Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed action against the terrorist strike yesterday. His visit to the region, focused on combating terrorism, coincided with the attack.
China’s Xinjiang province was rocked by an explosion yesterday at a train station. Assailants attacked civilians with knives, then set off explosives. The coordinated nature of the attack left officials to believe it was motivated by terrorism. Casualties were placed at 79 injured and three dead.
The events occurred just after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the region. The Associated Press quoted President Xi saying: “Local police stations are the fists and the daggers. We must work hard at the grass-roots level of the police stations. We must take care of our front-line offices. You need to protect yourselves and make achievements at tasks such as better serving the people in the future and safeguarding social stability.” The president’s visit was largely concerned with promoting stability in the region after a long history of ethnic disunity.
The visit was Xi’s first since coming to power in 2012, calling the four day event an “inspection tour”, according to Time Magazine. His “strike-first” rhetoric against terrorism was balanced by him donning traditional prayer caps and chatting with locals.
After the attack, AFP reported that President Xi officially stated “The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists’ rampant momentum,” returning to his familiar strong rhetoric. China’s Xinhua News reported he authorized the People’s Liberation Army to assist local police in any and all investigations.
Two suspects and a citizen are killed in the railway station terrorist attack in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) May 1, 2014
President Xi also acknowledged the region’s Muslim minority during the visit. During the visit the Sydney Morning Herald reported the president visited a mosque in Urumqi: “The long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country’s reform, development and stability; to the country’s unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of the Chinese nation.”
It is believed Chinese Muslim separatists may be behind the attacks.
Image via CCTV News, YouTube