Mar 11, 2008

East Turkestan: China Fabricates Terror Plots

Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer accuses China of fabricating alleged plots against the Olympics to blacken her community's name.

Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer accuses China of fabricating alleged plots against the Olympics to blacken her community's name.

Below is an article published by Al Jazeera:

An exiled leader of China's minority Uighur community has accused Chinese officials of fabricating "terror plots" against the Beijing Olympics so it can use them as an excuse to crack down on her community.

"It's completely untrue. All these allegations are falsified," Rebiya Kadeer, now living in the US, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

"It seems that the Chinese government has one goal, which is to create this scenario of terrorism, and produce a terrorist action itself so that it can blame the Uighur people," the head of the Uyghur American Association said.

On Sunday [9 March 2008] Chinese officials announced that they had foiled two alleged plots originating in the vast western region Xinjiang, home of the Muslim Uighur community, but they revealed very few details.



Xinjiang in northwestern China, also known as East Turkestan, is home to an 8 million strong Uighur Muslim community

Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims with a language and culture distinct from the majority Han Chinese

Xinjiang is officially an autonomous region and is rich in natural resources

Many Uighurs resent the growing Han presence in the region, as well as government controls on religion and culture

Officials said the other alleged plot involved passengers attempting to crash a Chinese airliner flying from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, to Beijing on Friday.

The aircraft was diverted to the city of Lanzhou in Gansu province, where "suspicious liquids" were removed, China's civil aviation authority said.

But Kadeer said "if there were Uighur separatists on board, the Chinese authorities would have paraded them immediately and punished them severely".

"It is shameful of the Chinese government," she said. "The real goal of the Chinese government is to organise a terrorist attack so that it can increase its crackdown on the Uighur people."


'Open to question'

The government's failure to provide details and evidence has fuelled speculation among human right group that it was overstating the security threat to justify tough measures against opponents.

"When China has made allegations of terrorist activity, it doesn't back it up with evidence and restrictions make it impossible for independent investigators to verify," Mark Allison, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Amnesty International, told the Associated Press.

"Without evidence, their claims are open to question," he said.

Many experts say the threat of a terror attack on the Beijing Games is low and the International Olympic Committee has said it believes "the Chinese authorities are thorough and professional in their handling of security measures and precautions".

Chinese Olympic organisers themselves voiced confidence about security arrangements on Monday.

"An efficient Olympic security command system is in place," Sun Weide, a spokesman for the organising committee, said. "We're confident of holding a peaceful and safe Olympic Games."

Kadeer, 61, said she was seeking talks with the White House and the US state department about the alleged plots.

She was jailed in 1999 in China for leaking "state secrets" to a US congressional delegation visiting Xinjiang.

After much international pressure she was released in March 2005 and allowed into exile in the United States to join her husband, but two of her sons, aged 32 and 30, remain imprisoned in China.

Beijing has expressed anger about the Uighur leader's activities while in exile and was incensed when George Bush, the US president, met her in June [2007] on the margins of a conference of political dissidents in the Czech Republic.