20 August 2019
Blood is seen on the ground outside after a knife attack at Kunming railway station


In one of the most horrific acts of terror in China in recent years, a group of about 10 knife-wielding assailants went on a rampage at a train station in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, over the weekend, killing at least 29 people and injuring another 130. 

The incident, which took place at about 9 pm on March 1, was described by the state Xinhua news agency as an “organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack”, and came as top officials were gearing up for the “two meetings” — the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) plenums — in Beijing this week.

Police shot four killers and caught one person involved in the deadly attack, Xinhua said. While there was no immediate word on the identity of the assailants, reports suggested that the attack was organized by a group linked to Islamic militants waging a separatist battle in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

President Xi Jinping {習近平}, who is also the chairman of the newly-established National Security Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), ordered the national security department to crack down and severely punish the attackers. Premier Li Keqiang {李克強} ordered the Yunnan provincial government to help the victims and beef up local security to prevent such incidents in future.

Meng Jianzhu {孟建柱}, secretary of the CPC’s Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, arrived in Kunming to push forward the investigation into the attack.

Although it is hard to figure out the reason for the attack at the moment, observers point out that it comes at a sensitive time as the CPPCC, a top political advisory body, will begin a plenum on Monday and the NPC, China’s parliament, will open a session on Wednesday.

The attack is likely to hurt investor sentiment and the local economy in Yunnan province, which has a key role in boosting trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), observers say. As the incident may also have adverse impact on other provinces such as Sichuan and Guizhou and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, the central government may have to boost its anti-terrorism budget and strengthen efforts to enhance national security.

On Dec. 30 last year, police shot dead eight attackers armed with explosives and knives in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, which is home to ethnic Uighurs. Nine assailants hurled explosive devices at a police station in the Kashgar county of Yarkand, media reports said at that time. One person was detained. The latest attack in Kunming will only add to the worries of China’s leaders about the internal security situation. 

Official urges insider trading compensation system

China should take steps to establish a system to compensate victims of insider trading, the China Securities Journal cited Hou Wailin, chief of the Guangdong office of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, as saying. The steps include a clearer judicial definition by the Supreme Court of civil liabilities in the use of inside or undisclosed information for trading purposes, and who should receive related compensation. China imposes administrative and criminal penalties for insider trading but has yet to introduce a system of civil compensation.

Market approach eyed in technology allocation

China’s top political advisory body said the government will adopt a market approach to allocating technology resources, Shanghai Securities News reported Monday. This includes less government intervention and increased funding for universities and research institutes. Also, the government will create national-level laboratories and set up information sharing systems across government departments, the report said.

–Contact HKEJ at [email protected]



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