Era of suicide bomber arrives with deadly blasts in Urumqi. Is this also the start of urban guerrilla warfare?
Al-Jazeera - 24 May 2014
By Adrian Brown
Al Jazeera's senior China correspondent.
A week ago, I was reporting on anti-Chinese riots that had swept
through a third of Vietnam's provinces following the sudden escalation
of a long-festering territorial dispute.
Now here I was thousands
of kilometres away in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, the sprawling
province of mountains and deserts in China's far west.
It was a
little after 3am and we had flown a circuitous route from Nanning, close
to the Vietnamese border, to Beijing for the connecting flight to
A 12-hour journey. But now it was time to work.
than 24 hours earlier, Urumqi had experienced its worst single act of
violence since the city was convulsed by riots five years earlier, in
which more than 200 Han Chinese and ethnic Muslim Uighurs had died
following days of rioting.
Now 39 people were dead and more than
90 injured following a series of blasts at a busy early morning market
in the centre of Urumqi.
Is this the start of urban guerrilla
warfare in China, I wondered? The targeting of civilians is what happens
in Iraq and Pakistan, both countries I have reported from.
But such indiscriminate violence is extremely rare here.