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China Reports Breakup of More Suspected Terrorist Groups Ahead of Olympics

Chinese state media says authorities have broken up 12 terrorist organizations in the western region of Xinjiang so far this year.

Officials in the city of Kashgar says the groups, including the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and Hizb ut-Tahrir, were linked to international terrorist organizations.

In recent weeks Chinese authorities have reported disrupting or dismantling several terrorist groups that allegedly posed a threat to August's Olympic Games in Beijing. The state-run news agency Xinhua announced last week that police broke up five groups in Xinjiang and arrested 82 suspected terrorists.

Beijing has repeatedly said that terrorism poses the biggest threat to the Olympics. But human rights groups say the government is using terrorism as an excuse to crush dissent in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang has eight million ethnic Uighurs, most of whom are Muslims. The Chinese government has cracked down on separatist activity in the area, and accused Uighur activists of trying to make Xinjiang an independent state.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.