News / Asia

8 Suspects Sought Following Tiananmen Square Crash

Reports: Chinese Officials Suspect Xinjiang Link to Beijing 'Attack'i
X
October 30, 2013
Reports from Beijing say Chinese authorities believe a car crash that killed five people in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on Monday was a deliberate act by people from the troubled region of Xinjiang, home to a mostly Muslim Uighur minority. A spokesman for the main exiled Uighur opposition group tells VOA it is premature to blame the incident on Uighurs. He also warns that Beijing may use this to justify a policy of suppressing the Uighur people - an allegation China denies. VOA's Michael Lipin reports

Reports: Chinese Officials Suspect Xinjiang Link to Beijing 'Attack'

TEXT SIZE - +
Chinese police are looking for eight suspects in connection with a car crash that killed five people this week in Beijing's symbolic Tiananmen Square.

Staff at several Beijing hotels said Wednesday police have warned them to be on the lookout for eight men who appear to be from the troubled northwest region of Xinjiang.

Hotel staff say seven of the men have names commonly given to Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority that has long complained of religious persecution. They say the other name was that of a majority Han Chinese suspect.

Details of the crash in Chinese media have been scarce, but foreign media have reported officials believe it was a suicide attack by people from Xinjiang.

Two days later, security remained tight in the capital. Though Tiananmen Square has been reopened, police appear to have increased their checks on license plates of cars in and around Beijing in response to the crash.

Site of Tiananmen Square crashSite of Tiananmen Square crash
x
Site of Tiananmen Square crash
Site of Tiananmen Square crash
The crash occured when a sports utility vehicle veered off a road, drove through a pedestrian area and crashed in flames near the main entrance to the Forbidden City - one of China's most heavily guarded public spaces.  The dead included the vehicle's three occupants and two tourists - a Philippine woman and a Chinese man. Thirty-eight bystanders were injured.

Xinjiang province, ChinaXinjiang province, China
x
Xinjiang province, China
Xinjiang province, China
China has long accused Uighur separatists and Islamic militants of carrying out a series of attacks in Xinjiang in recent years, in an effort to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

Exiled Uighur leaders reject accusations of Uighur involvement in terrorism.  They accuse China's majority Han rulers of persecuting their people and turning them into a minority in their homeland.

A spokesman for main opposition World Uyghur Congress told VOA via Skype it is too early to conclude whether the Beijing incident was an attack.  Alim Seytoff also denounced the apparent targeting of Uighurs by Beijing police, whose notice identified four Xinjiang license plates allegedly used by the two suspects.

"I think it is really seriously unfair to single out the Uighurs [by] basically informing hotels and other places to search for several Uighurs and the car tags from Xinjiang, because lots of [Han] Chinese people from Xinjiang drive Xinjiang-tagged cars," said Seytoff.

It is not clear if the two suspects were among those killed in the sports utility vehicle or possible conspirators in a wider plot.  China analyst Christopher Johnson of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said he believes police are looking for more potential assailants.

  • 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.

"The thing that's really interesting to me is the possibility that the Chinese authorities are concerned that there might be either follow-on or other attacks that might occur here, and that's got to be alarming for the authorities," said Johnson.

Johnson said China may be holding back from blaming Uighurs for Monday's incident because of the sensitivity of acknowledging that an attack happened in a place such as Tiananmen.  He also said the Chinese government may be waiting until it establishes an "iron-clad" case of culpability for the crash.

China denies mistreating any of its minority groups, saying they are guaranteed wide-ranging religious and cultural freedoms.

Some information for this report was contributed by Reuters.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sun from: Taipei
October 30, 2013 3:02 AM
Until when can the government of PRC repress such movements of minority races? They are claiming just for freedom. I wish all Han nationals, minority races, and other tribes in China can obtain at least freedom. Let's stop repressing other people (races and trives) and let's form an earthly paradise on this globe!

In Response

by: Anonymous
October 30, 2013 8:35 AM
repressing?give me an example,please。if you have no examples,please shut up。i hate rumor mongers like you


by: Abel Ogah from: Oju Benue state Nigeria
October 29, 2013 4:05 AM
Barbaric ! Whatever their greivances are, these attackers recorded more dead than the attacked.

In Response

by: Dive from: Beijing
October 29, 2013 10:05 AM
even if it like this,there still are so many governments treat them are "democracy fighter",so satire.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid