China Blames Muslim Separatists for Tiananmen Attack
A man installs a security camera at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Nov. 1, 2013, very close to the site of a fatal vehicle crash in which five people died.
Soldiers and a policeman stand guard at Xinhuamen Gate, the main entrance of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound, the residence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, located in the center of Beijing, Oct. 31, 2013.
A paramilitary soldier patrols near visitors posing for souvenir pictures at Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, Nov. 1, 2013.
A man installs a security camera at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 31, 2013.
Vehicles travel along Chang'an Avenue as smoke raises in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013.
Crowds react to a car accident at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013. (Image taken from weibo)
Wounded people are seen after a car accident at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013. (Image taken from weibo)
Security it seen after a car accident at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013. (Image taken from weibo)
Chinese paramilitary police and uniformed police seal off pavement leading to Tiananmen Gate, following a car fire in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013.
Police officers set up barriers in front of the giant portrait of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong as they clean up after a car accident at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013.
A police officer walks in front of the giant portrait of the late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong as other police clean up after a car crash at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 28, 2013.
Car Fire in Beijing's Tiananmen Square
November 01, 2013 2:14 AM
China's domestic security chief has blamed a Muslim Uighur separatist group for planning a "violent terrorist incident" this week on Beijing's Tiananmen Square that killed five people and injured dozens of others.
Meng Jianzhu, a member of the 25-member Politburo with responsibility for domestic security, said Friday that the incident had been organized by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. The group is based in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The United States and the United Nations both classified ETIM as a terrorist organisation in 2002, although the U.S. later removed the group from its list.
Beijing says the deadly Monday car crash in Tiananmen Square was a suicide mission planned by religious extremists. Police say a Uighur man named Usmen Hasan crashed a vehicle carrying his mother and wife into a crowd of people in the square, before lighting the car on fire. All three died at the scene, as did two tourists. Dozens were wounded.
Officials say they found gasoline, knives, steel sticks and a flag with extremist religious content inside the burnt-out vehicle. They also arrested five people from Xinjiang, who were said to be planning attacks with Hasan.
The World Uighur Congress does not deny Uighur individuals sometimes engage in violence, out of what it calls "desperation". But, contrary to Beijing's claims, it says there is no organized resistance against Chinese rule.
Clashes in Xinjiang are common between Uighurs and the Han Chinese majority or members of the government security forces. Beijing says over 200 people have been killed in such attacks in recent years. But this is the first time Chinese authorities have blamed Uighurs for a major incident in Beijing.