Family of Pinoy killed in Tiananmen incident now home

MANILA, Philippines – The family of the Filipino tourist killed in an incident at Beijing's historic Tiananmen Square is back home.

Nelson Bunyi and his daughters, Francisca Isabela and Michaela, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on a private flight from Shanghai, China on Saturday evening.

However, the body of Nelson's wife, Rizalina, was left in China. Quoting Rizalina's father, Tempo reported Saturday, November 2 it was due to a pending autopsy as part of the investigation into the incident. Her body is expected to be repatriated not later than Tuesday, November 5.

Rizalina, a doctor touring with her family at the Chinese capital's biggest square, was one of 5 people killed in Tiananmen Square on October 28, when a vehicle, identified as an SUV, plowed through the crowds.

She was initially rushed to the Beijing Hospital, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday, October 29, but later succumbed to her injuries.

At first, the DFA did not disclose her identity, but it was later confirmed by family members through media reports and through the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), of which the Bunyi couple were members.

Aside from the Filipino, a male Chinese tourist and 3 people inside the vehicle were killed in the incident. Forty others were injured.

Both daughters were also injured in the incident.

The Tiananmen incident has become a sensitive topic in China, as the event occurred at the country's symbolic center of power.

Aside from attracting millions of tourists from across China and abroad, the sprawling plaza was the location of pro-democracy protests in 1989 that were violently crushed by authorities.

'Terror attack'

Chinese authorities blamed the crash on Uighur groups from the far-western province of Xinjiang, calling the incident a "terrorist" attack.

State television said the attack was carried out by a group of 8 "terrorists" who possessed weapons including "Tibetan knives and 400 liters of petrol."

A Uighur rights group said more than 50 people had been arrested in Xinjiang, where China's mostly Muslim Uighur minority is concentrated.

The far west region has been sporadically rocked by unrest that authorities have usually blamed on "terrorists" and "separatists."

But Uighur organizations dismiss claims of terrorism and separatism as an excuse by Beijing to justify religious and security restrictions.

Beijing says its policies and investment in Xinjiang have brought tremendous development but critics counter that the economic growth mostly benefits an influx of ethnic majority Han Chinese, millions of whom have moved to the resource-rich region.

Ethnic frictions have risen in Xinjiang as a result, and rioting in the capital Urumqi involving both ethnic groups in 2009 left 200 people dead. – Rappler.com