Tag Archives: Kunming

China warns prominent Internet users over Kunming attack

The Weibo account of Beijing police's cybersecurity team was used to threaten journalists

The Weibo account of Beijing police’s cybersecurity team was used to threaten journalists

BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing police have told prominent users of the microblogging site Weibo to cease comments deemed hurtful, including suggestions that authorities misled the public with accounts of a deadly train station attack blamed on militants from Xinjiang.

The warning was issued late on Thursday in response to postings offering different interpretations of the attack by knife-weilding assailants in the southwestern city of Kunming. At least 29 people were killed and police shot dead four of the attackers.

China says militants from the far western region of Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, carried out the attack.

Police said they were responding to complaints by netizens over bloggers’ criticisms of media portrayal of events.

“One or two public intellectuals have shown scant regard for the facts, confused black and white. Their comments have hurt the people’s feelings, and (other users) hope the police will deal with this,” the statement said.

The users whose comments were singled out were well-known commentators with thousands or even millions of followers. Screen shots of the offending posts were attached.

Li Chengpeng, a writer and former journalist with over seven million Weibo followers, had posted a quote attributed to a Kunming journalist frustrated at the lack of information about the attacks.

“Never telling you what exactly happened, just letting you blindly hate and feel inexplicably afraid, that is living a confused life and dying understanding nothing,” read the post, subsequently deleted.

He later wrote: “Persecuting people for their writing isn’t done like this! I will be waiting at home for them to come and get me”.

Another poster, Cheng Meixin, a former magazine editor with 10,000 followers, questioned the official version of events, saying: “There is no such thing as natural born killers. We have to admit that society isn’t perfect and has its failings.”

State media, quoting the ministry of public security on Friday, said police had also issued warnings or detained 45 people for spreading rumours about attacks in other regions.

One microblogger, cited by the official Xinhua news agency, had posted that “terrorists from Xinjiang” had attacked people in the eastern city of Hangzhou, killing 10 and injuring 80. Officials, Xinhua said, had dismissed the message as false.

The Communist Party last year stepped up an aggressive campaign to control online interaction, threatening legal action against people who issued “rumours” on microblogs if they were reposted more than 500 times or seen by more than 5,000 people.

Rights groups and dissidents criticised the crackdown as another tool for the party to limit criticism and to further control freedom of expression.

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China Train Station Mass Stabbing: 33 Dead

At least 33 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded in a mass stabbing at a Chinese railway station.

According to Chinese state media, the “organised and premeditated” attack at Kunming train station in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province was carried out by separatists from the volatile Xinjiang province in the far west.

Reports from the city suggest a group of people armed with knives entered the train station at about 9pm local time on Saturday and attacked travellers with knives indiscriminately.

Photos on Chinese social media show horrific scenes with blooded bodies and luggage strewn across the station concourse.

One local resident, Yang Haifei, told China’s Xinhua news agency he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.

Mr Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people, most dressed in black, rush into the station and start their attack.

“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports suggest police shot and killed some of the attackers and detained others.

Chinese police are not routinely armed which may explain why the perpetrators were able to attack so many people before being stopped.

According to eyewitness reports seen by Sky News, there is tension across Kunming amid concern that further attacks may be planned at other locations in the city.

Train stations in Chinese cities are vast and usually extremely busy.

The Kunming city government said the attack was orchestrated by ethnic separatists from Xinjiang, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Extreme elements of the Muslim population who live there have carried out attacks in the past – most recently in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last year.

The Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang believe their freedoms, culture and religion are being eroded and severely restricted by the Chinese authorities.

Xinjiang, 2,500 miles to the north of Saturday’s attack, has experienced repeated outbreaks of violence but the Chinese authorities have largely managed to contain the violence.

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