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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Beijing takes steps to foil terror plots ahead of Olympics

July 17, 2008

By Pranay Sharma

Beijing, July 15th, 2008 (IANS) Worries about attempts by terrorist and
separatist groups to disrupt the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing
has led the Chinese government to offer financial incentives to people
for information to foil such plots. According to the local media, those
who inform the Beijing police and Chinese authorities about “major
security threats” to the Olympic Games that begin Aug 8 by providing
evidence could receive a reward of up to 500,000 yuans (nearly $73,000).

The Chinese authorities are leaving nothing to chance and have taken a
series of measures to counter possible threats of attacks by terrorist
groups, including deploying surface-to-air missiles around the venue of
the Olympics.

The ministry of public security of China as well as the Interpol have
warned of a “real threat” of terrorism during the Games scheduled to
begin in less than a month’s time.

A notice jointly issued by the city’s police bureau and public security
comprehensive management committee said the tip-off must include
accurate and detailed information about a planned terrorist attack,
possible sabotage by an illegal organization, plot to murder personnel
related to the Olympics or foreigners, or some other major crimes.

Quoting from the notice, the China Daily said, “The rewards would range
upwards from 10,000 yuans (approximately $6,700) and be determined by
the value of the tip-off.” The offer has been in place from July 10 and
will continue till Oct 31.

It added, “The rewards are to mobilize the masses to maintain public
security as well as to eliminate hidden dangers to the Games. The
financial incentive is the Beijing authorities’ latest move to ensure a
’safe’ Olympics.”

The March 14 riots in Lhasa have shaken up the Chinese authorities and
they miss no opportunity of reminding people of the Dalai Lama and his
supporters’ possible attempts to disrupt the Olympic Games by drawing
the attention of the international community to their demand of
“autonomy” for a “Greater Tibet”.

Interestingly, the reports in the Chinese media do not mention the
Tibetan groups but the Falun Gong, an organization that many believe was
active some time back when Jiang Zemin was the Chinese president but has
not been heard of in recent years.

Though attempts are being made to downplay possible demonstrations by
Tibetan supporters during the Games, a senior Chinese official made it
clear that this could not be ruled out.

“We are adopting a take-it-as-it-comes approach,” Dong Yunhu, director
general of the state council information office, said in Beijing Sunday.

“For us the task is to solve the problem,” Dong added in response to
questions about possible demonstrations and attempts by Tibetan
supporters to disrupt the Beijing Olympics.

The Tibet issue may be a high-profile one, but reports from different
parts of China suggest discontent among many sections of its people,
including the Uygur minority who dominate the Xinjiang province of the

Last week, the authorities claimed to have cracked down on five
terrorist groups in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, and have so far
detained 82 “suspected terrorists” who were allegedly plotting to
sabotage the Olympics.

The China Daily said in April the public security ministry had reported
several failed terrorist plots to disrupt the Games, including poison
gas and bomb attacks on hotels, government offices in Beijing and other
cities and kidnapping of foreign athletes and spectators.

 From this week, security staff will be deployed at hundreds of roads in
the city. All passengers and vehicles registered outside Beijing will be
subject to security checks.
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