BEIJING – A deadly knife attack at a Chinese train station last week should not be linked to ethnicity, a senior government official said, days after authorities blamed the incident on separatists from its troubled Xinjiang region.
China says militants from Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, launched a “terrorist” attack in the southwestern city of Kunming, killing at least 29 people and injuring 143. It was one of the worst bouts of violence to spill out of the restive region, where more than 100 people, including several policemen, have been killed in unrest since last April.
Fear and resentment between majority Han Chinese and Uighurs have spread since the attack, said Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs panel of the top advisory body to parliament, which is meeting this week in Beijing.
“Such sentiments — although not widespread — deserve our attention,” Zhu told the official China Daily, adding that the “overwhelming majority of the migrant Uighurs from Xinjiang are good people.”
“Most Uighurs are with us in the fight against separatism and violent terrorism,” he said in an interview in the English-language newspaper published Thursday. “They sincerely support the central government.”
The comments highlight Beijing’s concern over the growing frictions between Uighurs and Han Chinese and the potential for further unrest as discrimination rises.
Beijing has not explicitly accused Uighurs of carrying out the Kunming station attack, but by calling the perpetrators Xinjiang extremists the implication was clear.
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