Asia Pacific

Car bomber dies, at least three hurt in attack on Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan

Kyodo

A suspected suicide bomber on Tuesday rammed a car through the entrance of the Chinese Embassy in the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, injuring at least three people, with both countries describing it as a terrorist attack.

The three people at the embassy sustained minor injuries by the morning attack and China has already asked Kyrgyzstan authorities to “quickly get to the bottom of the incident,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.

“China is deeply shocked by this and strongly condemn this extreme and violent act,” Hua said, adding that no organization has yet claimed responsibility, when asked if Beijing deems the explosion as a terrorist attack.

The ministry, however, released a statement Tuesday night saying that it was a “serious terrorist attack” and China will “resolutely combat all forms of terrorism.”

It did not explain why the bombing should be regarded as a terrorist attack.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said in its report from Bishkek that the explosion killed the unidentified assailant and hurt a total of five people — two security guards and three local people working at the embassy.

Xinhua said the blast caused damage to the embassy’s entrance and wall, as well as buildings next to it.

The attack occurred as China is preparing for a two-day summit of the Group of 20 major economies in the eastern city of Hangzhou, which will start Sunday.

Attacks on Chinese diplomatic missions are not very common.

Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked Central Asian country, borders China’s restive northwestern province of Xinjiang, which is home to the largely Muslim Uyghur population and has been beset by violence in recent years.

About 75 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s population is also Muslim and some 50,000 Uyghurs are believed to be living in the former Soviet republic.

Chinese authorities have blamed a Uyghur separatist group for the outbreaks of violence in the Xinjiang region and other parts of the country.

But many Uyghurs argue that the root cause of the unrest is Chinese authorities’ high-handed and discriminatory policies toward ethnic minorities, as well as restrictions on religious freedom and cultural suppression.

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