25 May, 2022


China: Kunming Terrorist Attack

By R Hariharan –

 Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Indians who have been facing terrorist attacks for decades will condemn the dastardly attack at Kunming railway station in the early hours on March 2 that took 29 innocent lives. Over 100 people were reported injured in the attack. The masked terrorists wielding fruit knives struck wildly at the people crowding the station. Xinhua reported that a gang of eight “appeared to be expert at hacking people” took part in the attack.

The same agency also reported that the Kunming Public Security Bureau’s four-man SWAT team patrolling the city responding to the alert reached the station in ten minutes and in the midst of all the chaos managed to shoot and kill four of the five terrorists including a masked woman. The fifth member was wounded. It said the terrorists dressed in black when challenged stood their ground and the SWAT team leader managed to shoot a woman attacker who threw a knife at him.

China’s security forces including PLA, Special Forces, Border troops, Public Security forces, and the police have been honing their counter terrorist operational skills during the last few years. Counter terrorism has been the focus their joint training programmes with the forces of other countries including Russia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The public security forces response to Kunming attack has shown their training has paid off.  Their operational readiness – to react and respond in real time – and the professional competency demonstrated in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province, far away from Xinjiang which had been the focus of militant attacks is really commendable.

The Kunming attack brings back the unpleasant memories of Mumbai police’s clumsy response and utter lack of preparedness despite prior intelligence during the 26/11 terrorist attacks carried out on 12 targets by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiyaba (LeT) terrorists who infiltrated into the city and held it to ransom for four days from November 26, 2008. They killed in all 164 people and injured 308 others.  Two LeT terrorists who reached the Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus (the Victoria Terminus) station opened AK-47 fire on passengers waiting there, killing 58 of them and wounding 104. The policemen on duty at the station opened fire with their obsolete rifles and managed to kill one terrorist. The efforts of the Union Home Ministry to streamline and coordinate the state’s readiness to respond to terrorist attacks that started immediately thereafter are yet to be completed!

The alleged mastermind behind the Kunming attack was identified as Abdurehim Kurban, which is probably a Uyghur name. Though the State media blamed Saturday night’s attack on “Xinjiang separatist forces” they did not mention the Uighur connection to such attacks. Evidently they were following President Xi Jinping’s call for resolute opposition against any words and actions that damage the country’s ethnic unity while referring to the attack.

As things happen in China’s controlled media environment, the local newspapers did not report the Kunming attack immediately on occurrence. But they preferred the safer option of leading with the news of the 12th National Peoples Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (NC-CPPCC ) at Beijing rather than the terrorist attack. They carried the news only the when micro blog messages about the attack flooded the internet.  This contrasts sharply with our free media which vied with each other to provide real time coverage of the security forces operations that benefitted the attackers more than the public!

The President taking part in a plenum discussion with the members of the NC-CPPCC  said, “we will build a ‘wall of bronze and iron’ for the ethnic unity, social stability and the national unity.” But unfortunately this is not being reflected in the state’s heavy handed response meted out to public protests by Uyghur and Tibetan minority in Xinjiang and Tibet respectively.

Kunming has a small Uyghur community confined to Dashuying village. According to locals they had come to Kunming to make a living. Kunming also has Uyghur eateries, which serve Naan like rotis in the evening, a treat for Indian visitors.  Obviously, local Uyghurs will be facing the brunt of the fall out of the terrorist attack. So Xi Jinping’s point is well taken. President Xi is fully conscious of the threats to ethnic unity as the Uyghur and Tibetan minority communities are unhappy at the threat to their distinct identity, culture and languages as Han colonisation has been continuing relentlessly.

So the disturbed social environment within the two regions cannot be wished away when the state  considers action against the “terrorists, extremists and separatists “ (as Chinese seem to distinguish the various shades of Uyghur activists) infiltrating across the international borders.  India’s own experience has shown in the Northeast that lasting solutions for insurgency have to be found through political measures in tandem with military operations to make the militants and insurgents wither away without popular support.

Unfortunately this does not seem to be happening in Xinjiang. The Xinhua interview with the deputy commander of the Xinjiang Military Area Command Major General Saimati Muhammat an ethnic Uyghur attending the NC-CPPCC at Bejjing as a member reflects it. He is reported to have said “Counter-terrorism arrangements are in place to prevent serious incidents in Xinjiang.” He added that the armed forces in Xinjiang would never ease border controls, implying all the attackers do not belong to the country.

It is obvious that there is more than ethnic or religious background to the ‘Xinjiang separatist strikes’ (as they are officially termed). Many Uyghurs including the moderate ones have a grouse against the Han colonisers who had been inducted into the Province for over six decades. They threaten not only to subsume Uyghur identity but monopolise development and employment opportunities which are tilted in favour of Han population. Some of their complaints relating to ban on keeping a beard or wearing a headscarf by women are common to Muslims of various ethnicity in China. The state has responded to these grievances in a highhanded manner.  For in instance the medium of instruction in school is Mandarin Chinese and very few books are published in Uyghur.

According to China Daily, the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region’s is doubling the allocation for its Public Security Bureau to Yuan 2 million ($330,420) to strengthen the counter terrorism effort as per the government’s draft budget report released at the annual session of Xinjiang Regional People’s Congress. But that alone is not going to improve the situation. There has to be greater understanding from the state to involve the minority population in the mainstream, rather than segregating them in ghettoes.

Col R Hariharan a retired MI officer, is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-mail: colhari@yahoo.com. Blog: www.colhariharan.org

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Chinese refined the art of retaliation against authority in Tibet,from 1959 – monks may self-immolate but the one-party monolith will bulldoze on.

    • 0

      This bugger Hariharan is a sworn enemy of Islam & the Muslims. Just because he held a post in the Army would not make him an extra ordinary writer. He writes bulshit always.

      I remember this bugger praising MR and Sarath Fonseka to high heavens of the universe after the war ended. Then the SL Army atrocities allegations leaked, bugger Hariharan changed the tune and started half heartedly to accept that MR govt did committed war crimes.

      He saw the pictures of his own kind raped and killed by the SL Army.

      But, he always come harder on any mention of a Muslim reprisals for state terrors as International Terrorism.

      He is baby not knowing the brutality of Chinese, Indian and other state terrors unleashed on human beings who has a Muslim name.

      Hariharan….hypocritical bozo with Military Medal given for his stupidity.

      • 1

        “He saw the pictures of his own kind raped and killed by the SL Army.”

        No, it wasn’t his own kind, it was Tamils. Hariharan is a Brahmin, and Brahmins have practiced unrivalled hatred against Dravidians for multiple millenia . Brahmins came from North India and created the Caste system in South India. Most Tamils do not critically examine religion and are ignorant about Indian SubCon history, so they think Tamil speaking Brahmins are like them, when that is not the case.

        So to the Hariharans of this world, the more Tamils that are killed, raped and suppressed the better, because it advances the goal of wiping out Dravidians. It is the Brahmin/Aryan Nehru-Ghandi dynasty that for decades tried to push Hindi on the Dravidian South. The BJP, another Brahmin created organisation, pushes the anti-Dravidian Hindutva ideology.

        Sinhalese destroying Tamil culture serves the Brahmin/North Indian goal of wiping out a Dravidian community. These stupid Sinhala masses don’t realize and Sinhala elites are too small minded to consider that Brahmins/North Indians hate them too because 1) they are Buddhists and 2) they are racially similar to Dravidians and other indegenous groups from the SubContinent.

        Dravidians are brainwashed with Hinduism that is why they keep getting exploited by Brahmins, who obviously control Hinduism. Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are very ignorant of their history and roots, and how foreigners be they Aryans or Arabs have brainwashed their ancestors.

        The biggest problem in Sri Lanka is not racial because the vast majority of the people of the different communities are of the same racial stock, the problem is one of ignorance and critical thinking skills.

        • 1

          @ Palm Sqirrel ; Thanks for the other unknown dimension in Hariharan’s duplicity.

          To see, everyone has a hidden agenda nurtured through bad upbringing and wrong teachings from childhood, look like.

          Sinhala monks pride themselves with a stupid saying that goes as: “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”. This is a totally stupid saying. What about the WRONG KNOWLEDGE acquired? The knowledge Anagarika (Racist) gained from Blavatsky?

          The rest of the racists who went on looting, minority discrimination, killings, raping and continuous unleashing of state terror with the full backing of the MAHANAYAKE’S from 1956 – 2014,….the power behind all of these criminals is the WRONG KNOWLEDGE they have gained from tender young age up to their death.

          WRONG PHILOSOPHY is the culprit and it is their secret coding for mind control. “Gava Gathanaya, Hambaya, Demala, Koti, Sinhalayani Awadi waw….apey rata jathiya….these are the MIND CONTROL words they use for their propaganda work to make the innocent Sinhala people to sleep walk into their traps.

          Mahinda along with his brothers plus with the evil gangsters of JHU/BBS/SR/NMAT…etc., are using the mind control techinques to their best.

          The results are damning…the Sinhalas are being wrongly projected to the world as BARBARIANS by the pseudo Sinhala Buddhist Heroes.

          The name of DUTU GEMUNU is being used for years to mind control the masses into believing and do the bids of criminal rulers in the likes of Banda, JR, Premadasa & MR.

          Let them reap the benefits of their evil……

  • 3

    China and Saudi Arabia are two worst nations in human rights.

    But in having children, they are just opposite…

    China: One child per family
    Saudi: Unlimited


  • 4

    The attack was desperation against the Chinese state sponsered genocide against the Uighurs. In the grand scheme of things the things happening to the Uighurs is many orders of magnititude worse than this attack.

    Col. Hariharan speaks as if he really cares about civilians and is projecting himself on some moral high ground when this same person was a top ranking official in Indian military intelligence in the IPKF that: tortured,killed , raped and shelled innocent civilians in Northern Sri Lanka.

  • 1

    Pompous asses always groping into neighbors ethnic problems instead of sorting out their home grown ones. Go look into your own mess in Jaharkand!

  • 1

    Wild talk of Han Han Han,

    Only the party people CPC 85 million who have the wherewithal to relocate at will.

    Its the CPC members of whom 85% are Hun in the population who deliver.

    Indians rarely deliver if at all.

  • 2


    • 0

      The Rajapaksa and the base that supports their Nationalistic goals are Buddhist in name only. Rajapaksa ancestors were Christians who converted to Buddhism to exploit the Buddhist Nationalist sentiment amongst the masses , for Rajapaksa political gain.

  • 0

    A rather far fetched analogy.Bensen

  • 0

    Five Terrorists to kill 30 and seriously hurt another 100 is not easy.

    This group must have had exceptional training like special services personnel.

    Just imagine if they had AK 47s and hand grenades like our ex terrorists were provided with foreign dollars, by their overseas sponsors.

    What the Colonel ought to worry about is the LTTE which is now entrenched in his working town.

    LTTE fighters are gone from Srilanka. But its financiers,religious advocates and even ex cadres are still well and alive in Foreign lands.

    India recently had to put a 24 hour guard to protect a Senior Minister from Tamil Liberation Front a group which wasn’t heard before.

    Perhaps the Colonel can do a piece on them which will be more relevant and useful to a great majority here.

    By the way Urghur people hopefully will dissociate from these murderers totally and completely and live as one with the great Chinese people.

    Urghurs living overseas should allow the inhabitants to live in peace and harmony. without getting encouraged by some of the things happening right now in Europe where powerful nations use ex Terrorist supporters to instigate regime change in independent sovereign nations who wouldn’t bow down to them.

    They would love to get their hands on China through an insurrection if the opportunity arises.

  • 2

    Col. Hariharan will always see only one side of the story, the side of the oppressor. Little wonder he does that with his IPKF service background!

    Sengodan. M

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