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Report: Chinese Terrorists Trained by bin Laden - 2002-01-21

A new report from China's government says many terrorists in the country's far western Xinjiang province were trained by Osama bin Laden. While these allegations are not new, the report contains much more detail than Beijing has previously made public.

The report from China's State Council (or cabinet) says East Turkistan terrorists are closely connected with international terrorist forces. East Turkistan is what Muslim separatist groups call Xinjiang, which they would like to make independent from Chinese rule.

The new report says these mostly Muslim groups get "unstinting" support, including money, weapons and training from the bin Laden terrorist network in Afghanistan and elsewhere. That network has been the target of a global war on terrorism led by the United States.

The Chinese report says the East Turkistan movement is an important part of Mr. bin Laden's terror network. The report says the movement has launched attacks in China, Central Asia and Turkey.

Chinese officials complain that they are victims of terrorism. They resent criticism from foreign governments and human rights groups of China's military and police efforts to crack down on Muslim separatists.

China's critics say counter-terrorism efforts too often fall on the entire Muslim community. Monday's report says China focuses carefully on the small number of people who lead others to commit violent acts.

The report gives details of a series of bombings, kidnappings, arsons, and other violence aimed at Chinese officials and diplomats, leaders of Muslim religious groups approved by Beijing, police, and ordinary citizens.

The report says suspected terrorists poisoned people and domestic animals in 1998. One person died in the incident, four people became seriously ill, and thousands of farm animals took sick, and many died.