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.
William Ide
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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid