Crowds returning to Tiananmen Square

Crowds returning to Tiananmen Square

BEIJING - One minute, he and his friend were strolling outside the Forbidden City. The next, he was lying on the ground, blood gushing out of his mouth.

It was only later in the hospital that the Japanese national realised he had survived a "terror attack" that struck the heart of Beijing last Monday.

"The car hit us from behind," said the 39-year-old, who declined to be named, as he spoke to The Sunday Times from his bed at Tongren Hospital last Thursday.

"There was blood all over my mouth and I realised my friend was not with me. We were taken to the hospital very quickly."

His Chinese friend suffered serious injuries and is in the intensive care unit. Both work in Shanghai and were in Beijing for a holiday.

They are two of the 40 people who were injured when a sport utility vehicle drove into the crowd near the entrance of the Forbidden City last Monday. The Chinese authorities have deemed the act a "planned terrorist attack", the first in Beijing's recent history.

Two tourists, including Filipino doctor Rizalina Bunyi, were killed. Three people in the SUV who had Uighur-sounding names died after setting the vehicle on fire.

Police said the incident near Tiananmen Square was the work of Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority from north-western Xinjiang region, which has seen violent clashes in the past few years.

Things are returning to normal at Beijing's most famous tourist attraction.

Couples, elderly folk and families with young children are back - happily taking photos at the square, which shows little sign of damage from the crash.

"What's there to worry about? The chances of something like that happening is very small," said office worker Cao Guisheng, 42, who was visiting from central Henan province.

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