A band of 10 or more people wearing black face masks and brandishing long knives walked into a busy train station in southwestern China on Saturday night and began to indiscriminately attack civilians. Police soon began to fire on the assailants, and within a few minutes at least 29 people were dead. At least 130 people injured in the attack were brought to hospitals across Kunming, capital city of Yunnan province, where the rampage occurred. As of Sunday evening in China, about half of the assailants are believed to still be at large.
State media have already labeled the assault a terrorist attack and referred to the incident as “China’s ‘9/11.’” Although no details about the identities of individual assailants have been released, state-run newswire Xinhua attributed the massacre to “terrorists from Xinjiang,” the far western territory where Uighur minority people have long chafed at Beijing’s rule and resent the apparent economic privileges, such as preferential hiring, afforded to recent Han Chinese arrivals in the region. Periodic violence in Xinjiang–often involving Uighurs attacking police stations, and police responding with lethal force–is all too common.