[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
China: Uighurs plotted 'holy war'
Chinese police say raid foiled plot less than a month before Beijing Olympics.
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2008 04:38 GMT
Police claim to have foiled several Uighur plots in the run up to the Olympics [GALLO/GETTY]

Five ethnic Uighur men shot and killed in a police raid in China's western Xinjiang province were part of a group plotting a "holy war", Chinese state media has said, less than a month before the Beijing Olympics open.

The five were killed in a raid on Tuesday in an apartment in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang's regional capital.

They were part of a group of 15, all of whom were armed with knives, China's official Xinhua news agency said.

Two were injured in the gunfire, while the rest are now in custody, the agency said.

"The suspected criminals that police killed and nabbed... were from a 'holy war' training group," Xinhua said, citing an unnamed Urumqi police spokesman.

'Confession'

It said the eight men in custody had confessed to planning "terrorist" attacks against China's majority Han population.

Xinjiang's Uighurs


Officially an autonomous region, Xinjiang is three times the size of France and forms most of China's border with Central Asia.

More than eight million Muslim Uighurs live in Xinjiang, many of whom complain of persecution and discrimination under Chinese rule.

China accuses Uighur fighters of using violence and terrorism in an effort to create a separate state.

Human rights groups say China has exaggerated the threat as an excuse to crack down on dissent.

The report said several knives were found in the raid, but made no mention of any heavier weapons such as guns or explosives.

Chinese officials and media have reported several alleged plots blamed on Muslim Uighur separatists in the run up to the August Olympics.

Earlier this year police said they had foiled a plan to hijack an airliner and crash it in Beijing, while another plot was said to have involved kidnapping Westerners and journalists.

In another case in January, police in Urumqi said they had broken up a group whose leaders were planning to stage attacks in Beijing and Shanghai with toxic materials and explosives.

China has promised a massive security operation for the Olympics, with the authorities determined to ensure that the Games, seen as a showcase for modern China, are held without incident.

Beijing frequently accuses Uighurs separatists – some of whom it says have been trained by al-Qaeda – of running a violent campaign to bring about an independent state called East Turkistan.

However, human rights groups and exiled Uighurs say the government has fabricated or exaggerated the threat as an excuse to crush all forms of dissent in the region.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.