Uighur children play near a cage protecting heavily armed Chinese paramilitary policemen on duty in Urumqi in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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Recent deadly attacks in China that have been blamed on Islamist extremists are getting bolder and bloodier, targeting civilians rather than the authorities and further challenging Beijing's ability to stop them.The latest attack at a train station Wednesday in the far-western region of Xinjiang – where extremists among the Turkic Uighur Muslim population have been waging a simmering insurgency against Beijing for years – left three people dead and 79 injured, prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping to demand "decisive actions" against terrorism. Prior to that, in March, five knife-wielding men and women believed to be Uighurs slashed at crowds indiscriminately at a railway station in southwestern China, killing 29 people. And last year, three Uighurs rammed a vehicle into crowds in a suicide attack near the Forbidden City gate in the heart of Beijing, killing themselves and two tourists. While these attacks are still relatively crude and bear little sign of specialized training, they seem to have an audaciousness and deliberateness that wasn't present before, said Andrew Small, an expert on China and Central Asia at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C.
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