Skip to main content

3 killed, 79 hurt in blast, knife attack at China train station

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 12:14 AM EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: President Xi -- who was visiting region -- urges "decisive actions" against terror attacks
  • NEW: Station reopens 2 hours after blast, as passengers return as armed police watched
  • The explosion happened at an exit to a train station in Urumqi in China's restive northwest
  • There have been tensions between Uyghurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang

(CNN) -- Three people died and 79 others were injured, four seriously, in a suspected terror attack Wednesday in China's restive northwestern region.

The incident spurred the nation's President Xi Jinping -- who was completing a four-day tour to the area -- to vow action against separatist attacks, state news reported.

An explosion rocked the South Railway Station of Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, followed by a knife attack at the same location.

Xinhua announced the casualty toll via Twitter early Thursday, as well as Xi's urging "decisive actions" in response.

"The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," state-owned media reported Xi as saying.

Xinhua, quoting police, also said "knife-wielding mobs" attacked people at one of the station's exits following the blast, which occurred around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Police evacuated people from the square in front of the station, deployed armed officers and cordoned off entrances to the station, where train services had been suspended.

China's ethnic tensions
China blames separatists for knife attack
China calls Beijing attack terrorism

The station reopened about two hours later. with passengers re-entering under a heavily-armed police presence.

Frequent outbreaks of violence have beset Xinjiang, a resource-rich region where the arrival of waves of Han Chinese people over the decades has fueled sectarian tensions with the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim ethnic group.

China was shocked in March as a violent terror attack in another train station, in Kunming, saw 10 men armed with long knives kill 29 commuters.

The fight against separatist violence in the autonomous region was a focus of the Chinese leader's visit.

During his tour, Xi visited security forces and watched an anti-terror drill, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported.

"The battle to combat violence and terrorism will not allow even a moment of slackness, and decisive actions must be taken to resolutely suppress the terrorists' rampant momentum," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying during his tour.

He also stressed the importance of "long-term stability" in the region as "vital to the whole country's reform, development and stability; to the country's unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of Chinese nation."

Speaking to local officials, the President called for national unity and opposition to separatism. He said China will use a "strike-first" strategy against militants in the region and forge policies to promote ethnic harmony.

CNN's Pierre Meilhan and Euan McKirdy contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
updated 1:38 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
updated 1:45 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
updated 10:00 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
updated 8:57 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
updated 12:52 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
updated 3:42 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
ADVERTISEMENT