Xinjiang Unrest: Impact on Regional Energy Security

A gas station in China's Xinjiang Province.

China has been rocked by two knife attacks in recent months, both of which can be tied to bubbling dissatisfaction among the Uighur-populated far western autonomous region of Xinjiang which borders several Central Asian states as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Mongolia.

On March 1, assailants descended upon the Kunming rail station in southwest China and stabbed dozens of commuters in a surprise attack which killed 29 people and wounded 140 others.

Chinese law enforcement authorities killed four of the attackers, while the surviving four – which includes one woman – were charged, and will likely face the death penalty.

On April 30, two militants detonated a bomb and went on a knife attack in the Urumqi South railway station in Xinjiang. The attack resulted in the deaths of the militants and one bystander, while 79 were injured. The incident occurred on the same day that President Xi Jinping departed from the province on his first trip there as leader.

Authorities have arrested 100 of one of the bombers’ relatives in the days afterwards.

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