THE US state department has described a knife attack which killed 29 people in China’s Kunming city as “an act of terrorism”.
The statement comes after Chinese state-run media accused US officials of double standards for its initial reluctance to use the phrase. They also accused western media of bias for not using the word “terrorist” in reports of Saturday’s attack.
Officials have blamed separatists from Xinjiang for the attack.
Eight attackers stabbed people at random in the south-western city’s railway station, and 29 people were killed. More than 1,328 people were wounded during the attack and 20 remain in a critical condition, Chinese state media said last night.
Four attackers were shot dead by police at the scene and an injured female suspect was detained. Three other suspects were arrested on Monday.
State-run news agency Xinhua said a number of western countries used “double standards in the global fight against terrorism” by not referring to the attack in China as “terrorism”.
“Behind its wording is the entrenched US belief that the Xinjiang murderers were the ‘ethnically oppressed seeking autonomy’,” it said.
However, US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki later said the violence in Kunming “appears to be an act of terrorism targeting random members of the public”.
Saturday’s attack and an incident last year in which a car ploughed into pedestrians in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square have been attributed to separatists from the far-western region of Xinjiang.
Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia, is home to the Uighurs – a Muslim minority group who in recent years have lived increasingly uneasily with rising numbers of Han Chinese migrants.