The U.S. Department of State has issued this latest warning for U.S. Citizens traveling to the Xinjiang Region in the country of China. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…
Casualties Feared as Explosion Hits Urumqi, Underscores Persistent Insecurity in Xinjiang Region
Severity: 3 (Moderate)
Source: Drum Cussac
05/22/2014 (China) – Emerging state-media reports on Thursday, 22 May, indicated that a explosion struck Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China’s northwest. Reportedly, two vehicles ploughed into a crowded market near Renmin Park in downtown Urumqi at around 0750hrs (2350 UTC Wednesday). The vehicles’ occupants were reported to have thrown explosive devices. An unknown number of people were reportedly killed and injured in the explosion. Further details on the incident are awaited.
Xinjiang has witnessed terrorist-style attacks and violent demonstrations in recent years. Thursday’s incident took place amid high tensions following a knife and bomb attack at a railway station in Urumqi on 30 April. Three people, including two of the attackers died while 79 others were injured in the incident. A series of knife attacks and explosions were reported across the region and elsewhere since January 2014. Chinese authorities have usually blamed such incidents on the Uyghur ethnic minority and members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). International human rights groups had criticised the Chinese government for exaggerating the security threat in Xinjiang to justify hardline measures it had imposed in the region.
There have been recurrent violent outbreaks between the Uyghur and the Han Chinese in the past years as the former accused the Chinese government of discrimination and political oppression. The latest incident is likely to further exacerbate ethnic tensions and could trigger protests and localised unrest in the region. Clients in Urumqi and other parts of Xinjiang should maintain situational awareness and stay updated on security developments on the ground. In the event of a rally or protest, personnel are advised to stay away from affected areas to avoid the risk of exposure to crowd and/or police violence.
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