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China's Netizens React To Kunming Station Attacks With Anger, Grief

Panic, calls against racial profiling, and anger at Western coverage permeate Weibo in absence of ongoing TV coverage of terror attacks.

Posted on March 2, 2014, at 8:24 p.m. ET

UPDATED: March 4, 2014, 12:33PM

On March 1st, more than 10 men and women wielding knives launched an attack at Kunming Railway Station in southwestern China, killing 29 people and injuring more than 100.

China Stringer Network / Reuters

Chinese authorities issued a statement blaming the attack on Xinjiang separatists, a militant group largely led by Turkic ethnic minorities who believe that parts of Xinjiang should seek separation from the People's Republic of China.

Chinese TV stations are avoiding coverage of the incident, so social media became China's main news portal.

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via

There's tremendous Chinese interest in how the West covers the attacks.

Trans. Kevin Tang

Many have taken umbrage at the use of the phrase "alleged terrorists," calling it a sign of Western skepticism toward the tragedy. For more on the history of Han-Uighur ethnic tensions (and the heavy hand that sometimes goes into creating "harmony"), read an excellent piece by ChinaFile's James Palmer.

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo

Items like these become viral on Weibo:

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo
Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo
Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo

Many also cautioned against racial and religious profiling:

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo
Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo

Muslim-Chinese celebrity Medina Memet urged her fans on Weibo not to equate Uighur with terror.

"I have never been ashamed to say I'm from Xinjiang, or that I'm a Muslim, though my brethrens and religion keeps getting misunderstood and misused by others. I am afraid that after this attack, we will be looked at with cold eyes again. I hope the government will find out what happened, to let our people understand, to give justice to the victims, and to clear the good name of Xinjiang's peaceful citizens."

Comments like these are being censored on Weibo:

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo

Captured by Free Weibo.

Some of Weibo lashed out at public figures who urged caution in the hunt for perpetrators.

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via

The American Embassy issued a Weibo statement in somewhat broken Chinese, translating the English phrase "senseless act of violence" into something tonally similar to "totally meaningless incident."

Trans. Kevin Tang / Via Weibo

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.