- Thursday July 10, 2008
Guardian UK: Chinese authorities today claimed they had foiled an attempt to sabotage next month's Beijing Olympics as they confirmed the shooting dead of five alleged Muslim militants.
Chen Zhuangwei, head of the public security in the north-west city of Urumqi, confirmed more than 100 arrests this year as part of a crackdown against the "three evil forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism".
The operation included killing five Uighur separatists in a raid on their hide-out in the city, the capital of the remote Xinjiang region.
It was part of a move to eliminate alleged terrorist groups in Xinjiang, who, state media said, were plotting to attack the Beijing Olympics.
The state's Muslim Uighur population deny they are terrorists and accuse the Chinese of using the Olympics as a pretext to suppress dissent.
The Uighurs have been campaigning for years for an independent Muslim state of East Turkestan.
The operation involved 82 arrests in the first half of this year, the Xinhua news agency said.
In the same period, Xinhua said the police arrested 25 suspected members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement and destroyed seven printing works accused of spreading the group's "reactionary propaganda".
The US-based Falun Dafa Information Centre claimed there have been more than 8,000 arrests in 29 provinces since December 2007.
"Falun Gong adherents pose no threat whatsoever to the games. The Olympics are being taken as an excuse to put them behind bars for years," its spokesman Erping Zhang said.