China Strips Army Official of Position After Attack

The senior military officer in Xinjiang has been removed from his post, after five people were killed and 40 injured when a car drove into a crowd near Tiananmen Square and caught fire. The Chinese government has said the incident was a “terrorist attack” by a Uyghur group. The New York Times reports:

The official, Gen. Peng Yong, chief of the People’s Liberation Army in , was removed from the region’s Standing Committee, according to a one-sentence notice on Sunday on the front page of the newspaper Daily. The statement provided no explanation for his replacement by Liu Lei, a veteran army official in the region.

General Peng’s demotion was announced six days after an audacious attack on the political and symbolic heart of Beijing that government officials have described as an act of . Two people were killed and 40 others were injured on Monday when a vehicle plowed through a sidewalk packed with tourists and came to a stop at the entrance to the Forbidden City, the former imperial residence that sits opposite Tiananmen Square.

[…] Although it is not uncommon for local leaders to be held responsible for embarrassing high-profile episodes in their jurisdiction, the prompt demotion of General Peng suggests the sense of urgency that has gripped stability-obsessed officials in the central government.

By comparison, a decision three years ago to replace Wang Lequan, the party secretary of Xinjiang, was made nearly nine months after ethnic bloodletting in the regional capital that claimed nearly 200 lives. There was no immediate indication about whether General Peng would maintain his military post or his spot on the party’s Central Committee. [Source]

Over the weekend, CCTV released more details, via their English Twitter feed, about the government’s claims about the alleged attackers: