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China: Ethnic Uighurs say they are being harassed after train station knife attack blamed on separatists

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China: Ethnic Uighurs say they are being harassed after train station knife attack blamed on separatists

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The city of Kunming in the south of China, close to Vietnam is still reeling from a violent knife attack on the city’s train station which left at least 29 dead.

The attack has been blamed on ethnic Uighurs from the Xinjiang region in the north of China, more than 4,000 kilometres away, who want independence.

Ethnic Uighurs living in Kunming say they are now living in fear of retaliation and are constantly harassed by police.

“I have already been checked three times. The police point their guns at us. What can we do? We don’t know what really happened either. We feel very unsafe ourselves,” said restaurant worker Aniwar Wuppar.

Many have stories of being evicted from their homes, and there is sympathy from some locals.

“I heard on the news that a lot of Xinjiang people have been turned away from places to stay. I think for that to happen in this day and age is unnecessary. Everyone wants peace, unity and stability. In the end, the attack was the work of a small number of people. People shouldn’t reject them all.” said local woman, Da Limei

Although there has been violence and instability in Xinjiang region for many years, it is the first time Uighurs have been blamed for such a large-scale attack so far from home.

In October, Uighurs were held responsible for driving a jeep into a crowd in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which crashed and burst into flames, killing five people.