Traffic police stand guard at a school in Kunming, Yunnan province, March 5. (Photo/CNS)
The website of China's Global Times says the threat posed by female terrorists has increased significantly, following news that a 16-year-old girl may have been among the eight who carried out a horrific and indiscriminate knife attack at Kunming train station in southwest China last week.
The girl and seven other assailants, including one other female, killed 29 and injured 140 as they slashed at passengers with long-bladed knives at the square and ticket hall of the station on the evening of Mar. 1. Four of the assailants were shot dead at the scene, and the girl was captured by police. The remaining three were subsequently arrested, according to the state newswire Xinhua, which said the attack was carried out by Uyghur Muslim separatists from the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The Global Times report said the membership and organization of pro-independence terror groups in Xinjiang has diversified, adding that female members take advantage of their ability to arouse less suspicion and have plotted both individually and in groups. The report urged Chinese security forces to take note of this change in tactic and adjust to the idea of women being involved in these kinds of acts.
Female suspects have been involved in other terror incidents in recent years, the newspaper said. At least one of the suspects involved in the attack in Asku in Xinjiang on Jan. 24 this year was a woman. Two of the three people who drove a jeep into a crowd in front of Tiananmen Square in Beijing in October last year in a suicide attack were women — the mother and the wife of the third suspect.
An unidentified official cited by the newspaper said women who take part in terror attacks in China are typified by a low level of education and by their absolute obedience to their male family members. The official suggested that their actions were influenced by their families, since, in his opinion, they did not think independently and had no understanding of politics. The paper cited the example of one woman in southern Xinjiang who police discovered had become a suicide bomber five days after marrying a man she had never met before her wedding. "Because of a word from her husband's family, she just obeyed. It's as simple as that," said the official.