Xi’an, China: The Great Tower of Textbooks

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A café in the central Chinese city of Xi’an has become a place of pilgrimage for students after its owner installed a giant artwork made of books as a symbol of the crushing workload that many of China’s schools impose on youngsters. At 7.5 meters tall with a diameter of 1.5 meters, the hollow edifice is made of over four tons of unwanted textbooks bought by Li from a nearby university. Read the rest of this entry »


China Faces its Own ‘War on Terror’

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Victor Zhikai Gao is director of China National Association of International Studies. He was a former employee of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as English interpreter for Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s.

For CNNVictor Gao writes: For many decades, unlike their counterparts in many Western countries, Chinese police did not carry guns. Even the armed police in China, charged mainly with guarding foreign embassies, government buildings and important facilities, would normally only carry unloaded guns, keeping the bullets separate.

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A police officer firing a gun was a rarity, because China was a safe country.

Recently, however, a major shift is occurring that is significantly changing the landscape, as China faces its own “war on terror.”

With the war in Afghanistan winding down, there has been an intensification of terrorist attacks in China. Most bear the same tell-tale fingerprints. They originate from China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which borders Afghanistan, and are perpetuated by extremists from China’s Uyghur minority, a mainly Turkic-speaking Muslim population.

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They aim to indiscriminately kill innocent, unarmed people in public places, demonstrating a complete disregard for human life. Read the rest of this entry »


Shock and Mourning as China Absorbs the Full Horror of Islamist Train Station Stabbing Rampage

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Mourning: People turned out in their droves to lay candles for the 29 murdered in Kunming station

Mourners and volunteers descended on Kunming today after knife-wielding attackers killed 29 people in a frenzied rampage.

By Mia De Graaf and Dan Bloom and Kieran Corcoran

The killers, four of whom were shot by armed police, launched the horrific slaughter at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province at around 9pm local time yesterday.

“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.”

Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor in the wake of what authorities termed an ‘organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack’.

More than 130 people were injured in the frenzied attack last night, which has left China shaken

More than 130 people were injured in the frenzied attack last night, which has left China shaken

It is a small step towards comprehending the atrocity as officials try to uncover who was behind it

It is a small step towards comprehending the atrocity as officials try to uncover who was behind it

Earlier, volunteers descended on the city’s hospitals in Yunnan province to give blood for the 130 wounded

Today, hospitals were filled with citizens giving blood as dozens remain in a critical state.

Outside, candles were laid in heart shapes as the nation absorbs the shock of the event.

It is believed that more than 10 people took part in the attack. As well as the four who were shot yesterday, one was taken alive. The rest are still being hunted.

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Massacre: China Blames Separatists for Knife Attack; 33 Dead, 130 Injured

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KUNMING, China (AP) – More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China, drawing police fire, in what authorities called a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists based in the far west, state media said Sunday. Thirty-three people were killed and 130 wounded.

china-knife-medicPolice fatally shot four of the assailants , arrested 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. Witnesses described attackers dressed in black storming the train station and attacking people indiscriminately.

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 slash 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.”

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The attackers’ identities were not yet confirmed, but evidence at the scene of the attack showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying. Authorities considered it to be “an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack.”

The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by separatists china-knife-victimsamong parts of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population.

Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are also frequent. Saturday’s assault took place more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.

However, a suicide car attack blamed on Uighur separatists that killed five people at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets throughout the country.

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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 morning and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded and their families, Xinhua reported.

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