China Guarantees Security at Olympic Games
By VOA News 05 August 2008
Chinese authorities are assuring athletes and spectators arriving for the Beijing Olympic Games that they will be safe from terrorists.
Organizing committee spokesman Sun Weide told reporters Tuesday that China could guarantee a safe and peaceful Olympics.
A deadly attack in China's far western Xinjiang region on Monday killed 16 police officers and wounded 16 others.
Authorities ramped up security across the mostly-Muslim region, but especially in the town of Kashgar, the scene of the assault. Police went on full alert at government office buildings, schools and hospitals.
Chinese state media say two men from a mainly Muslim ethnic group were responsible for the attack - four days ahead the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
China's official Xinhua news agency says the two Uighur men drove a dump truck into a group of jogging policemen early Monday in the city of Kashgar. The report says the attackers threw two home-made explosives at a nearby police station and hacked at officers with knives.
Xinhua says the men - ages 28 and 33 - were later arrested. No civilians were hurt.
There has been no official claim of responsibility for the assault.
Chinese state media linked the attack to an alleged plot by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a group dedicated to gaining independence for Xinjiang. Chinese authorities say the group has been planning to launch attacks in the days before the Olympics.
Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang have been waging a low-level rebellion against Chinese rule for years. Human rights groups and Uighur groups in the West say Chinese authorities often use terrorism as a pretext to persecute the country's Muslim minority.
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