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Chinese Delink Xinjiang Incident From Olympics

In an attempt to reassure the participating countries and foreign visitors that the terrorist strike by two persons, since identified as Uighurs belonging to the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan (IMET), on a group of border police guards of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security at Kashgar in the Xinjiang Province on August 4,2008, would have no impact on the security of the Beijing Olympics being inaugurated on August 8,2008, the authorities of the Public Security Department of Xinjiang have been projecting the attack as an act of reprisal for the action taken by them against the IMET. According to them, the attack, in which 16 police guards died, had nothing to do with the Olympics.

2. According to them, the two attackers were natives of Kashgar aged 28 and 33. One is a taxi driver and the other a vegetable vendor. According to the official account, they had stolen the truck in which they travelled to the police post. Initially, the local authorities had stated that the attackers jumped out of the truck and threw hand-grenades at the police guards, who were jogging and then attacked them with knives. They subsequently stated that the attackers threw country-made explosives at the police guards. They also claimed to have recovered nine home-made explosive items, one home-made gun and two knives from the attackers. They claimed that these were similar to the items recovered by the police from a training camp of the IMET in January,2007.

3. However, according to a foreign blogger living in Xinjiang, there were unconfirmed reports circulating that the police guards actually died when the two attackers drove the heavy truck into them. If true, for some reason, the local authorities do not want to admit this. However, a despatch dated August 5 of the Government-owned Xinhua news agency said as follows:”One of the attackers drove a truck to ram into a team of more than 70 policemen who were jogging during a regular exercise at about 8:00 AM. The driver and the other attacker also threw explosives at the team and the gate of the station. Road checks have been strengthened across Xinjiang and the local authorities in Kashi (Kashgar) have ordered a full security alert in public places including government office buildings, schools and hospitals.” (5-8-08)

(The writer, Mr B.Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

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