Witnesses recall fear, chaos after Kunming train station attack
March 03, 2014 00:00
By Xinhua and China Daily
Attackers began by stabbing each person by long knife once and moving onto next target. A man was stabbed from behind fall to the ground. An attacker tried to stab 6-year-old daughter who was saved by her father.
At least 33 people were killed and over 140 wounded after a group of knife-wielding Xinjiang separatists went on the rampage in a Kunming railway station, hacking and stabbing passengers and passers by randomly. The death toll includes 29 civilian victims and four alleged assailants shot dead by police. An injured female suspect reportedly was in custody.
Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang ordered police to hunt down the suspects still at large.
Meanwhile, witnesses at the scene recounted the horror. Tobias Schindler, 23, a German tourist said: “We wanted to take the train to Dali. We walked to the train station and we saw one guy [who was] really bloody. [Then] everybody just started running, running, running. Some of them went to small shops and we followed them. Then they locked everything and turned lights on. And then we came out, trying to figure out what was going on.”
He Guodong, who was buying a ticket at the station said: “I just heard people screaming, people are stabbed, people are stabbed! I panicked and people were running around all over the place. But my classmate was injured.”
Editors of leading media yesterday received a message to avoid “big headlines or photos”, and “follow closely the reporting of the Xinhua News Agency or information revealed by local authoritative agencies”.
Attackers began by stabbing people in a square outside the station before charging into the ticket hall, Yunnan Information News reported yesterday,
They mostly stabbed each person once and then moved on to the next target, witness Zuo Ruxing said. As Zuo ran, he saw a man stabbed from behind fall to the ground. Then an attacker tried to stab his friend Pan Huabing’s 6-year-old daughter. Pan stepped up to shield her and was stabbed in the neck before falling to the ground. Zuo grabbed the child and ran. Pan was now in critical condition.
Liu Chen, a 19-year-old student from Wuhan City of central China's Hubei Province, was traveling in Yunnan. Liu and her friend were at the station for tickets to the tourism city of Lijiang when the attack suddenly happened. "At first I thought it was just someone fighting, but then I saw blood and heard people scream, and I just ran," Liu said. Chen Guizhen, a 50-year-old woman, told Xinhua at the hospital that her husband Xiong Wenguang, 59, was killed in the attack. "Why are the terrorists so cruel? " moaned Chen, holding her husband's blood-stained ID card in shaking hands. The couple, both farmers from the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, bought Sunday tickets to the eastern province of Zhejiang for their new urban jobs and planned to stay over in the waiting room. "I found his ID card on his body. I can't believe he has just left me," she cried. Yang Haifei, a local resident of Yunnan, told Xinhua that he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back. Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people rush into the station, most of them in black, and start attacking others. "I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone," he said, adding that people who were slower were severely injured. "They just fell on the ground," he said. At the guard pavilion in front of the station, three victims were crying. One of them named Yang Ziqing told Xinhua that they were waiting in the station square for a 10:50 p.m. train to Shanghai, but had to escape when a knife-wielding man suddenly came at them. "My two town-fellows' husbands have been rushed to hospital, but I can't find my husband, and his phone went unanswered," Yang sobbed.