Kunming railway station attack

While world reels in shock at Kunming attack, news is notably absent from China's front pages

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 March, 2014, 7:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 4:16am

After the outpouring of grief and anger on mainland social media on Saturday night, many microbloggers were surprised to find virtually no coverage of the bloodshed on the front pages of the country's most influential newspapers yesterday.

News of the horrifying attack was absent from the front pages of the Beijing News, Beijing Youth Daily, and Beijing Times, which all led with the annual parliamentary sessions.

The Southern Metropolis Daily and Yangtse Evening Post had minimal coverage, with a brief mention of the attack at the bottom of their front pages.

"It's as if nothing happened in Kunming. If not for weibo and WeChat, we would still be living in a happy world as presented by the CCTV Evening News," Ye Taijin, a tattoo designer from Beijing, wrote of the front pages.

The attack took place at the most political sensitive time of the year, with thousands of delegates and government leaders heading to the capital for the annual parliamentary sessions.

Graphic images taken by witnesses at the attack scene were purged. Sina News and Sina Image's compilation of blurry photos posted by bystanders during the night - some showing victims lying in pools of blood - could no longer be accessed yesterday afternoon.

But news of the attack was carried by state-owned media and some regional newspapers.

Xinhua's report highlighting the directive by top officials to "punish the terrorists according to the law", was carried on the front page of state-owned newspapers, alongside editorials calling for stern punishment and action to "put down the terrorists' arrogant audacity".

The Chutian Metropolis Daily in Hubei, the Kunming Times and the other newspapers in Yunnan all devoted full front pages. Their mastheads were printed in black and white as a sign of condolence.

While Xinhua was quick to blame the attack on Uygur separatists from Xinjiang , foreign reports were reluctant to call the gang "terrorists" and instead highlighted increasing confrontation between Uygurs and Han Chinese in the western province.