Massacre of Kunming’, a step further from reconciliation

10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives the night before in Kunming, in western China's Yunnan province.

The "Massacre of Kunming" that unfolded in the railway station of the southwestern Chinese city on Saturday, resulting in 29 dead and more than 130 injured (at press time Sunday), shocked the world, including us working in the media.

The brutality and murderous nature of the action cannot be condoned, and the Chinese authority points to yet another act of terrorism by the Uyghur separatist movement.

Reports filtering out from Kunming had images of children and old people being slashed to death in this premeditated attack on innocent civilians. They tried to run, but were not as fast as their youthful assailants. Some didn't even have time to react before falling under the knives.

Whatever the objectives were in the minds of those behind such act of cowardice, if the killing of innocence is part of its plan, God forbids they get their way.

There had been quiet wishes within the Chinese people, including those of ethnic Uyghur, that by moving forward, people can live together in peace and harmony, much like the general racial harmony experienced in Brunei and Singapore.

The argument of whether the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region should be independent is not material if you analyse deeper into the issue, as you will then see that they are mostly ugly politics.

Those who are currently reaping the political benefits of being associated to the Chinese central government will be against independence, and those who are unable to milk any benefits from this association will be looking to form their own country and be their own master.

Not everyone is as lucky as South Africa to get a Nelson Mandela in their lifetime. And those who deserved to have a Mandela should know that violence is the last thing that should be involved in a political movement.

There had been accusations by the predominantly Muslim Uyghur separatist movements of religious discrimination by the Chinese government.

The Chinese government also controls the management of all mosques in China, the same way the communist regime controls other religions in the country.

The Uyghur also feel threatened by the spread of Han (Chinese) culture into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and seek to protect their own culture from extinction.

There is however no mention by these separatist of the economic advantages provided to ethnic minorities in the country by their communist government, not just to the Uyghur, but also to the more than 50 other minorities in the vast country.

There is again no mention of the extra points awarded to minority students when they sit for high school exams. Depending on the provinces the students take their exams, an extra five to 30 points are awarded for consideration of their application into Chinese universities.

Bringing the experience to Malaysia, minorities were previously made to study an extra year of prep school for admission into government secondary schools. Thankfully, that system has generally been scrapped.

There are also various policies in place to protect the economic benefits of the majority, and on such comparison, the benefits of minorities in China seems to be in good stead.

No matter how much efforts a government put in, there will always be dissenting voices within a country, and the ruling party can only do so much.

China had been taking tender and difficult steps towards a harmonious society, and while clashes are still common within Xinjiang and the Tibet Autonomous Region, it had generally stayed away from the blind killing that the world witnessed in Kunming on Saturday.

The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, also predominantly Muslim, used to be equally restive, but has now become an example of how peaceful integration of the people can bring benefits to the region.

However, what happened on Saturday, the premeditated murder of innocent civilians resulting in 29 deaths and more than 130 injuries (more than 70 seriously injured), has brought about a wider consequence, bringing to a halt the "internal peace process" the Chinese government is working towards.

The feud opened up by the killing of ethnic Han civilians would have created a thirst for revenge among extremist ethnic Han, and that does not bode well for the future of the Chinese society.

And if the Uyghur can hit Kunming this time, which city is next?

With the "Massacre of Kunming", the separatist have now firmly placed themselves into the category of "terrorist", as opposed to previously being "weakly labeled" as terrorist by the Chinese government.

One thing the masterminds behind this Kunming attack must know, the ideals and values of brutal murderers will never be embraced by the world, no matter how noble their cause is.