News / Asia

    China Defends Position on Tiananmen Attack

    A Chinese policeman of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team stands guard on a main street next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 31, 2013.
    A Chinese policeman of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team stands guard on a main street next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Oct. 31, 2013.
    China is calling for a unified front against what it says is the country’s fight against terrorism, following Monday’s incident in Tiananmen Square that killed five people. After rounding up five suspects linked to the alleged attack, China says it was a pre-mediated and carefully organized act of terrorism.
     
    Tiananmen Square car crashTiananmen Square car crash
    x
    Tiananmen Square car crash
    Tiananmen Square car crash
    Chinese state-backed media Thursday said the Tiananmen incident was aimed at undermining stability and creating a separate state of East Turkestan in China’s remote region of Xinjiang.
     
    The Global Times newspaper noted that while those allegedly involved were all members of the country’s largely Muslim ethnic minority group, known as the Uighurs, they would be the "biggest victims" from the attack. The paper explained that Xinjiang would be subject to even tighter security restrictions.
     
    Chinese authorities have been cracking down hard in recent months in Xinjiang, targeting alleged religious extremists. The region’s official Xinjiang Daily newspaper says authorities detained hundreds of people for questioning between late June and August. This followed an outbreak of violence in Xinjiang that left 35 people dead in late June.

    Critics blame Beijing for the tensions, citing repression of minority Uighurs and policies encouraging a massive influx of ethnic Han Chinese.

    Uighurs

    • Ethnically Turkic Muslims
    • Make up about 45% of Xinjiang's population
    • The area was briefly independent in the 1940s before China re-established control in 1949
    • Many resent Chinese government controls and increased Han population in Xinjiang
    • Fear an erosion of their culture and language
    • Uighur-Han clashes erupted in 2009 in Xinjiang
    The World Uyghur Congress, an exile Uighur group, says there is little reason to trust Beijing’s conclusion regarding the attack, given China’s tight control of information.

    Dolkun Isa with the World Uyghur Congress says, “That's why we are calling for an international investigation, independent investigation group come to the area and China should open the door to international media, we are worried that the Chinese government will just use this opportunity to crackdown and arrest innocent people, we're just worried about that.”
     
    The group says there is no organized resistance against Chinese rule, and that any individual attacks by Uighurs are out of desperation.
     
    China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying denied any link between the incident and the government’s policies.
     
    Huasaid, “Those individuals who try to link terrorism to the government’s national or religious policies or even use those policies as an excuse to attack the government have ulterior motives and are completely wrong. Anyone who has the basic ability to distinguish [right from wrong] can see this."
     
    While Chinese authorities maintain Monday’s incident was a terrorist plot, they have provided little evidence.

    Eyewitnesses said a jeep with Xinjiang license plates rammed through barricades, plowed through crowds of tourists and police before hitting a bridge outside the Forbidden City. Police say at that point, the passengers, Usmen Hassan, his wife and mother set the vehicle on fire and died. Police later said knives, fuel canisters and banners with religious extremist slogans were found in the vehicle.

    The three people in the vehicle and five other suspects held in connection with the incident are from areas in the western part of Xinjiang where tensions have peaked in recent months. But they are from locales that are as much as one thousand kilometers apart.
     
    Officials in Xinjiang helped police in Beijing to locate those allegedly involved in the attack. But Xinjiang government spokesman Yang Guoqiang could not provide any additional details.

    Yang says that while the fight against terrorism goes on, it is not having an impact on daily life in the region.

    He said, “Police and authorities are carrying out their investigation, but people's life and the normal course of things has not been affected."

    However, foreign journalists who have traveled to remote parts of the region where some of the suspects were from are reporting a heavy police presence in areas and tensions on the rise.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora