Two days ago, a car being chased by the police drove into a crowd of people in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, killing 5 people (the 3 in the car and 2 tourists) and left 40 injured. The tragic event is being called a terrorist attack, with China pointing its finger at the Uighurs, a Chinese minority group practicing Islam in Xinjiang, a region in Western China. Today the Chinese authorities announced that 10 hours after the attack they had arrested 5 people said to be Islamic Jihadists who admitted to orchestrating the incident.
In recent years, tension between the Uighurs and the Han Chinese (making up about 92% of China’s population) have risen considerably, following a recent Han migration to the Western China area. This has led to a a change in the region that the Uighur say trivialize their culture and traditions.
There have been numerous clashes between the minority group and the police in the past, with the Uighurs citing reasons such as new policies that restrict their ability to practice their religion and a new push for Mandarin-speaking schools instead of Uighur language-schools. However, this is the first incident that has occurred in Beijing.
The Chinese government has been censoring any photos and accounts of the car crash. Any news stories of the event were lacking much detail and only stuck to the essential facts released by the official Xinhua news agency. Even searches with various combos of the words “Tiananmen”, “terrorism”, and “car crash” were blocked.