Much has been said these last few days of the train station assault in Kunming this past weekend; I have little to add. However, I want to make mention of Saturday night’s attack since I am currently in Kunming and actually heard shots/bangs (of some sort), from my bedroom, at the time that the event took place. Having experienced two weeks of Chinese Spring Festival fireworks and firecrackers, I knew that the sounds I heard were not of that ilk. I listened for sirens but did not hear any, so my moment of concern was short-lived. I was quite surprised and horrified to hear about what occurred Saturday night when I woke up on Sunday and received emails of concern from friends and family. These last few days, Kunming has seen an increase in police presence with guns. In this city it is common, here, to see police on almost every other corner (vans, or little cubicles are permanently posted at these sites). At night now, the lights have been flashing so that people may easily access them should there be a need/emergency. Today, Chinese state-run media has reported that all eight suspects have been arrested or killed. None-the-less, security is still stepped up and SWAT teams continue to patrol certain Kunming streets.
The Chinese government is blaming the Uighur (Muslim) community. I realise relations between the Han majority, who dominate this country, and the Uighur minority from the western province of Xinjiang is not easy. When I asked a local Muslim restaurant owner if his resto would remain open during the Chinese Spring Festival he said, “Of course! We never celebrate the Chinese holidays.” At that moment, I understood there might be animosity between the peoples. Regardless of who is to blame for this weekend’s attack, here is a link that may be of interest with background information about the Uighurs and the Chinese Han: http://chinachange.org/2014/03/03/excerpts-from-my-west-china-your-east-turkestan-my-view-on-the-kunming-incident/