Needle attacks and rumors spread in China's Xinjiang

Needle attacks and rumors spread in China's Xinjiang

Mysterious needle attacks have spread to new cities in China's restive far-western region of Xinjiang, the China Daily said on Friday, although once again the assaults appear to be a mix of real and imagined, Reuters reported.

Nearly 600 people in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, home to the native Muslim Uighurs, have said they were stabbed with needles over the last two weeks, leading to mass demonstrations by Han Chinese against a government they said could not guarantee their safety.

Nine suspects were detained in the cities of Hotan, Altay and Kashgar, the China Daily said.

The pattern of real and imagined attacks appears to be continuing. Of nine reported attacks in Hotan, three were actually pricked, while in Altay, four of five reported attacks were false alarms and in Kashgar, three of five were false alarms, the paper said, citing local officials.

Officials and state media blamed the attacks in Urumqi on separatists bent on destroying ethnic unity.

On July 5, a demonstration by Uighurs turned into a riot in which 197 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed. Han Chinese launched revenge attacks two days later.

Since then, Urumqi has been cut off from Internet access, international phone calls, and most text messaging, to avoid a repeat of the violence. The result is that rumors reign supreme.

A police text message was the spark that ignited the rash of reports in the divided city of Urumqi. Five people died in unrest last week and tens of thousands poured into the streets to demand the ouster of the powerful regional Party Secretary, Wang Lequan.

"Recently, several residents were attacked by hypodermic syringes. Local police security departments have also uncovered a case in which assailants used syringes to attack passers-by," read the text message, sent to Urumqi residents on August 31.

"Please don't panic over the incident, and inform police officers if you find any suspects."

Panic they did.

By September 4, 513 people had turned up at police stations to report they had been jabbed, stabbed or pricked. They were tested for HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases, adding to fears that the attacks would spread AIDS. At least another 77 attacks have since been reported.

On Sept 3, Han Chinese crowded into People's Square demanding Wang's resignation for not ensuring their safety during the July riots, or against the mystery stabbers. The five died on Sept 3, when crowds beat up a Uighur man accused of jabbing a woman, and then attacked the ambulance ferrying him to hospital.

New orders punishing rumor-mongers and forbidding citizens from beating up suspects imply that the city government is trying to dampen the firestorm it started.

Most of the stabbings appear to be simple hysteria. Only 106 victims had shown signs of jabs, bumps or rashes as of Sept 4.

Some were pricked by sewing needles or pins, not syringes, doctors said. Other marks might be insect bites.

Authorities have revealed details of four crimes that appear to have prompted the syringe warning.

On August 28, a 19-year-old Uighur followed a fruit seller home and stuck a pin in her buttocks.

On August 29, two Uighur drug addicts, a man and woman aged 22 and 34, used a syringe to mug a cabbie, stealing 710 yuan ($100).

On August 31, a Uighur addict used a syringe with heroin in it to fend off arresting officers, some of whom were injured.

Authorities have not explained how the crimes by junkies and molesters comprise an organized plot.

It is possible that those who were actually pricked, many on crowded buses, were targets of people seeking revenge or trying to stir up hatred, or just bored people looking for drama.

Biden invited to address U.S. Congress on April 28
Biden invited to address U.S. Congress on April 28
U.S. administers 192.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC
U.S. administers 192.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC
Boeing reports first quarter deliveries
Boeing reports first quarter deliveries
Loading Bars
Latest
Biden invited to address U.S. Congress on April 28
South Africa suspends J&J vaccine rollout
Azerbaijan to become regional hub for Industry 4.0 development - US IDC
U.S. administers 192.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines: CDC
France suspends all flights with Brazil due to virus variant
UK records another 2,472 coronavirus cases, 23 deaths
Boeing reports first quarter deliveries
Biden set to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 567,000 in past day — WHO
Iranian nuclear deal meeting in Vienna rescheduled to April 15
Kazakhstan expects positive dynamics in oil industry
Erdogan reveals stricter COVID-19 measures in Turkey during Ramadan
Iran's annual iron ore concentrate output nears 50mn tons
Deputy Finance Minister: Georgia ranks first in Europe with economic growth rate according to IMF
Southern Gas Corridor increases liquidity in European gas markets
Uzbekistan-India trade grows to record high in 2020
Azerbaijan plans to organize personal account system for auditors
China's 2M2021 import of Azerbaijani products surges in value
Exchange of all data necessary to conduct effective demining is required - OSCE MG
Baku to host international gymnastics competitions again
German gov't approves uniform nationwide COVID-19 response measures
Russia's daily COVID-19 cases record lowest in months
Iran to start 60% enrichment tonight: Nuclear spokesman
Israel to allow vaccinated tourists in starting late May
Biden confirms invitation to Putin to take part in climate summit
Presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus have informal meeting
IMF unveils forecast on Azerbaijan's oil export for 2021-2022
Azerbaijani FM, Romanian ambassador stress high level of development of bilateral political relations (PHOTO)
Special equipment of Belarus assembled in Azerbaijan may be exported to Turkey
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry responds to Armenia's statement on War Trophy Park
President of Belarus pays working visit to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Moscow, Tehran attach great importance to North-South Corridor – Russian FM
Azerbaijani president gives weighty answer to Armenia’s disinformation campaign - Official (VIDEO)
Belarus reveals plans for oil purchases from Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan’s FlyArystan launching direct flights to Georgia
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on April 14
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy printed materials
Azerbaijan's Aghdam needs to be fully rebuilt - German historian (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's PM meets with BP's regional president
Ukraine may take part in restoration of Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places short-term bonds on auction
Iron ore concentrate production by major Iranian companies increases
President Ilham Aliyev: Pakistan was among countries that openly supported Azerbaijan from first days of confrontation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Sudan due to send first delegation to Israel next week
Liabilities of Bank Melli Iran’s Baku branch increase
Armenia obligated under int'l law to provide mine maps to Azerbaijan - Matthew Bryza
Footage from Azerbaijani Jabrayil's Sadi village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan, Ukraine discuss full resumption of mutual flights
Oil exports via Barents Sea in Lukoil system increased
Hydrometeorology in Azerbaijan needs young experts for technologies - ministry
Azerbaijan shares latest data on mine clearance work carried out on liberated lands
Co-op between Iran, Russia to be effective in activating nuclear deal – Rouhani
2021 demand for OPEC crude to be higher than in 2020
Assets of Iranian Bank Melli's branch in Azerbaijan increase
On Independence Day eve Israel's population over 9.3m
Iran still waiting for S.Korea to provide solution, release its blocked assets
Azerbaijan issues data on number of COVID-19 vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,457 more COVID-19 cases, 2,002 recoveries
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s 2021 liquids supply
Rosatom can take part in developing green energy in Azerbaijan - expert
Repairing of last well in Iran's Naft Shahr field launched
Iran in favor of strengthening relations with Russia – President Rouhani
Azerbaijan Railways builds co-op on transiting additional goods
IMF talks forecast of money supply growth in Azerbaijan for 2021-2022
European Hydrogen Backbone’s updated cost revealed
IMF predicts growth for Azerbaijan's oil, non-oil GDP
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port down
Azerbaijan expects tourism sector to recover by summer
Plan on budget revenues surpassed in Kazakhstan
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Around 70% of European infrastructure to start transporting hydrogen
U.S. will base 500 additional troops in Germany
Russia documents 8,173 coronavirus cases in past day, lowest figure since September 28
Kazakhstan names value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Iran's mobile phone imports increase
Azerbaijani president signs order on hosting European Football Championship matches in Baku
Kazakhstan drafts pricing rules for exported crude oil, gas condensate
Retail trade indicators decrease in Kazakhstan
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy spares
Kazakhstan records decrease in oil output
Belarusian IT company keen to expand its activities in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company announces its production plan
Uzbekistan building modern wastewater treatment facility at Uzbekneftegaz GTL plant
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender to buy engines
Russian, Azerbaijani military discuss Iskander-M missile debris in Karabakh region - Russian official
Greece can take slightly more than 1 mcm/d via TAP
President Ilham Aliyev: Liberation of territories will be additional opportunities
President Ilham Aliyev: Armenians did it deliberately in order to erase legacy of Azerbaijani culture in order to erase these territories from our memories
Together with Russian president, we discussed issue about Iskander-M missile – Azerbaijani president
TAP supplies to Greece cause contraction in LNG imports
Kazakhstan attracts investments to develop national parks in Almaty region
European Commission makes statement on TAP
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency allows flights from Irkutsk to 3 countries
President Ilham Aliyev: I had a strong feeling during negotiations that Armenia doesn’t want a solution
President Ilham Aliyev: I think we need to be more active in order to try to build bridges
ADB focuses on renewable energy projects in Georgia
US eyes to continue negotiations on direct flights with Georgia
Bank of Georgia discusses revised outlook for country’s economic growth in 2021
Anabechdi company plans to produce textile in Georgia
All news