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Kunming attack may signal wider China troubles: Analysts

Published on Mar 4, 2014 11:55 AM
Chinese paramilitary police patrol outside the scene of the attack at the main train station in Kunming, Yunnan Province, on March 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BEIJING (AFP) - A brazen and bloody machete attack at a Chinese railway station could herald an ominous change in the violence Beijing blames on separatists from Xinjiang, analysts say, threatening more incidents far beyond the restive region.

Until now, disturbances have largely been confined to Xinjiang, a vast resource-rich area in far western China, and focused on symbols of the Chinese state, such as the police.

But the scale, location, nature and timing of the Kunming mayhem potentially points to a change in mindset, with the overt targeting of civilians - whoever was behind it.

Beijing immediately labelled the incident as terrorism, and Washington followed suit on Monday after initially referring to it as a "tragedy", in language that drew angry accusations of double standards on Chinese social media.

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