Sunday, March 2, 2014

29 Dead in Train Station Attack in Kunming, 130 Wounded

BREAKING NEWS, March  2, 2014- An attack by knife-wielding men at a railway station in Kunming in south-west China has left at least 29 dead and another 130 wounded in a “premeditated violent attack” the state news agency Xinhua says.

I had wanted for some time to write about violence in China.  It has been two years since the primary school stabbing in Henan were 22 children were attacked and an elderly woman murdered by a single assailant…and now yesterday’s vicious attack at the train station in Kunming, where I have also traveled.
For the past half-decade, my Asian students persistently comment on violence in American news without focusing on similar social problems their own countries face.   On a recent trip to Hong Kong, here are some back page stories from independent newspaper the Hong Kong Standard.  All these stories appeared on a single day.

WOMAN KILLED ON STREET
A man in Hefei, Anhui China stabbed a woman to death on the street then pricked at her belly with the knife while smoking and waiting for the police.  He told authorities he’d had a dispute with the woman, who was his employee.

LOVER STABBED WITH FRUIT KNIFE
A woman  in Guangdong was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing her boyfriend with a fruit knife after the two quarreled because she spent ten hours getting her hair done.

CHAT SITE USED FOR REVENGE
A twenty year old woman in Hexian county, seeking revenge against co-workers promoted instead of her,  was put under arrest for posting the contact information of two co-workers online stating they wanted to be female escorts.  The two women were flooded with harassing propositions. 

PORN VENDOR BATTLE
Two men in Beijing attacked police with knives after being questioned for selling pornography.

TRIAL HELD FOR SCAM ARTIST
A former propaganda official in Haikou stood trial for swindling over 300 people out of 33 million yuan pertaining to housing ventures.  He allegedly spent all the money on lottery tickets and gambling. 

TRIED FOR RAPING TEEN
A 45-year-old man in Henan was sentenced to five years in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl who refused to have sex with him.  Originally, he forced naked pictures of her to blackmail her to teachers and families, when she still refused, he raped her.

I’ve always thought American violence seems out of control because U.S. news agencies are self-critical and very honest with their reporting further exacerbated by noxious 24 hour news channels.  Yet in other Asian countries, primarily China, these stories are often hidden from the public through censorship and blackout redacting.   The same kinds of terrible violent actions are found around the world at any moment but seem to have less of an impact.  What’s the middle ground?  Did the train stabbing in Kunming today even make anyone’s news cycle?

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