Three dead as unrest flares in China’s restive Uyghuristan

BEIJING (AFP) – Three security officers were killed in China’s remote northwest on Tuesday, state media reported, raising the death toll from over a week of unrest there that has flared during the Olympics to 31.

Assailants jumped off a vehicle passing through a checkpoint in the Xinjiang region and stabbed four security officers, killing three of them and injuring the other, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The attack was the third in eight days in Xinjiang, a vast desert region bordering central Asia that is experiencing its biggest spike in violence in years.

Analysts attribute the surge to separatists from Xinjiang’s repressed Muslim Uighur ethnic minority who are seeking to raise publicity for their cause while world attention is on China for the Beijing Olympics, which began last week.

China has also repeatedly warned that “terrorists” from Xinjiang are trying to sabotage the Games, but insisted massive security across the country will ensure there is no direct attack on the Olympics.

Xinhua said Tuesday’s killings happened in Yamanya town, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Kashgar, one of Xinjiang’s major cities where 16 policemen were murdered in the first attack on August 4.

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China said terrorists seeking holy war carried out that attack, in which two assailants who were later captured drove a truck at a group of policemen, then attacked the officers with machetes and explosives.

The next flashpoint in Xinjiang was the city of Kuqa, where assailants using home-made bombs targetted police and government offices, as well as public buildings, on Sunday.

One security guard was killed and 11 attackers died in those bombings and ensuing clashes with police, according to Xinhua.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman of the German-based World Uighur Congress, said authorities in Kuqa had since detained over 90 innocent Uighurs.

“This includes women,” he wrote in an email, quoting local Uighurs he had talked to by telephone. “They have also been mass detentions in adjacent areas.”

It has proved extremely difficult to obtain independent information about recent events in Xinjiang, with the official Chinese account coming out through Xinhua and local authorities generally refusing to talk to foreign press.

Police and other authorities there refused to comment to AFP about Tuesday’s incident.

“It’s not convenient for us to talk about this right now,” a police officer in Kashgar told AFP.

It was not immediately clear how many people were involved in Tuesday’s attack, according to Xinhua, which said the assailants remained at large.

Xinhua did not specify what organisation the security staff killed in the attack belonged to.

Xinjiang has about 18.3 million ethnic Muslim Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people many of whom express anger at what they say have been decades of repressive Communist Chinese rule.

The Uighurs established two short-lived East Turkestan republics in Xinjang in the 1930s and 1940s, when Chinese central government control was weakened by civil war and Japanese invasion.

Tensions have simmered over the decades but experts say such deadly attacks such as those over the past week have not been seen since the late 1990s.

From:http://asia.news.yahoo.com/080812/afp/080812112626asiapacificnews.html

Renewed Violence in Eastturkistan/West China


Three security staff have been stabbed to death in China’s Uyghuristan/ Xinjiang region, the third attack there in eight days. Three security staff have been stabbed to death in China’s Uyghuristan region, the third attack in eight days there.

Assailants killed the men at a checkpoint near the city of Kashgar, Chinese state media said. Assailants killed the men at a checkpoint near the city of Kashgar, Chinese state media said.

Sixteen police officers were killed in an attack in Kashgar earlier this month, but state media said there was no evidence linking the two attacks. Sixteen police officers were killed in an attack in Kashgar earlier this month, but state media said there was no evidence linking the two attacks.

Uyghuristan/Xinjiang is home to many Muslim Uighurs, some of whom want independence in the region they call East Turkestan. Uyghuristan/Xinjiang is home to many Muslim Uighurs, some of whom want independence in the region they call Uyghuristan/East Turkestan.

There has been a rise in violent incidents in Eastturkistan/Xinjiang in recent months, which China has blamed on separatists seeking to disrupt the Olympic Games. There has been a rise in violent incidents in Uyghuristan/Xinjiang in recent months, which China has blamed on separatists seeking to disrupt the Olympic Games.

Suspected Muslim separatists also launched a series of bomb attacks in Kuqa, in southern Uyghutristan/Xinjiang, on Sunday, which left 11 dead. Suspected Muslim separatists also launched a series of bomb attacks in Kuqa, in southern Uyghuristan/Xinjiang, on Sunday, which left 11 dead.

Arrest report Arrest Report

Tuesday’s attack happened at a checkpoint about 30 km (18 miles) from the border city of Kashgar. Tuesday’s attack happened at a checkpoint about 30 km (18 miles) from the border city of Kashgar.

Attackers – it is not clear how many – jumped out of a passing vehicle and stabbed the men to death. Attackers – it is not clear how many – jumped out of a passing vehicle and the men stabbed to death. Three men died and a fourth was injured, Xinhua news agency said. Three men died and a fourth was injured, Xinhua news agency said.

News of the attack emerged hours after Chinese state media announced that the situation in Kuqa, scene of Sunday’s attacks, had returned to normal. News of the attack emerged hours after Chinese state media announced that the situation in Kuqa, scene of Sunday’s attacks, had returned to normal.

Q&A: China and the Uighurs Q & A: China and the Uighurs

Early on Sunday, a string of explosions took place in supermarkets, hotels and government buildings across the city. Early on Sunday, a string of explosions took place in supermarkets, hotels and government buildings across the city.

One security guard died, two attackers blew themselves up and eight were shot by police, Xinhua said. One security guard died, two attackers blew themselves up and eight were shot by police, Xinhua said.

A Uighur activist has accused Chinese authorities of arresting dozens of people in the wake of the blasts. A Uighur activist has accused Chinese authorities of arresting dozens of people in the wake of the blasts.

Dilxat Raxit, of the pro-independence World Uighur Congress, said more than 90 people had been arrested in Kuqa, as well as others in nearby counties. Dilxat Raxit, of the pro-independence World Uighur Congress, said more than 90 people had been arrested in Kuqa, as well as others in nearby counties.

Local people had heard the sound of detainees being beaten and tortured, he said in a statement. Local people had heard the sound of detainees being beaten and tortured, he said in a statement.

He urged the international community to put pressure on China to end “inhumane crimes against ethnic Uighurs”. He urged the international community to put pressure on China to end “inhumane crimes against ethnic Uighurs.”

But the Kuqa local government said that Mr Raxit’s allegations were untrue. But the Kuqa local government said that Mr Raxit’s allegations were untrue.

Xinjiang is home to more than eight million Uighurs. Xinjiang is home to more than eight million Uighurs.

China says it is bringing development and prosperity to the region, but activists accuse Beijing of suppressing traditional Uighur culture and religion. China says it is bringing development and prosperity to the region, but activists accuse Beijing of suppressing traditional Uighur culture and religion.
From:http://66.102.9.104/translate_c?hl=de&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7555831.stm&usg=ALkJrhglDWqXIYeymcZjAJ9hzhyfiBFGNg

A muszlim szeparatizmus és az olimpia
5 hozzászólás 2008. augusztus 06. 14:18 Utolsó módosítás:2008. augusztus 06. 14:45
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A pekingi olimpia megnyitása előtt ujgur szeparatisták Kelet-Turkesztánban 16 kínai rendőrt megöltek. A kinai hatóságok – minden óvintézkedés ellenére – nem tartják kizártnak, hogy ujgur szélsőségesek újabb merényletekkel próbálkoznak majd az olimpia idején. Dobrovits Mihály történészt turkulógust, a Miskolci Egyetem történeti intézetének adjunktusát kérdeztük az iszlám szeparatizmus gyökereiről.


A Hszincsiang-Ujgur Autonóm Terület
© http://www.amnesty.org
hvg: Mit kell tudni a Kínában élő iszlám kisebbségről?

Dobrovits Mihály: Tény, hogy az utóbbi húsz-huszonöt évben gyakran került sor hasonló fegyveres akciókra, kínaiak és ujgurok között. Egyes források szerint a térségben már-már polgárháborús helyzet alakult ki. Lényegében a kínai állam áll szemben egy hatalmas határtartomány őslakosságával. A terület 1759 után, a mandzsu császári dinasztia uralkodásával került kínai fennhatóság alá. Amikor 1912-ben megdöntötték a császárságot, a Kínai Köztársaság az egész Mandzsu birodalmat átvette, összes peremtartományával, Mandzsúriával, Mongóliával, Kelet-Turkesztánnal (a mai Hszincsianggal) és Tibettel együtt. Ezekben a tartományokban nyomban felerősödtek az elszakadási törekvések. De a függetlenséget csak Külső-Mongólia, a mai mongol állam volt képes elérni, Belső-Mongólia ma is Kínához tartozik.

A történelmi hagyomány szerint az iszlám vallás 651-ben, tehát igen korán elérte Kínát. De a muszlim népesség mindig kisebbséget alkotott. Legnagyobb csoportjuk a mintegy 9,8 millió hui (muszlim kínai) akik egymagukban a kínai muszlim népesség 48 százalékát teszik ki. Őket követik az ujgurok (8,4 millió), a kazahok (1,25 millió). Nyugaton, viszonylag kis számban élnek még kirgizek és tádzsikok is. Még Tibetben is van muszlim kisebbség.

hvg.hu: A most kiéleződött konfliktus helyszínén vezetett keresztül hajdan a Selyemút, melyet Marco Polo is követett. Ez csupán véletlen?

D.M.: Nem egészen. Közép-Ázsiából érkezett az iszlám, és Hszincsiang legnyugatabbi része Kásgar és környéke már a tizedik században Mohamed próféta követőjévé vált. A keleti rész, ahol addig buddhista királyságok voltak, a XIV. században tért át. Az iszlámra áttérve az ujgur elnevezés is feledésbe merült, csak 1923-ban tértek vissza hozzá.

Mivel török és muzulmán népek éltek ezen a területen, az Oszmán Birodalom támogatta a mandzsu császárok és a kínai uralom elleni felkeléseket a 19. században. Később Oroszország illetve a Szovjetunió befolyása erősödött, majd az utóbbi felbomlása, és az iszlám többségű utódállamok (Kazahsztán, Kirgizisztán, Tadzsikisztán, Üzbegisztán) függetlenné válása után az Egyesült Államok is hatalmi tényezőként jelent meg a térségben

hvg.hu: Kína időközben a világgazdaság meghatározó tényezőjévé emelkedett, rendkívül dinamikusan fejlődik. Érződik ez Hszincsiangban is?

D. M.: Kína valóban látványos eredményeket produkál, ugyanakkor ez nem egyenletesen oszlik meg a hatalmas térségben. A keleti és déli partvidék gyors fejlődésével szemben az ország belső és nyugati részeit csak kevésbé érinti a fellendülés. A dinamikus ám egyenlőtlen fejlődésnek azonban ára van, ezt most kezdi fizetni a hatalmas ország. Kínát most érik utol az elmúlt években alkalmazott népesedési politika következményei is, mind kevesebb gyermeknek kell eltartania mind több idős korút, s mindezt egy olyan országban, amely csak most ismerkedik a társadalombiztosítás áldásaival, hiszen az idősek eltartását hagyományosan a család vállalta magára. Időközben az országban jelentősen nőtt a lakosság fogyasztása, ennek révén tovább nőtt az életszínvonalbeli különbség, illetve emelkedtek az árak és a bérek. Ezzel a hagyományosan olcsó munkaerőre alapuló kínai exportoffenzíva lassult. Vannak szakemberek, akik nagy reményekkel, vagy épen aggodalommal tekintenek egy olyan Kínai Népköztársaságra, amely sikeresen veszi a technológia-transzfer akadályait, és amely komoly szárazföldi haderőt épít ki és erős tengeri hatalomként jelent meg. Ezek a folyamatok ma még inkább a jövő kérdései illetve aggodalmai. A jelen gondja viszont a mezőgazdaságban munkát már nem találó parasztok tömeges városba költözése, illetve több millió új munkahely teremtése, illetve a gyakran nyílt népmozgalmakban megnyilvánuló paraszti elégedetlenség lecsillapítása.

Hszincsiangban kevésbé érezhető a gazdasági fellendülés, ráadásul súlyossá váltak a demográfiai problémák. A tartomány legnagyobb népességét az ujgurok jelentik (az összlakosság 45 százaléka) de a betelepülő kínaiak már 41 százalékot tesznek ki. Elsősorban Urumcsiban, a tartomány fővárosban települtek le, de elkülönült településeket hozott létre a kínai katonaság is, Megjegyzendő, hogy a kínai atomkísérleti központ is e tartományban van, a Takla-makán sivatagban.

hvg.hu: Mennyiben támogatja az ujgur lakosság a függetlenségi törekvéseket, illetve a fegyvereseket?

D.M.: Az ujgur lakosság hivatalosan „a kínai állampolgárok gyülekezetének szabad és egyenrangú tagjaiból áll”. Akadnak azonban, akik az ujgur nemzet jövőjét Kínán kívül, vagy legalább egy szélesebb autonómiával képzelik el. A kínai hatalom elleni fegyveres fellépés, amelyet a hatóságok terrorizmusnak tekintenek, sokak számára szabadságharcot jelent.

hvg.hu: Hogyan is néz ki Hszincsiang belülről?

D.M. :A Hszincsiang-Ujgur Autonóm Terület 1955-ben, szovjet nyomásra és mintára jött létre az 1949 óta létező hasonnevű tartomány átszervezése révén. Maga a tartomány kis birodalom egy nagy birodalom határvidékén, amely számos nemzetiségi autonóm körzetet is magában foglal. E nemzetiségek törekvései nem mindig egyeznek az ujgur őslakosság törekvéseivel. Más probléma, hogy az őslakosság képviselői gyakran úgy érzik, hogy a kínai hatóságok elsősorban kirakat- és egzotikum szerepet szánnak nekik, nincs igazán beleszólásuk a saját sorsuk alakításába.

Peking nem kíván lemondani sem Hszincsiangról sem pedig Tibetről, mint ahogy Tajvanról sem. Szeptember 11-e után Kína felzárkózott az Amerikai Egyesült Államok mellé a terrorizmus elleni háborúban, és sikerült elérniük, hogy az ujgur kisebbség radikálisait is felvegyék a nemzetközi terroristák listájára. Hszincsiangban az a fegyveres ellenállás jelenleg szórványos. Sokkal erősebb a politikai és gazdasági harc a megszállóknak tekintett kíniak ellen. Kiemelkedő politikusuk Rabia Kadír, egy többgyermekes, Nobel békedíjas ujgur üzletasszony. Ő egy időben még a Kínai Népi gyűlésben is képviselte az ujgurokat. Majd letartóztatták azzal a váddal, hogy államtitkokat adott ki, és vagy hat évre börtönbe zárták.

hvg.hu: Várható-e újabb merénylet az olimpia alatt?

D.M.: Ujgur szélsőségesek nyilván minden áron fel akarják magukra hívni a figyelmet. Ám jobb, ha tudomásul veszik: ha az olimpia alatt újabb merényleteket követnek el, maguk ellen hangolják az egész nemzetközi közvéleményt. Kérdés, tudatában vannak-e ennek. Hiszen ugyanúgy járnának, ahogy a palesztinok, akiktől a Fekete Szeptember mozgalom 1972-es, müncheni merénylete után hosszú időre elfordult a világ rokonszenve.

China’s forgotten people
Amy Reger

Published 08 August 2008

6 comments Print version Listen RSS This week’s terror attack in China has brought an intense barrage of publicity to the Uighurs. Amy Reger writes that one violent act does not represent more than 10 million people

In the tiny offices of the Uyghur American Association/Uyghur Human Rights Project, our phones have rung off the hook since Monday morning. Journalists from four continents have called to hear our comments regarding Monday’s attack in Kashgar, East Turkestan, in which 16 border police were killed. Chinese government authorities are reporting that the attack was carried out by two young Uighur men, a fruit vendor and a taxi driver. Acts of this nature threaten to undermine the progress we have made in peaceful Uighur human rights advocacy in a single blow. They also threaten to instantly reduce the Uighur people and their rich cultural tapestry into a one-dimensional image of violence in the minds of millions.

While we welcome all media inquiries, it is unfortunate that an appalling, violent act such as this has been the impetus for an unprecedented level of interest in Uighurs and in our organization, which is dedicated to peacefully promoting human rights and democracy for the Uighur people. It is a tragedy that for most people around the world hearing news of the attack, this is the first time they will have ever heard of the Uighur people − and now, in their minds, the word “Uighur” will be associated with violence and the word “terrorism” that is splashed across the headlines of the world’s newspapers. Unsubstantiated links to Al-Qaeda proffered by China’s official media have been widely re-published in many Western news reports −the suggested linkage is too newsworthy to ignore, yet at the same time impossible for deadline-pressed media to independently check out.

Unfortunately for Uighurs, they live in a world where their belief in Islam, despite their strongly pro-Western attitudes and the traditionally moderate practice of their faith, unfairly brands them as a group that is prone to violence and fundamentalism. Moreover, the Chinese government has exploited the demonization of Islam and the “global war on terror” in order to justify its heavy-handed repression of millions of Uighurs. China’s propaganda apparatus has become increasingly sophisticated at projecting an image on the world stage of a major, well-organized Uighur terrorist threat, which helps to crowd out discussion of the decades-long history of human rights abuses visited upon the Uighurs.

The more than ten million Uighurs of East Turkestan face human rights abuses nearly identical to those faced by Tibetans; arbitrary detention and imprisonment, religious repression, economic and educational discrimination, and the steady eradication of their language and culture from public life and institutions. While many people around the world have some knowledge of the suffering of the Tibetan people (thanks to decades of courageous advocacy on the part of Tibetans and their supporters), and a sympathetic view of Buddhism, relatively few have heard of the Uighurs and their plight, and their religion makes it easy for people to accept Chinese government assertions about Muslim “extremism” among Uighurs. In addition, the Chinese government frequently applies the “terrorist” label to Uighurs where it would use the term “separatist” to describe Tibetans or other groups.

The Uighur American Association’s small staff faces a daunting challenge – how to compete with a relentless Chinese government propaganda machine, and attempt to inform the world about human rights abuses committed against a people they’ve probably never heard of except in relation to a violent act. We must also attempt to ensure that no one misinterprets our human rights advocacy as an attempt to downplay or justify a terrible act of aggression. We face an uphill battle against facile sensationalism, exploited by the Chinese government; we are also competing against a sea of Olympic puff-pieces and “colour stories” produced by multi-million-dollar television news outlets. Relatively few news outlets dare to venture out of comfortable territory to produce nuanced pieces on Uighurs or similarly non-traditional subjects.
However, facing a much graver set of circumstances are the Uighur people in East Turkestan themselves, and particularly Uighurs in Kashgar, who are now being subjected to even greater intimidation and persecution than ever before. We have reliable reports of Uighurs being summarily rounded up in one area of Kashgar in the past week; police going door-to-door in Uighur neighborhoods and checking everyone’s identity papers; the closure of at least one mosque in the city, and the stepped-up blockage of Internet access.

In recent months in East Turkestan, Uighurs’ passports have been almost universally confiscated by authorities; large numbers of Uighurs have been evicted from major cities in East Turkestan, including those who had legal rights to stay in those cities; and at least one mosque was destroyed, apparently due to parishioners’ refusal to post Olympics slogans on its walls. In addition, Uighurs in East Turkistan have been told to avoid contact with foreigners, especially foreign journalists, and Uighur imams have been ordered to undergo “political education” regarding the Olympics.

Many Uighurs who had been living in Beijing have been forced to leave the city, and official directives have been issued to hotels and guesthouses throughout Beijing not to permit Uighurs to stay there.
On July 9, five young Uighurs were shot to death without warning by police in the regional capital of Urumchi, in a raid on an alleged “holy war training group”. On the same day, following a mass sentencing rally in Kashgar, two Uyghurs were executed and 15 others were handed sentences ranging from 10 years in prison to death on unsubstantiated terror-related charges. Schoolchildren were among the 10,000 Uighurs forced to attend the rally.

Since 2001, using “terrorism” as a justification, the Chinese government has undertaken a renewed, systematic, and sustained crackdown on all forms of Uyghur dissent. Those targeted in this crackdown include two sons of Uighur freedom movement leader Rebiya Kadeer, Alim and Ablikim Abdureyim, serving lengthy prison sentences because of their mother’s Uighur human rights advocacy (Ms. Kadeer is president of the Uyghur American Association); Nurmemet Yasin, a young intellectual imprisoned for writing a story about a pigeon that authorities deemed subversive; and schoolteacher Abdulghani Memetemin, imprisoned for providing documentation of human rights abuses to an overseas group.

While the Chinese government promotes an image of itself as a nation unified in ethnic brotherhood, in the manner of the Olympic slogan “One World, One Dream,” it is simultaneously demonizing the Uighur people as a whole. It has every right to condemn a violent attack on its soil, and to secure itself against the threat of violence and terrorism throughout the PRC. But the killings in Kashgar should not be used as an excuse to continue and even intensify egregious human rights abuses in East Turkestan. They should also not be used as a vehicle to exacerbate tensions between Han Chinese and Uighurs.

The international community should also refrain from judging the Uighur people as a whole on the actions of a tiny minority. We urge readers to learn more about the Uighur people and their rich Turkic heritage and culture; to visit East Turkestan if you are traveling to China to attend the Olympics; and to educate yourself about the harsh, government-sponsored suppression that is threatening to eradicate Uighurs’ culture and way of life.

Amy Reger is principal researcher for the Uyghur American Association’s Uyghur Human Rights Project, based in Washington, D.C.

From:http://www.newstatesman.com/asia/2008/08/human-rights-uighurs-china

China’s Uighur rebels switch to suicide bombs

Richard Lloyd Parry in Kuqa

Staats Teror In Eastturkistan

Suicide pipe bombers made a dozen attacks on police stations, government offices and businesses yesterday as Muslim separatists in the far northwest of China stepped up their Olympics bombing campaign.

At least 11 people died in the raids, which took place before dawn in Kuqa, an oasis city on the northern edge of the Taklimakan desert in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang. Ten of the dead were reported to be attackers, three of whom appear to have blown themselves up to avoid capture.

It was an unprecedented event in China, which has no history of suicide bombing, and a grave escalation of the deteriorating security situation in one of its most tense and isolated areas.

Last night checkpoints sealed off the road to the police headquarters where attackers detonated a wagon filled with explosives at 2.30am, killing a civilian guard and injuring two police. According to the Xinhua news agency, the police fired back, killing one of the attackers and capturing two after a fourth killed himself with his bomb.

Half an hour earlier, an explosion blew out windows in a row of businesses. The owner of one café, where people were drinking at the time of the explosion, said: “Suddenly there was a big bang. The customers and I just ran away. When I looked back, my shop was totally destroyed.”

At 8.30am, police cornered five of the alleged attackers under a market stall. Two were shot dead as they threw their bombs while the other three blew themselves up. There were also attacks on a local government building and the premises of a trade organisation. A curfew was imposed and businesses in Kuqa county were ordered to close as police hunted for attackers, who, said Xinhua, had used bombs made from pipes, gas canisters and containers of liquid gas.

Kuqa is in the northern part of Xinjiang, a vast region of desert and mountainwhere the predominantly Muslim Uighur people are the largest ethnic population. In the months preceding the Olympics there had been increasing activity by separatist organisations seeking to establish an independent Islamic state of “East Turkestan”. Chinese authorities have reported a series of plots, including schemes to kidnap athletes and bomb a domestic flight, while bombs on buses killed five people in southwest China. There were doubts about whether they were serious threats or had been exaggerated by the authorities to justify intense Olympics security measures.

It was only last Monday, when 16 policemen were killed in a knife and bomb attack in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar, that it became clear that the dormant campaign for an independent East Turkestan had been revived.

Shi Dagang, a senior communist party official in Kashgar, said: “They are trying to turn 2008 into a year of mourning for China. I admit that we face a severe campaign because I know that these people will not lose their momentum.”

Two videos, of dubious authenticity, have been posted on the internet by a group claiming responsibility for the bus bombings. The latest, which appeared last Friday, told Muslims to avoid ethnic Chinese – difficult even in Xinjiang, where immigrants from the east almost match the Uighur population in numbers

Female suicide bombers in Uighur separatist war in Estturkistan

Lloyd Parry, Kuqa


Two women, including a teenage girl, were among the suicide attackers who launched a series of bomb attacks on a police station, government offices and shops, according to a senior official in China’s troubled north-western region of Xinjiang.

Chinese police in black body armour and carrying machine guns and rifles hunted for three escaped suspects yesterday, after the attacks on Sunday morning, the latest in a series of violent incidents apparently carried out by separatist insurgents and timed to coincide with the Beijing Olympics.

A 15-year old girl identified as Hailiqiemu Abulizi was said to be in a stable condition last night, after being injured when a home made bomb exploded prematurely. She underwent surgery after suffering 17 separate injuries, including a broken leg and foot.

Another woman, who has not been identified by the authorities, died after setting off a bomb which she was carrying in order to avoid imminent capture as she and four of her fellow attackers were cornered in a bazaar in the oasis town of Kuqa in China’s Xinjiang region. According to the Chinese authorities, ten of the attackers died in the attack, all of them Uighurs, a Muslim people who form the biggest ethnic group in Xinjiang.

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A Uighur passer-by who was caught up in the attacks died in hospital yesterday, the second man to be killed by the bombings which injured five others. Three of the attackers were arrested, and ten died, including two who killed themselves with their own bombs.

“If they are [Uighur] nationalists, then why didn’t they attack Chinese people?” asked Mu Tielifuhasimu, head of Aksu prefecture of which Kuqa is part. “They actually killed two Uighur people, and injured other innocent people in the streets.”

In fact the seventeen separate attacks seem to have planned with the intention of avoiding harm to Uighurs or civilians. They began at about 2.30 in the morning, a time when few people were on the streets, and were directed at the police headquarters, a government building and shops and businesses owned by ethnic Han Chinese, whom some Uighurs resent as colonialist interlopers.

Witnesses, most of whom refused to give their names, described chaotic early morning scenes as armed police hunted down the fleeing attackers through the back alleys of Kuqa. The bloody end came at around 8.30am with a last desperate stand among the empty stalls and shops of the night bazaar. A two minute film shot by one man on his camera phone from a high building overlooking the scene, and obtained by The Times, shows police cars driving down the street, and figures running for cover, while a voice, presumably that of a policeman, barks through a megaphone.

“I live nearby and I could hear explosions and shooting,” a Chinese man named Ma said. “Judging from the noise, there were a lot of explosions. I peeped out and saw police everywhere, coming from every direction to arrest them.” Most traces of the attacks had been cleared up by yesterday, although there were still fragments of broken glass in front of a row of damaged shops and windows close to the market were pierced by bullet holes.

Mr Mu said that the attackers were all Uighurs, but said that it was too early to draw conclusions about their motives or whether they were members of an organisation. He also declined to speculate on a link with an attack eight days ago in which 16 police were killed in the Uyghuristan/Xinjiang city of Kashgar by two men who drove a lorry into them, stabbed and bombed them.

But there are no plausible candidates other than the shadowy groups who, over the years, have called for independence for the region which they refer to as East Turkestan. “I think we are seeing an upturn in Uighur militancy,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher based in Hong Kong for Human Rights Watch, and an expert on Uyghuristan/Xinjiang.

“This [series of attacks on Monday] is unprecedented in terms of its organisation. It is an incredible act of defiance during the Olympics, a moment most precious to the government when they most want to avoid any kind of trouble or separatist violence.” He said that the use of female suicide attackers appeared to be a first.

Journalist working in Kuqa were closely monitored by police and officials and The Times photographer, Jack Hill, was detained for hours yesterday after Kuqa police insisted that the identity documents issued by Beijing police were inadequate. He was eventually released after intervention from Mr Mu, but forbidden from taking photographs in the town.

Chinese separatists ‘planning year-long terror campaign’

Richard Lloyd Parry in Kashgar, Uyghuristan


Islamic separatists in western China are executing a carefully laid plan to sabotage the Beijing Olympics and make 2008 a “year of mourning”, a senior Chinese official claimed today — a day after a devastating attack that killed 16 policemen in the desert city of Kashgar.

In the first official response to the attacks, Shi Dagang, a senior Communist Party official in Kashgar, said that China faced a long struggle against terrorism perpetrated by local and foreign separatists seeking to establish an independent state of East Turkestan in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province.

“Since last year, East Turkestan forces have tried to launch sabotage and violence against the Beijing Games,” Mr Shi said. “They are trying to turn 2008 into a year of mourning for China.

“I admit that we face a severe campaign because I know that these people will not lose their momentum, but we are confident that we can control the broader environment.”

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Extra police were visible at tourist sites in the city and, according to Chinese state media, cars coming into the city were being searched after yesterday’s grenade attack.

Describing it as a “well planned attack”, Mr Shi said that a stolen lorry was driven from behind into a group of border patrolmen out on their morning jog. One of the two attackers had lost an arm as he set off a homemade bomb, but his companion threw more bombs, and set about the injured survivors with knives.

The two men were overcome and arrested. In their lorry, they were found to be carrying nine bombs, two long knives, two daggers and a gun.

They had allegedly also written wills in which they were quoted as saying: “Faith is more important than life, more important than the prosperity of family, more important than a mother’s love. Therefore, we will pursue jihad with all our might.”


Mr Shi named two groups that he said were targeting the Olympics: the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim) and the East Turkestan Liberation Organisation. “At the beginning of this year, Etim dispatched orders that from April and May, they will launch major incidents until the Beijing Games . . . this is the reality that we have to face, a combination of internal and external forces, jointly co-ordinating a series of attacks.”

The Chinese authorities have reported several incidents this year which they have attributed to East Turkestan terrorists, including the attempted bombing of a domestic passenger plane and bus bombs in the southwest city of Kunming. Responsibility for the latter was claimed on the internet in the name of Etim, but Chinese officials and foreign analysts have expressed doubts about the claims.

The attack, the biggest of its kind in ten years, caused alarm but little surprise in Kashgar, an oasis town on the ancient Silk Route, where Chinese immigrants are greatly outnumbered by Uighur locals. Most people refused to discuss the incident, for fear of getting into trouble with the security forces, but the few who were prepared to speak anonymously expressed mixed feeling about the effect of the attack.

Were these rather vague reports serious terrorist threats or an effort by the Chinese authorities to justify the intense security measures imposed on the country during the Olympics? Monday’s attack proves that, however much the Chinese security forces may manipulate information, they also face a real threat.

Have your say

UYgurs have been suppressed by Chinese communist. They can not even use their own language and call East Turkistan to their Homeland. They can not carry and fly their flag over East Turkistan-chinese xinjiang. It is forbidden with death sentence.
Imagine if Scots people can’t fly Scottish Flag

Turan, London, England
From:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4464246.ece