Mass killing shocks Chinese leadership

GAKU SHIMADA, Nikkei staff writer

BEIJING — Saturday’s killing spree in China that took place as the nation stepped up security ahead of the opening of the annual National People’s Congress on Wednesday has sent shock waves through the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

     If the assailants had political motives for attacking the train station in Kunming, they are likely to have chosen this time to erode the authority of the party led by President Xi Jinping.

     “This is a shocking incident,” said Lyu Xinhua, spokesman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, at a news conference on Sunday. “The Party is taking it very seriously.”

     Lyu called the incident a planned and organized terrorist attack by Uighur separatists. The political advisory body is scheduled to hold its meeting on Monday.

     Immediately after the attack, Xi told party members to realize that the situation has become more tense. On Sunday morning, he dispatched the party official in charge of public security to the site of the attack to personally lead the investigation.

     Tensions have grown in Beijing, which will host the National People’s Congress. The Communist Party chief of the city, Guo Jinlong, called an emergency meeting before dawn on Sunday and ordered tight security while the national legislature is in session. Armed police were seen on guard in various parts of the city on Sunday morning.

     “We have no choice but to clamp down on the Uighurs to prevent terrorism, even though we know that it will lead to a backlash,” said a security official.

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