China Issues Wanted List for Alleged Olympic Terrorists
By Daniel Schearf
21 October 2008
China has announced a wanted list of eight men who allegedly carried out attacks aimed at disrupting the Beijing Olympics. The men are also accused of encouraging separatist activity in China's Xinjiang Province, where religious minorities complain about Beijing's heavy-handed rule. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
China's Public Security Bureau has released a wanted list of alleged terrorists with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which the United Nations considers a terrorist group that is linked to al Qaida.
The PSB says the eight men on the list - all Chinese nationals - planned and carried out violent attacks to disrupt the Beijing Olympics and stir up separatism in the western province of Xinjiang.
No details of the attacks were given and it was not clear if authorities link the men to the break up of alleged terrorist cells and attacks on police in Xinjiang this year.
China says the suspects are still are large, but the PSB would not say where they may be. Public security spokesman Wu Heping called for international cooperation to track them down.
He says they hope relevant countries' governments and law enforcement departments will conduct criminal investigations. He says if they find the men they should immediately be arrested and turned over to Chinese authorities for punishment under the law.
Earlier this year public security said they broke up several terrorist cells in Xinjiang and arrested more than 80 suspects who were plotting bomb attacks and kidnappings during the Summer Olympics.
In August, just a few days before the games opened in Beijing, 16 border police were killed in Xinjiang in an attack blamed on Muslim separatists.
Beijing says it is fighting a terrorist threat from Islamic militants in Xinjiang but has produced little evidence.
Human rights organizations say government controls on religion and natural resources fuel separatist sentiment in Xinjiang, home to the Uighur ethnic minority community. The Uighurs are predominately Muslim.
The United States has 17 Uighur Muslims in custody at its military prison in Guantanamo Bay. China wants those men sent home.
The U.S. government has ruled they are not enemy combatants and a federal court is in the process of deciding whether they should be released in the U.S.
U.S. authorities refuse to send them to China where rights groups say they would face torture and execution.
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