[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

China police hunt Beijing explosion suspects

Reports say search under way for two people from Xinjiang following deaths caused by motorist driving into pedestrians.

Last Modified: 29 Oct 2013 08:13
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The 'major incident' occurred in front of the main entrance of Beijing's Forbidden City on Monday [Reuters]

Chinese police are looking for two suspects from the Xinjiang region in connection with a "major incident", after five people were killed and dozens injured when a car drove into pedestrians and caught fire in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Police in the capital are asking local hotels about suspicious guests who had checked in since October 1 and named two suspects they said were from Xinjiang in a notice issued on Monday night, four hotels told Reuters news agency.

Judging by their names, the suspects appeared to be ethnic Uighurs, who are Turkic-speaking Muslims from Xinjiang, a province in the far west of China.

Many Uighurs chafe at Chinese controls on their culture and religion.

"To prevent the suspected persons and vehicles from committing further crimes ... please notify law enforcement of any discovery of clues regarding these suspects and the vehicles," said the notice, which was widely circulated on Chinese microblogs.

Xinjiang licence plates

The police notice listed four car-licence plates from Xinjiang.

Beijing police, contacted by telephone, declined to comment.

Calls to the Xinjiang government went unanswered.

Police said on Monday that the car veered off the road at the north of the square, a major tourist attraction, crossed the barriers and caught fire almost directly in front of the main entrance of the Forbidden City, in front of a huge portrait of the founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

The three people in the car died, as well as two tourists.

China says it grants Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms and accuses extremists of separatism.

Many rights groups say China has long overplayed the threat posed to justify its tough controls in energy-rich Xinjiang, which lies strategically on the borders of Central Asia, India and Pakistan.

Muted coverage

Monday's incident, which struck at the symbolic heart of Chinese state power, has received muted coverage in Chinese media as a vast censorship apparatus suppressed unofficial accounts.

Newspapers across China carried news of the crash low down on their front pages and ran brief reports from state-run media.

Chinese media outlets are known to receive direct instructions from the government directing their reporting of events deemed threatening by the ruling Communist party, which in recent months has moved to tighten controls over all forms of media.

The Beijing News, generally an outspoken paper, gave priority to reports of a protest by doctors in eastern China.

Like other newspapers, it did not run a report of the event by its own journalists, and republished an account from the official news agency Xinhua.

420

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.