Posts Tagged ‘China News Service’

‘Read this quickly before it’s gone’: how China’s media covered or ignored the arrest of Huawei executive

December 7, 2018

Logo von Huawei (Reuters/H. Hanschke)

Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday that Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), the daughter of the founder of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Ren Zhengfei (任正非), had been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the United States on charges of violating US trade sanctions on Iran.

Meng is also the deputy chair of Huawei, which in recent months has faced an international backlash over concerns the company is linked to the Chinese state and poses a security risk.

Meng Wanzhou

Meng Wanzhou. File photo: Huawei.

Little information is available about Meng’s arrest, which reportedly occurred on December 1. Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department, told the Globe and Mail: “As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms Meng.”

So far, Chinese mainstream media have been largely silent on the case. A handful of media have picked up an early news release from the official China News Service that closely follows the press release from the Chinese Embassy in Canada.

That release registered a strong protest, saying that Meng’s arrest had “seriously harmed the human rights of the victim.”

The China Daily, published by the Information Office of the State Council, released an article in Chinese earlier today quoting the official release from Huawei saying that Meng has done nothing wrong and they are confident there will be a fair result.

Huawei Canada

Huawei, Canada. Photo: Wikicommons.

The official Xinhua News Agency did not release a report in English until around 5PM today Beijing time. That report again closely followed the remarks from the Chinese Embassy in Canada and the official Huawei release.

As of 8:30PM Beijing time there was still no Xinhua story in Chinese carried prominently on the service’s website, though far down the list of news was a transcript of the foreign ministry press conference.

Xinhua was focussed instead on Xi Jinping’s trip to Spain, Portugal and Latin America, and on the 40th anniversary of China’s “reform and opening” policy.

No doubt the timing of the Meng Wanzhou story, coming less than two weeks ahead of the formal anniversary on December 18, will also be a point of great sensitivity for the Party leadership.

Xinhua

Xinhua homepage, December 6 2018. Photo: Screenshot.

There were also stories on both the Chinese and English sides of Caixin. Interestingly, though, while the English report is prominent, the Chinese report was pushed lower down at around 4pm Beijing time, emphasising in the headline the fierce response from the Chinese Embassy in Canada — and two hours later that story was not visible at all on the Chinese homepage.

The English-language page at Caixin gave the Meng Wanzhou arrest story central play, and by 5pm Beijing time also paired it with the story of Huawei’s troubles in the UK.

The Chinese homepage of Caixin at around 4pm Beijing time on December 6 showed the Huawei story of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou well below other featured articles.

By 5pm Beijing time on the same day, no stories about Huawei or its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, were visible on the Chinese-language Caixin homepage.

Caixin

The English-language page at Caixin gives the Meng Wanzhou arrest story central play, and by 5PM Beijing time also pairs it with the story of Huawei’s troubles in the UK. Photo: Screenshot.

But lack of information on this breaking story, and relative silence from traditional and state-run media cannot forestall the conversation in China. There has been a flurry of chatter and speculation on Weibo and WeChat, although of course, that conversation is in a state of constant emergence and disappearance.

Here, courtesy of the Weiboscope, are a few of the more recent Weibo posts that have been removed, most dealing directly with the original report from the Globe and Mail:

  • 2018-12-06 13:29:55 | #ImmigrantObserver # MengWanzhou (Sabrina Wanzhou Meng) born 1972, is the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, and Meng Dongbo (孟东波), the father of her mother, Meng Jun (孟军), served as deputy governor of Sichuan province. She at the very least has Chinese, American and Canadian passports!
  • 2018-12-06 07:31:11 | [Meng Wanzhou, Daughter of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, arrested in Canada] Canada’s Global and Mail newspaper reported that the daughter of Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, has been arrested in Canada and faces extradition to the U.S. American law enforcement authorities have said that Meng Wanzhou is suspected of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. http://t.cn/EyXG9Ao
  • 2018-12-06 07:24:50 | [Foreign Media: Ren Zhengfei’s daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been arrested in Vancouver] News, Beijing time, December 6. According to Canada’s Globe and Mail, quoting Ian McLeod of Canada’s Justice Department, Canada has arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. http://t.cn/EyXbNi9

Marco Rubio

@marcorubio

If @Huawei has been helping violate US sanctions by transferring US technology to they should be barred from operating in the US or from purchasing US technology.

488 people are talking about this

A Weibo search for “Meng Wanzhou” directs readers to two posts from state media, one from CCTV Online and the other from the Global Times. The CCTV post is a short video relaying the response from China’s Foreign Ministry, calling on Canada and the U.S. to immediate release Meng and to “protect the legitimate rights of the person involved.”

The Global Times post similarly focuses on what at present seems right now to be the core message of the leadership: Meng must be immediately released.

The battle by ordinary citizens and other non-official voices to have a say on the Meng case, over and against the official urge to control the development of the issue online, could be glimpsed openly on social media.

In a post made around 8:30pm to Weibo, Zhu Wei (朱伟), an entrepreneur with more than two million followers on the platform, posted the following message:

“This topic is so sensitive. The headline article on my WeChat public account ‘Teacher Zhu Wei’ (朱伟老师), ‘Chinese Embassy in Canada: We Demand the Immediate Return of Meng Wanzhou’s Freedom’ was deleted by the relevant departments. Right now I’m reposting it on Weibo, so read it really quickly before it’s gone.”

Huawei phone

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr.

In a Weibo post, entrepreneur Zhu Wei tells readers to quickly read his post already deleted from the WeChat platform — before it once again disappears.

The article in question by Zhu Wei, offered a rundown of the official statements from the foreign ministry and from Huawei, and then included a paragraph by paragraph translation of the original report from the Globe and Mail.

Another post from the Weibo account of the Putian Media Group (莆田广播电视台) offered readers a video from talk Meng Wanzhou gave in English on September 26 at the World Academic Summit in Singapore.

The post, which bore the hashtag “#MengWanZhouArrested,” noted that Meng’s talk had been about “how to promote industry innovation.” But the video was soon disabled, yielding the message: “We’re sorry, this video cannot be displayed. Please view another video.”

Some commenting on WeChat and other platforms voiced anger over Meng’s arrest, viewing it through the lens of US-China competition, as a provocative act and a sign that the United States and other Western countries want to keep China down, even stripping it of its “right to develop.”

Wechat

File photo: Sinchen.Lin/Flickr.

In a piece shared widely on WeChat, Mei Xinyu (梅新育), a financial writer with more than one million followers on Weibo, wrote:

“Finally, I want to emphasise again the assessment I had a few days ago: through equal and rational dialogue a new cold war between China and the US can be avoided, and this would be a great thing for both countries and for the world.

“But the sky rains when it wants to, and girls marry when the time comes, and if certain people insist on foisting a ‘new cold war’ upon us, China has sufficient courage to meet this challenge, upholding China’s right to development in the midst of this struggle.”

Republished with permission from the China Media Project. 

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/12/07/read-quickly-gone-chinas-media-covered-ignored-arrest-huawei-executive/

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Wukan protests: police deny violence against Hong Kong journalists in Chinese village crackdown — But nobody believes Beijing’s account

September 18, 2016

Authorities claim law enforcement practices carried out in a ‘civilised’ manner

By Danny Lee and Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post

Sunday, September 18, 2016, 2:27am
 

Police authorities in Guangdong have denied officers were violent towards five Hong Kong journalists detained in Wukan last week, claiming they carried out law ­enforcement duties in a “civilised” manner.

 Police can be seen massed in the background as Wukan villagers take a rest. SCMP photo

 Villagers confront a phalanx of security in Wukan earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Addressing the incident for the first time, the public security ­bureau of Lufeng, which administers the coastal village, said media reports that police had “slapped, punched and pushed journalists to the ground” were “inconsistent with the facts”, the China News Service reported on Saturday.

The police had “adhered to rational, calm, civilised and standard law enforcement practices when handling the case,” the authorities said.

Three Hong Kong journalists, including a South China Morning Post reporter, were assaulted by two dozen unidentified men who broke into a house where they were interviewing a villager in Wukan on Wednesday night. The journalists were there to report on violent clashes between villagers and riot police on Tuesday, in which tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at residents.

According to police, members of the “village security team” raided the home after receiving reports from two villagers who saw three unidentified men – the Hong Kong journalists – entering the house.

 One Wukan villager who was injured as locals attempted to dodge the police earlier this week. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Upon their arrival, the village security team started “pushing and shoving” the journalists before taking them to the Lufeng public security bureau, police said. Local officials accused five Hong Kong journalists in total of “illegal” reporting.

Police said four of the five journalists did not have press badges issued by the All-China Journalists Association. The SCMP reporter had a badge, but had not “gone through relevant procedures according to the rules”, the police said, without specifying what procedures or rules.

The information office of the Lufeng municipal government said all five Hong Kong journalists “violated relevant regulations on reporting in the mainland,” the CNS reported.

“For Hong Kong and Macau journalists to report in the mainland, they need to obtain press badges issued by the All-China Journalists Association from the liaison offices in Hong Kong or Macau, and obey the country’s laws, regulations and rules to do objective and fair reporting,” the information office said.

Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan rejected the official government response.

“I think the police are liars. I am so disappointed in their reaction.I believe our journalists,” Sham said.

The SAR government has expressed concern about the case. A government spokesman called for Hong Kong journalists reporting on the mainland to be respected.

The coastal village has been the epicentre of villager-police clashes since Tuesday after uproar over the imprisonment of the democratically elected village chief Lin Zuluan for 37 months on corruption charges earlier this month. Wukan came to prominence five years ago after villagers protested a land-grab by officials and developers. The initial unrest ended after officials stepped down and villagers elected Lin as their new leader.

Around 100 people, including members of pan-democratic parties, held a candlelight vigil outside the Liaison Office on Saturday night in support of the residents of Wukan and to protest the attacks on Hong Kong reporters.

Residents of Chinese City Clash with Police During Protest

May 17, 2015

Linshui residents demand authorities build railway to serve their hometown

By James T. Areddy
The Wall Street Journal

SHANGHAI—Weekend street clashes with police left people injured in an inland Chinese city as residents demanded authorities build a railway to serve their hometown, in a twist on the more common public upset aimed at halting development.

Photos and video posted online show pitched battles between residents and police in the county seat of Linshui on Saturday, as well as a multi-block protest march through the city that appeared peaceful. The issue: anger in Linshui that a planned railway will bypass their city, which is about 65 miles north of the giant city Chongqing.

The website of the China News Service reported unnamed officials said the railway route remains under discussion and that authorities expressed their concern about the incident and made efforts to manage it.

Efforts to reach government officials were unsuccessful and the city didn’t refer to the incidents on its news portal. Figures on casualties and arrests weren’t available. The protests received coverage by China’s national state-run media, including photos that showed bloodied protesters though it appeared many items were deleted on social media platforms.

Demonstrations of the “not-in-my-backyard” variety are common in China, typified by opposition to chemical plants and trash incinerators that residents fear are harmful to the environment. Public action has at times been effective in at least prompting authorities to re-examine a project’s merits; Shanghai’s government never built one railway line following protests by residents seven years who worried a noisy line would depress property values.

Concerns in Linshui were something different: the lack of a railway would hold back the local economy. The planned line would be the first railway to call on their city, but residents claimed a recent adjustment meant it would instead pass through neighboring Guangan, a regional hub known as the birthplace of China’s late leader Deng Xiaoping.

Photos posted online showed police vehicles with windshields smashed, overturned and on fire. In videos posted online, police swung batons at men and women who hurled rocks that at times prompted police to take cover under their shields.

A 22-year-old restaurant worker who joined the weekend demonstration said tens of thousands of people went on the streets and local businesses closed. He said it began Saturday as a call to sign a petition requesting that government authorities reinstate plans for the train line to call at Linshui, but degenerated when police began roughly handling people.

“Now we only have an expressway,” said another Linshui resident who also witnessed some of the protest activity. “We desperately need a railway to boost our economy.”

Write to James T. Areddy at james.areddy@wsj.com

*********************

China – Tens of Thousands of residents of the southwestern county of Linshui gathered in the morning and marched about 3km. Photos posted by the protesters on social media also showed violent attacks by a police tactical team(SWAT)and the resistance that followed lasted all day and well into the night.

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The residents want (need) to have a proposed railway linking Dazhou to Chongqing pass through their county in the centre of Sichuan. The county currently has no railway, waterway, or airport.

Rage built up last week after residents found out that the authorities favor another plan – that the railway stretching more than 200km will instead by-pass Linshui and be routed through the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s hometown Guangan , to the west of Linshui.

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Some Linshui residents claimed to have written to the mayor of Guangan on the city’s official website to ask whether he had any knowledge of the progress of the railway project. The mayor allegedly replied on May 7 that the railway would pass through his city, not Linshui.

The reply could no longer been found on the website, and Linshui residents said it was taken down by the local authority in fear of controversy.

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But the mayor’s alleged reply was widely circulated on social networks, prompting Linshui residents to publish online several open letters addressed to the state authorities.

“There are two railways passing through Guangan. We are the only county in the region that has nothing,” one of the letters read.

“The Guangan authorities are taking advantage of their prerogative [as the hometown of Deng]to monopolize resources.”

People signed their names to a massive banner.

A large number of police guard the scene. In late afternoon, Guang’an City special police force use violence to suppress the people of Linshui. Social media is reporting that at least 2 people have been killed and hundreds injured. One of the dead is a 12yr old boy.

The public responds with stones, bricks, sticks. People angered by the repression smashed and burned a lot of police cars. The conflict continued all day and into the night.

Includes video:

http://revolution-news.com/china-massive-protest-in-linshui-intense-repression-and-resistance/

South China Sea: China Says It Will Build Lighthouses on Disputed Islands

August 8, 2014

By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) |

A lighthouse in Jinzhou, China. Photo from the PRC Maritime Safety Administration Wenzhou Office.

MANILA, Philippines – While the Philippines is pushing for a freeze on destabilizing acts in the South China Sea, the Asian giant is reportedly planning to build lighthouses on some islands in the contested waters.

The state-run China News Service (CNS) reported that Beijing has decided on the locations of the lighthouses to be built on five areas in the Paracel (Xisha) Islands, which are also being claimed by Vietnam.

The South China Morning Post reported that the lighthouses are planned for North Reef, Antelope Reef, Drummond Island, South Sand and Pyramid Rock, small islets and reefs with part of their land surface below the waves at high tide.

Citing information from a Navigation Guarantee Center official, CNS reported that technicians have been inspecting the islands since July 27.

CNS added that China has also been conducting measurement of the islands and communication signal tests. It will continue to survey the islands and collect geological samples.

China’s reported move comes as the Philippines seeks to impose a moratorium on construction efforts and other activities that may increase tensions in the disputed sea.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said the Philippines will pursue its proposal in the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Myanmar.

China has rejected the proposed construction freeze, saying it can build whatever it wants. But the Philippines remains unfazed after its moratorium gained the support of three ASEAN members – Vietnam, Brunei and Indonesia.

“Hindi tayo natitinag kung anuman ang pagtanggi na gagawin dito dahil naniniwala tayo na makatuwiran ang ating posisyon,” Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. said at a televised press briefing.

Locked in a long-standing territorial dispute with China, the Philippines has filed an arbitration case in a United Nations tribunal to clarify maritime entitlements in the South China Sea.

But China has also rejected this move by the Philippines as well as protests filed against its land reclamation activities in the Spratlys.

While China has been insisting on bilateral talks to settle the disputes, it has also been conducting provocative activities such as the deployment of an oil rig in waters near Vietnam.

China: Stabbing Rampage at Train Depot “Came Out of Nowhere” — “Terrorist” Uighur “Separatists” From Xinjiang Blamed

March 3, 2014

Photos: Deadly China railway attack

Luggage lies scattered inside the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province, on Saturday, March 1, after an attack left at least 29 dead and more than 100 injured.

(CNN) — Lu Haiyan said the slaughter began while she and a friend were standing in the ticket hall of a Chinese train station.

“Suddenly, many people started running around crazily,” she said on Tencent Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. “We saw two people carrying big cleavers hacking whoever is in the way. They almost got to my back. Then I lost contact with (my friend) and I saw blood splashing in front of me.”

Twenty-nine people were killed and 130 were injured Saturday night when 10 men armed with long knives stormed the station in the southwest Chinese city of Kunming, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Members of a separatist group from Xinjiang, in northwest China, are believed to have carried out the assault, authorities said. The report referred to them as “terrorists.”

Police said they killed at least four attackers and shot and wounded a female suspect. Authorities were searching for other suspects.

The killing spree came out of nowhere.

Yang Haifei, a resident of Yunnan, told Xinhua he was buying a ticket when a group of people, most of them in black, rushed into the station with knives.

“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said, adding that people who were slower were severely injured. “They just fell on the ground.”

He said he sustained injuries to his chest and back.

Lu Haiyan said she ran to the main road.

“I ran to a restaurant already with a full crowd,” she said. “The restaurant owner shut the door for quite some time before reopening it. Both my hands and legs are shaking.”

Xinhua quoted a 50-year-old woman whose older husband was among those killed.

“Why are the terrorists so cruel?” said Chen Guizhen, holding her husband’s bloodied ID card.

In the aftermath, postings on Sina Weibo, another Twitter-like social medium, showed local police patrolling the station, with bodies in blood lying on the ground. Chinese state TV showed investigators putting a knife with a blade at least 2 feet long into an evidence bag.

Mass knife attacks are not unprecedented in China. Some occurred in 2010 and 2012, but the attacks happened at schools and didn’t appear to have political connections.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged law enforcement “to investigate and solve the case and punish the terrorists in accordance with the law,” according to Xinhua.

Xinhua said the Kunming railway station is one of the largest in southwest China.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang asked local authorities to ensure safety at public places, Xinhua reported.

Two weeks ago, 11 “terrorists” died in the Xinjiang region, Xinhua reported.

Frequent outbreaks of violence have beset Xinjiang, a resource-rich area where the arrival of waves of Han Chinese people over the decades has fueled tensions with the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group.

CNN’s Phil Gast contributed to this report.

“China’s 9/11” — Mass Train Station Stabbing Attack Called Terrorism

March 2, 2014

China: The chilling violence at a Chinese train station which left at least 29 people   dead is being seen in China “as a 9/11 style event” says Telegraph’s Tom   Phillips

Officials said a group of knife-wielding “terrorists” from the   restive Xinjiang region launched   a premeditated attack at the Kunming Railway Station in Chinas   southwest on Saturday night. More than 130 people were wounded.

Deadly knife attack in China kills at least 28

Deadly knife attack in China kills at least 28

Armed riot police stood guard as people streamed into the railway station on   Sunday only hours after the attack, one of the worst of its kind in China in   recent memory.

Police shot four of the attackers dead and captured one, state news agency   Xinhua reported. About five others were on the run, it said.

Xinhua quoted the Kunming city government as saying evidence at the crime   scene showed the attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces.

Word of the violence spread quickly, with graphic pictures that showed bodies   covered in blood posted to the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo    – posts that were later deleted by government censors. State television   showed police wrapping a long, sword-like knife in a plastic bag.

Shop and restaurant workers said hundreds of people had fled into their stores   seeking refuge.

Scores of patients from the attack spilt into corridors from overflowing wards   at Kunming’s No 1 People’s Hospital where they were being treated. In the   neurosurgery department, several patients had head injuries.

China’s domestic security chief, Meng Jianzhu, vowed   those responsible would be brought to justice.

Telegraph’s Tom Phillips reporting from the scene said the attack recalled the   fear and chaos felt after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York   on 11 September 2001.

“This is very much being seen here as a 9/11 style event. It’s by far   the worse incident of its kind in China and it will have a huge impact on   what will happen here,” he said.

Source: APTN and Reuters

Includes video:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10671058/Train-station-mass-stabbing-attack-was-Chinas-911.html

Related:

Paramilitary policemen patrol with guns after a knife attack along a street near Kunming railway station in Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. REUTERS-Wong Campion
Paramilitary policemen patrol with guns after a knife attack along a street near Kunming railway station in Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Wong Campion
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An injured man is pushed at a hospital after a knife attack at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 1, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer
 An injured man is pushed at a hospital after a knife attack at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 1, 2014.   Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

China: Train Station Knife Attack Kills 29 — Fear and chaos, government blames “terrorists”

March 2, 2014

By Maxim Duncan and James Pomfret

KUNMING, China          Sun Mar 2, 2014 7:26am EST

Paramilitary policemen with guns stand guard after a knife attack at a crossroads near Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. REUTERS-Wong Campion
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Paramilitary policemen with guns stand guard after a knife attack at a crossroads near Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 2, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Wong Campion

KUNMING, China (Reuters) – Witnesses to chilling violence at a Chinese train station placed under heavy security on Sunday recalled moments of fear and chaos after at least 29 people were killed in what authorities called a terrorist attack by Xinjiang militants.

Officials said a group of knife-wielding “terrorists” from the restive Xinjiang region launched a premeditated attack at the Kunming Railway Station in China’s southwest on Saturday night. More than 130 people were wounded.

Armed riot police stood guard as people streamed into the railway station on Sunday only hours after the attack, one of the worst of its kind in China in recent memory.

Standing near shops about 50 meters from the site, a parking attendant surnamed Chen said he could not believe what was happening when he saw the attackers.

“I walked out and I saw a person with a knife this big, Chen said, spreading his arms wide.

“Then I saw five or six of them. They all had knives and they were stabbing people madly over by the first and second ticket offices,” he said.

Police shot four of the attackers dead and captured one, state news agency Xinhua reported. About five others were on the run, it said.

Xinhua quoted the Kunming city government as saying evidence at the crime scene showed the attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces.

The attack comes at a sensitive time as China gears up for the annual meeting of its largely rubber-stamp parliament, which opens in Beijing on Wednesday and is normally accompanied by a tightening of security across the country.

Word of the violence spread quickly, with graphic pictures that showed bodies covered in blood posted to the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo – posts that were later deleted by government censors. State television showed police wrapping a long, sword-like knife in a plastic bag.

Shop and restaurant workers said hundreds of people had fled into their stores seeking refuge.

“Last night everyone ran over into my supermarket. The supermarket was full of people, including two passengers who had been stabbed,” Ren Guangqin said inside his supermarket.

“I was terrified. They were killing people. How could I not be scared?” said 28-year-old Ren.

‘MOSTLY THEY WENT FOR THE HEAD AND SHOULDERS’

Scores of patients from the attack spilled into corridors from overflowing wards at Kunming’s No. 1 People’s Hospital where they were being treated. In the neurosurgery department, several patients had head injuries.

A 20-year-old university student, Wu Yuheng, said the attackers had tried to target people’s heads. One had swiped his long knife and just nicked him on the scalp.

“I was terrified … they attacked us like crazy swordsmen, and mostly they went for the head and the shoulders, those parts of the body to kill,” he said, laying on a hospital bed in a hallway close to the elevators.

“This attack has caused great harm to innocent people but I think before we are sure about the identity of the attackers, we shouldn’t make wild guesses on who to blame.”

China’s domestic security chief, Meng Jianzhu, vowed those responsible would be brought to justice.

“This brutal attack on defenseless, innocent people by violent terrorists devoid of conscience exposes their inhuman and anti-social nature,” Xinhua quoted Meng as saying.

“They inevitably will face the severe punishment of the law. We must mobilize all resources and adopt all means to break this case,” Meng said, echoing comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Meng, who is also a member of the ruling Communist Party’s elite 25-member Politburo, made an emergency trip to Kunming, visiting the train station and wounded victims in hospital.

The attack marked a major escalation in the simmering unrest that had centered on Xinjiang, a heavily Muslim region in China’s far west strategically located on the borders of Central Asia.

It is the first time people from Xinjiang have been blamed for carrying out such a large-scale attack so far from their homeland, and follows a smaller incident in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in October that shook the Communist Party leadership.

China stepped up security in Xinjiang after a vehicle ploughed into tourists on the edge of Tiananmen Square, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders. China labeled it a suicide attack by militants from Xinjiang.

Energy-rich Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, many of whom chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture and religion, borders ex-Soviet Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, is hundreds of miles from Xinjiang and has little connection to the violence there that has killed more than 100 people in the past year.

“China must handle the incident transparently and not let it become a new political excuse to oppress Uighurs,” Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the main Uighur exile group, the World Uyghur Congress, said in an emailed statement.

“Serious discrimination and oppressive policies lead to psychological trauma that could provoke victims to adopt extreme measures,” he said, adding that there were “no reasonable grounds” for the attack.

China bristles at suggestions from exiles and rights groups that the unrest is driven more by unhappiness at government policies than by any serious threat from extremist groups who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

One 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 PLA Navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo as saying.

(For a graphic on Kunming, click:

link.reuters.com/zek37v)

(Additional reporting by Chen Aizhu and Megha Rajagopalan in BEIJING, Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Paul Tait and Simon Cameron-Moore)

Paramilitary policemen patrol with guns after a knife attack along a street near Kunming railway station in Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. REUTERS-Wong Campion
Paramilitary policemen patrol with guns after a knife attack along a street near Kunming railway station in Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Wong Campion
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An injured man is pushed at a hospital after a knife attack at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 1, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer
 An injured man is pushed at a hospital after a knife attack at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 1, 2014.   Credit: REUTERS/Stringer
Police stand near luggages left at the ticket office after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 2, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer
Police stand near luggages left at the ticket office after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, March 2, 2014.  Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Knife attack in southern China leaves 29 people dead and 130 wounded — “They pulled long knives and began slashing at people”

March 2, 2014

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Outside a railway station in Kunming in southwestern China, where assailants killed at least 27 people and wounded 106.  Credit  Chinatopix, via Associated Press

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By CHRIS BUCKLEY
The New York Times

HONG KONG — A group of assailants wielding knives stormed into a railway station in southwestern China on Saturday, slashing employees and commuters and leaving at least 29 people dead and 130 wounded, according to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. The local government indicated that the attackers were Uighur separatists seeking an independent homeland in the Xinjiang region in China’s far west.

The attack, in Yunnan Province, was far from Xinjiang, and if carried out by members of the largely Muslim Uighur minority could imply that the volatile tensions between them and the government might be spilling beyond that restive region.

The violence erupted about 9 p.m. in the city of Kunming, when the assailants, all wearing similar clothing, entered the square in front of the station as well as a ticket sales hall, according to the official Yunnan news service.

“According to eyewitnesses, the group of males held knives and all wore the same black clothing,” said the China News Service, another state-run news agency. “They slashed at whoever they saw, and at the scene there were many people injured.” Photographs circulated by Chinese news websites, which they said were taken after the attack, showed men and women sprawled and bleeding.

If the Kunming government’s account is correct, the attack would be the worst violence outside of Xinjiang to stem from discontent by Uighurs over what they call repression by the country’s Han Chinese majority. The central government in Beijing said Uighur separatists were behind a small but dramatic attack in October near Tiananmen Square, when a vehicle plowed into a crowd, killing two tourists and injuring dozens. Three people in the vehicle also died.

The latest attack appears certain to prompt the authorities to increase the already heavy security across Xinjiang, which could deepen the divide between Uighurs and Han Chinese there that has been fueling violence in the region. News reports on Saturday did not identify the attackers, but on Sunday the Kunming government said that there was evidence at the scene “showing that this was an act of violent terror planned and organized by Xinjiang separatists,” according to Xinhua. Although the government’s statement did not say the attackers were Uighurs, it contained language often used to refer to members of the minority group.

Many Uighurs resent the government’s controls on their religious life and say the growing presence of Han Chinese people in Xinjiang has deprived them of jobs, land and opportunities. The authorities have consistently blamed violence there on extremist groups inspired and organized from abroad. Advocates of Uighur self-determination have said the Chinese government’s own repressive policies have seeded the violence.

After the slashing attack, President Xi Jinping of China said the government would “sternly punish the terrorists according to the law and resolutely put down their arrogant audacity.”

The Ministry of Public Security issued a statement vowing that there would be no mercy for the assailants. “No matter what the motive of the perpetrators, to spill innocent blood is to become an enemy of all decency under heaven,” the statement said.

According to an article in The Beijing News, a student who witnessed the attack, Wang Dinggeng, said the assailants included women. They pulled long knives from underneath their garments and began slashing at people.

“Inside the hall,” Mr. Wang said, “there were still many people lined up to buy tickets, and the people outside came pouring in saying, ‘Murder!’ ”

David Barboza contributed reporting from Shanghai.

A version of this article appears in print on March 2, 2014, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Attackers With Knives Kill 29 at Chinese Rail Station.

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The Associated Press Posted: Mar 01, 2014 10:37 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 02, 2014 1:17 AM ET

Deadly knife attack in China kills at least 28

Deadly knife attack in China kills at least 28

More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China in what state media said Sunday was a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists from the far west. Twenty-nine slash victims and four attackers were killed and 143 people wounded.

Police fatally shot four of the assailants, captured one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. State broadcaster CCTV said two of the attackers were women — one of the slain and the one who was captured and later brought to a hospital for treatment.

Witnesses described assailants dressed in black storming the train station and slashing people indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man cut another man’s neck, drawing blood.

“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

Uighur separatists blamed

The attackers’ identities have not been confirmed, but evidence at the scene showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying.

Xinhua said that in addition to the four attackers killed, 29 civilians were confirmed dead and 143 wounded.

CHINA-ATTACK/Police patrol on a street after a group of armed men attacked people at Kunming railway station, Yunnan province, on March 1, 2014. At least 27 people were killed in the attack, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said. (Wong Campion/Reuters)

​The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by some members of the Muslim Uighur population, and the government has responded with heavy-handed security.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are frequent, but Saturday’s assault happened more than 1,000 kilometres to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on three ethnic Uighurs that killed five people including the attackers at Be last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets elsewhere in China.

Sean Roberts, a cultural anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied Uighurs and China for two decades, said the Kunming violence would be a new kind of attack for ethnic Uighurs — premeditated and outside Xinjiang — but still rudimentary in weaponry.

“If it is true that it was carried out by Uighurs, it’s much different than anything we’ve seen to date,” Roberts said in a telephone interview.

But he added that it was still unclear if there is any organized Uighur militant group and that attacks so far do not appear linked to any “global terrorist network because we’re not seeing things like sophisticated explosives or essentially sophisticated tactics.”

Political impact

In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack — one of China’s deadliest in recent years — the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded, Xinhua reported.

The violence in Kunming came at a sensitive time as political leaders in Beijing prepared for Wednesday’s opening of the annual legislature where the government of President Xi Jinping will deliver its first one-year work report.

Xi called for “all-out efforts” to bring the culprits to justice. In a statement, the Security Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security said that police will “crack down the crimes in accordance with the law without any tolerance.”

Willy Lam, a political observer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the attack coming so close to the annual National People’s Congress dented Xi’s message of a “Chinese Dream” coalescing under his rule.

“Pockets of dissatisfaction, groups of people with grievances, appear to be increasing. After 1 1/2 years of more heavy-handed control (in Xinjiang), the report card does not look good,” Lam said.

The attack was the deadliest violence attributed to Uighur-Han conflicts since riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in 2009, in which Uighurs stormed the streets of the city, targeting Han people in seemingly random violence that included killing women and children. A few days later Han vigilante mobs armed with sticks and bats attacked Uighurs in the same city. Nearly 200 people died.

China Security Chief Says East Turkestan Muslim Group Behind Tiananmen Attack

November 1, 2013

Tiananmen Square

Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Oct. 28, 2013.  AFP/Getty Images

By Bloomberg News – Nov 1, 2013 – 0500

The people in a vehicle that crashed near Tiananmen Square this week, leaving five dead, had links to a Uighur militant group in Central Asia, China’s security chief Meng Jianzhu said in an interview with Phoenix Television.

China should take a firmer stance against terrorism, Meng said during a meeting yesterday of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, according to a video report on Phoenix TV’s website.

“This violent terrorist attack that happened in Beijing is an organized, pre-meditated activity,” Meng, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, told Phoenix TV. “The instigator behind the scenes is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorist organization that is entrenched in Central and Western Asia.”

Three people have died and 11 left injured after a vehicle crashed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and burst into flames

Three people died and 11 were left injured after a vehicle crashed in Tiananmen Square in Beijing Photo: Youtube

The remarks are the first official connection China has made between the Oct. 28 crash and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM. Police found knives and religious material in the sport-utility vehicle that had license plates from the restive western region of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Xinjiang has experienced sporadic protests by ethnic Uighurs against Chinese rule.

The SUV was driven by a man whose mother and wife were inside when it crashed near Tiananmen Square, Xinhua reported. The incident left all three plus two tourists from the Philippines and the Chinese province of Guangdong dead.

Xinjiang Violence

The ETIM was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2002. It was founded by Hasan Mahsum from Xinjiang, who was killed by Pakistani troops in October 2003, according to the United Nations. China blamed an outbreak of violence in Xinjiang in 2011 on fighters who had trained at ETIM camps in Pakistan.

There is not a lot of evidence that ETIM is a tightly centralized organization, Phil Potter, an assistant professor at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, said by phone today.

“I don’t think that as we understand it that the attack looks like it has the hallmarks of a co-ordinated, centralized, sophisticated terrorist attack in the mold of things we would expect from al-Qaeda,” he said.

Knives Found

Police also found knives and at least one “jihad” flag in the temporary residence of five suspects it detained after the attack, Xinhua reported Oct. 30.

While about 90 percent of China’s population is ethnic Han, more than 40 percent of Xinjiang’s 22 million people are Uighurs, some of whom have protested the government’s decades-long policy of encouraging Han migration to the area, as well as restrictions on religious freedom. Xinjiang was the scene of clashes in 2009 between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority and Han that left almost 200 people dead.

Chinese troops are ready when necessary to act against terrorist activities, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters yesterday, the China News Service said today.

The ETIM has links to other terror groups and has spread “violent and terrorist thoughts,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said today in response to a question about the incident. “It is China’s most direct and real security threat,” she told reporters in Beijing.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Henry Sanderson in Beijing at  hsanderson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at  rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

Related;

China’s first lady serenaded Tiananmen troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing

March 28, 2013

By GILLIAN WONG | Associated Press 

A computer screen shows websites displaying an undated photo of China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days singing to martial law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 28, 2013. The photo appeared online this week but was swiftly scrubbed from China’s Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image - seen and shared by outside observers - revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

A computer screen shows websites displaying an undated photo of China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days singing to martial law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 28, 2013. The photo appeared online this week but was swiftly scrubbed from China’s Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image – seen and shared by outside observers – revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) — A photo of China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to martial-law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace this week.

It was swiftly scrubbed from China’s Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image — seen and shared by outside observers — revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China.

The country has no recent precedent for the role of first lady, and also faces a tricky balance at home. The leadership wants Peng to show the human side of the new No. 1 leader, Xi Jinping, while not exposing too many perks of the elite. And it must balance popular support for the first couple with an acute wariness of personality cults that could skew the consensus rule among the Chinese Communist Party’s top leaders.

The image of Peng in a green military uniform, her windswept hair tied back in a ponytail as she sings to helmeted and rifle-bearing troops seated in rows on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, contrasts with her appearances this week in trendy suits and coiffed hair while touring Russia and Africa with Xi, waving to her enthusiastic hosts.

“I think that we have a lot of people hoping that because Xi Jinping walks around without a tie on and his wife is a singer who travels with him on trips that maybe we’re dealing with a new kind of leader, but I think these images remind people that this is the same party,” said Kelley Currie, a China human rights expert for the pro-democracy Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

“It’s using some new tools and new techniques, for the same purposes: to preserve its own power.”

Peng, 50, a major general in the People’s Liberation Army who is best known for soaring renditions of patriotic odes to the military and the party, kept a low profile in recent years as her husband prepared to take over as Communist Party chief. Her re-emergence has been accompanied by a blitz in domestic, state-run media hailing her beauty and charm, in a bid to harness the singer’s popularity to build support for Xi at home and abroad.

“Peng Liyuan: Let the world appreciate the beauty of China,” declared the headline of a China News Service commentary that said the first lady’s elegant manners, conversation and clothing would highlight Chinese culture. Her presence on diplomatic trips would demystify the first family for the Chinese public, the commentary said.

Chinese First Lady, Madame Peng Liyuan, left,, waves as she is accompanied by Tanzanian First Lady, Salma Kikwete, right, at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Sunday March 24, 2013. Liyuan is accompanying her husband, Chinese President in his first African tour since he became president of the second largest economy in the world. (AP Photo/ Khalfan Said)

China’s first lady Peng Liyuan has become an  instant Internet sensation back home as she steps into the international limelight while accompanying her husband President Xi Jinping on his  travels abroad.

However, the government is stepping into little-charted and possibly treacherous waters for China.

In 1963, the glamorous Wang Guangmei, wife of President Liu Shaoqi, wore a tightfitting qipao dress to a state banquet in Indonesia. When the political tides turned against Liu four years later, radical Red Guards forced Wang to don the same dress and paraded her through the streets as a shameful example of capitalist corruption.

Revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, played a key role in the same radical campaign in which political opponents were mercilessly persecuted; after his death, she was put on trial and imprisoned, then moved to a hospital where she hanged herself.

The lifespan of Peng’s Tiananmen image in the finicky world of the Chinese Internet has so far been short, and she remains a beloved household name with huge domestic popularity. The photo has circulated mainly on Twitter, which is blocked in China. The few posts on popular domestic microblogs did not evade censors for long.

Many young Chinese are unaware that on June 3 and 4, 1989, military troops crushed weekslong pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing with force, killing hundreds, possibly thousands, of people. Those who do know about the assault tend to be understanding of Peng’s obligations as a member of a performance troupe in the all-powerful People’s Liberation Army. At the time, her husband Xi was party chief of an eastern city.

“The photo probably has a negative impact more so internationally than domestically,” said Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at City University of Hong Kong. He said more scrutiny of Peng is likely and such images could raise questions about Xi’s interest in reforms.

“It has been several months now that Xi Jinping has assumed the top leadership role and certainly, we have found no indicator that he is interested in this stage to push serious political reform.”

The image is a snapshot of the back cover of a 1989 issue of a publicly available military magazine, the PLA Pictorial, according to Sun Li, a Chinese reporter who said he had taken a photo of it on his cell phone several years ago when it was inadvertently posted on his microblog. Sun said he quickly deleted it and had no idea how it resurfaced on the Internet years later.

Microblog users can easily save images and recirculate them even after the original posts have been deleted. The picture spread further after it was tweeted by the U.S.-based China Digital Times, which tracks Chinese online media.

Warren Sun, a Chinese military historian at Monash University in Australia, said he had little doubt about the authenticity of the image, citing a 1992 academic report as saying that after the crackdown, Peng performed a song titled “The Most Beloved People” in a salute to martial law troops.

While most of her army career has been in singing, the militaristic overtones of many of Peng’s public appearances set her apart from Michelle Obama, former French first lady Carla Bruni and most of their counterparts in other countries. But for Peng, the Tiananmen photo was no one-off: She has been in the military since age 18 and has fronted TV music videos featuring dancing lines of men with combat fatigues and heavy weaponry.

She also starred in a song-and-dance number in 2007 that has perky women in Tibetan garb sashaying behind her while she sings an ode to the army that invaded Tibet in 1959. “Who is going to liberate us? It’s the dear PLA!” go some of the lyrics. The video has provoked severe criticism from Tibetan rights groups.

In an indication of Peng’s appeal in China despite her past, a man whose 19-year-old son was killed in the Tiananmen crackdown said he bears no grudges against her.

“If I had known about this back then, I would have been very disgusted by it. But now, looking at it objectively, it’s all in the past,” said Wang Fandi, whose son Wang Nan died from a bullet wound to his head. “She was in the establishment. If the military wanted her to perform, she had to go. What else could she do?”

Wang was a teacher at the China Conservatory of Music when Peng had been sent there by the military to study singing in her 20s. Though he never taught her directly, Wang had known who she was and describes her as being modest, a talented folk singer and an outstanding student.

“When I look back at history, I will look at it from other perspectives,” Wang said. “Even if she had done something wrong, we shouldn’t make a fuss about it. What’s important is what happens in the future.”

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Follow Gillian Wong on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gillianwong