KUNMING, China: Chinese police have captured three suspects in a railway station attack that killed 29 people and injured 143, state media said Monday, in an incident blamed on Xinjiang militants that triggered fear and fury.
Altogether eight members of a “terrorist gang” carried out the stabbing spree late Saturday, it said.
Four were shot dead by police at the time and a wounded woman was captured at the scene, it continued, naming their leader as Abdurehim Kurban.
China has blamed separatists from its restive far-western region of Xinjiang – home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority – for what it describes as an act of terror, with state media dubbing the incident “China’s 9/11.”
With 20 of the 143 wounded in the attack still in a “critical condition,” according to state media late Monday, defiant Kunming residents queued to donate blood for victims, while others vented their anger.
And Chinese Internet users accused the U.S. of double standards, after Washington condemned the bloody rampage by knife-wielding attackers but refrained from calling it a terrorist incident.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that “some East Turkestan flags were found on the scene,” referring to a group Beijing regards as a separatist terrorist movement.
Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix TV showed images of a dark blue flag embroidered with the Islamic declaration of faith, said to have been found by police.
In Kunming a taxi driver said she would stay away from the train station where the violence occurred, underscoring the tense sense of fear in the southwestern city.
She then launched into an anti-Uighur tirade. “I won’t let them into my taxi. They are all drug addicts and everyone outside Xinjiang distrusts them,” she said. “They are trouble. Most people thought like this before, so you can imagine what people think now.”