A candlelight vigil was held for the victims at Kunming Railway Station last night
Chinese netizens expressed shock yesterday after seeing little to no coverage of the knife attack at a Kunming train station, which left 29 dead and over 130 injured, featured on the front pages of some of the country’s most influential newspapers.
SCMP notes that mention of the bloodshed was absent from the front pages of the Beijing News, Beijing Youth Daily and Beijing Times, while the Southern Metropolis Daily and Yangtse Evening post had only minimal coverage of the attack on the front page.
“It’s as if nothing happened in Kunming. If not for weibo and WeChat, we would still be living in a happy world as presented by the CCTV Evening News,” one microblogger named Ye Taijin wrote of the notable lack of coverage.
As the attack took place at an especially sensitive time of year for the Beijing government—Beijing opens its yearly parliament meeting this Wednesday—graphic images from the scene of the knife attack were also removed by censors on Sina News and other social media platforms.
News of the attack was fully reported by other state-owned media, including Xinhua, and newspapers in Yunnan all devoted full front pages to the event, with mastheads printed in black and white in condolence for the victims.
A group of 10 or more masked assailants with long knives reportedly walked into Kunming Railway Station on Saturday night, indiscriminately attacking civilians before police began to fire on them. State media have referred to the event as “China’s 9/11”, and Xinhua attributed the attack to “terrorists from Xinjiang”.
“Masked men in black clothes were everywhere. They were chopping anyone in sight. One man in his 20s in ordinary clothes walked towards me when everyone was fleeing,” one witness described to Xinhua.
“He then fished out a long knife and sliced me on the chest. I ran.”
“My mother tripped over a chair. I failed to pull her up. One attacker thrust a knife into my mother’s throat. Instead of pulling it out, the attacker drew another chopping knife he had with him and continued to chop her,” another said to China News Agency of the horrific attack.
Police are believed to be hunting for the assailants, at least half of whom are still at large.
Edit: Headline altered to reflect that the news was left out of some major papers’ front pages