Many are hailing the recent March 1st terrorist attacks on a railway station in Kunming “China’s 9/11”. And while this may prove to be the most grotesque attack, it is not the first instance of terrorism.
With 29 people stabbed to death and 140 others injured at the railway station attack, China can no longer hide the true issue. Government authorities have refused to take any responsibility on previous attacks, blaming outside sources or even withholding details from the public.
This attack, and most previous terrorist attacks, has been attributed to Xinjiang separatists. Xinjiang is a region in Northwestern China made up of Uighur Muslims. It makes of 1/6th of China’s entire empire.
China claims Xinjiang has been a part of China for 2,000 years, but history tells a different story.
In the mid-18th century the Qing dynasty attempted to incorporate these lands into the Chinese Empire, but Xianjiang, meaning “new frontier” fought back.
In the 1940s Xianjiang achieved a short moment of independence as East Turkestan, but in 1949 Communists forced their integration into China once again.
That integration developed into oppression when the Communists started restricting Muslims’ right to fast during Ramadan, teach religion to their children, and use the Uighur language.
Xinjiang isn’t the only Chinese colony facing oppression though; Tibet has long faced China’s discrimination. But the Dalai Lama’s influence has kept Tibet’s protests small, whereas Xinjiang’s are growing to branch out into Eastern China.
The most recent attack on the railway station shows another radical transition from attacks on government authority symbols to civilians, one that must be regarded as a serious warning sign.
The expansion of attacks into Eastern China locations like Kunming show the need for increased security, and more importantly a change in policy towards China’s minorities.
If China does not react to this recent, most brutal attack on civilians then it will only face another 9/11 in the future.