May 02, 2014 07:43
Chinese President Xi Jinping is promising "decisive action" following a deadly bomb and knife attack at a train station in the western province of Xinjiang.
Officials say three people were killed and 79 injured late Wednesday when attackers set off explosives and slashed passengers at the South Station in the regional capital, Urumqi.
The official People's Daily newspaper said Thursday the three dead include a bystander and two of the attackers, although it was not clear from the report if it was a suicide attack. China's state-run Xinhua said the two suspects "have long been involved in religious extremism."
The rail station reopened Thursday amid tight security.
The attack took place on the same day Xi visited Xinjiang, where he promised to go on the offensive against what the government considers separatists.
Xinhua quoted Xi Thursday as saying "decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum."
The government blames extremists from the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group for a series of increasingly complex attacks in recent months.
Government critics say the violence is driven by the government's restrictions on Muslim religious life and its policies that favor members of the Han ethnic group.
Dilxat Raxit with the World Uyghur Congress said the attack "again proves that forceful repression is not a solution to the problem."
In March, 29 people were killed when what the government says were Uighurs attacked passengers with knives at a train station in southwest China's Yunnan province.
Last October, the government said three Uighurs killed themselves and two tourists when they rammed their car into a group of people in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
It is not known who is responsible for the latest attack in Urumqi. Xinhua says an investigation is under way, but did not say if anyone was arrested.
The government has blamed much of the violence on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, which Beijing says is funded by foreign extremists.
There is disagreement about to what extent ETIM is involved, however, with many foreign analysts saying that China is exaggerating the threat.
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