Twenty-nine more arrests in China amid crackdown after deadly attacks

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Twenty-nine more arrests in China amid crackdown after deadly attacks

    Attacks since October have been blamed on extremists who are inspired by jihadi ideology and seek to overthrow Chinese rule

    Chinese authorities have announced 29 more arrests in a massive crackdown in the north-western region of Xinjiang following a series of deadly attacks blamed on Islamist extremists.

    Four high-profile attacks on civilians – in Xinjiang and in two cities elsewhere in China – since October have handed a major security challenge to the president and Communist party leader, Xi Jinping, during his first 18 months in office. The attacks have been blamed on extremists from Xinjiang's native Turkic-speaking Uighur population, who are inspired by jihadi ideology and seek to overthrow Chinese rule.

    The latest crackdown followed an attack on 22 May in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, in which men drove off-road vehicles through a crowded market and threw explosives, killing 39 people. Police said four suspects were killed at the scene and that a fifth was later caught outside Urumqi.

    Since then, the government has made several announcements of arrests of more than 300 suspects in Xinjiang, some of whom were detained before the market attack. Authorities said 23 extremist groups had been broken up, including a group of five allegedly plotting another bomb attack. Last week, it said 55 people charged with terrorism and other crimes had been sentenced at a stadium in northern Xinjiang, including at least one sentenced to death.

    The crackdown bears the hallmarks of anti-crime campaigns that were once common in China. They have largely been phased out after complaints they were ineffective and promoted abuses such as torture and forced confessions. Yet they remain a standard official response in Xinjiang and neighbouring Tibet, accompanied by other now-rare practices such as parading the accused around in trucks and sentencing them at mass stadium gatherings.

    Chinese leaders feel the need to appear tough to reassure a frightened public, especially in Xinjiang, said Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch.

    Wang said that Xinjiang police and prosecutors would now be under intense pressure to solve cases and obtain guilty verdicts, further chipping away at suspects' already flimsy legal protections.

    That also increased the chances that the wrong people would be tried and sentenced, allowing the actual attackers to go free and exposing China to further attacks, she said. The campaign was also likely to increase resentments among Uighurs over their treatment under China's legal system, Wang said.

    "There are grievances and this gives the perception they are not getting justice," Wang said.

    Before the market bombing, three earlier attacks also were blamed on Xinjiang extremists.

    An apparent suicide bombing on 30 April at an Urumqi railway station killed two suspected insurgents and one bystander. In March, 29 people were stabbed to death at a train station in the south-western city of Kunming. Last October, three assailants drove an SUV through crowds in front of Beijing's Tiananmen Gate in October and set their vehicle alight, killing the three attackers and two tourists.

    Thursday's report said the most recently detained suspects were charged with crimes including incitement to separatism, organising mobs to disturb social order, operating an illegal business, incitement to ethnic hatred, and ethnic discrimination.

    There was no indication of any direct link to recent attacks, but those detained were described as "violent terrorist criminal suspects".

    The government strictly controls information about security in Xinjiang, and little information can be obtained independently about suspects rounded up in crackdowns or the evidence against them.

    Beijing says the attackers are religious extremists with ties to overseas Islamist terror groups, but has shown little evidence publicly to support that.

    Activists among the native Turkic Uighur population say the unrest is fuelled by resentment against settlers from China's Han majority and official discrimination and restrictions on their native culture and Islamic practices. They also say Chinese authorities label routine criminal activity or even non-violent protests as terrorist acts.

    The crackdown has been accompanied by tough language from Chinese leaders. At a top-level meeting late last month, the president called for "copper walls and iron barriers" as well as "nets spread from the earth to the sky" to stop terrorism, while also promising more support for education and employment in Xinjiang.

    Twenty-nine more arrests in China amid crackdown after deadly attacks | World news |

    So finally the Chinese accept that these chaps are not 'bandits', but jihadis.

    But they are helpless and impotently watch since they cannot do a sausage to where the root lies.

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