue, but they are standing alongside the terrorists," the Liberation Daily quotes Li Wei, anti-terrorism expert from China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, as saying.

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