…When I was there, a little over 24 hours after the assault, there were few signs of what happened. The site had mostly been cleaned up, and no one wanted to talk about what happened.
On my flight this afternoon from Kashgar to Urumqi I saw a very real example of the violence of the attack. A man was strapped to a stretcher that was placed across the last few rows of seats. He had lost his lower right leg, his head was wrapped in bandages, and his face was a swirl of stitches. The flight attendants said he was one of the border guards injured in the attack. As we disembarked, a handful of officers stood on the gangway waiting to meet him.
This frontier town 2,500 miles west of Beijing did not appear on Tuesday to be under any sort of terrorism alert or to be a place that, just 24 hours earlier, was the site of what officials described as the worst terrorist attack in China’s recent history.
“I heard the police sirens yesterday, but it’s safe today,” said a taxi driver who, like virtually everyone interviewed in Kashgar, refused to give his name, citing fear of government reprisal. Asked to say who might have carried out the attack on security forces on Monday, he said, “There are all kinds of people walking along that street.”
Read also a piece by Jonathan Ansfield on the Newsweek blog about the Chinese media’s response to the attack.