Join our Mailing List

"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

China says foils Olympics terrorist plot

April 11, 2008

By Ian Ransom and Benjamin Kang Lim

BEIJING Thu 10 Apr 2008 (Reuters) - Chinese authorities foiled plots to
kidnap foreigners and carry out suicide attacks around the Beijing
Olympics,

police said on Thursday, in a fresh blow to the image of harmony China
has sought to promote before the Games.

The European Parliament, meanwhile, voted for a possible boycott by EU
leaders of the Olympics opening ceremony if China fails to talk to the
Dalai

Lama, raising pressure on Beijing over its handling of unrest in Tibet
and neighbouring areas.

Authorities in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang detained 45
suspects and seized explosives and firearms in an operation a police
spokesman

said cracked two terrorist groups seeking to disrupt the Olympics.

"We are facing a real terrorist threat. All walks of life and the public
should maintain a high degree of vigilance," police spokesman Wu Heping
told a

news conference.

China has heightened security in advance of the Games, which start on
August 8, following a rash of anti-Beijing unrest in Tibet and neighbouring

areas.

In San Francisco, determination to avoid incidents turned the torch
relay into a widely criticised game of hide-and-seek as the route was
abruptly

changed after the flame was besieged by human rights protesters in
London and Paris.

The White House said people deserved the right to express themselves
freely and peacefully.

President George W. Bush felt obliged to "speak publicly on this matter
and to speak privately to the Chinese about human rights freedoms,
political

speech freedoms, and he's going to continue to do that before, during
and after the Olympics," spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters

Bush has urged China to open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's
spiritual leader who lives in exile in India.

Bush and other Western leaders face a delicate balancing act as calls
mount for them to boycott the Games' opening ceremony.

China said Prime Minister Gordon Brown was never expected to attend the
opening ceremony, but would be at the closing ceremony.

Indonesia will meanwhile shorten its leg of the torch relay on April 22
in Jakarta following a request by Beijing over security concerns, a
sports official

said on Thursday.

The path the torch takes on May 2 in Hong Kong, its first stop in China,
will also be curtailed "to avoid embarrassing scenes", Hong Kong's South

China Morning Post reported.

CRISIS

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the torch
relay faced a crisis and athletes around the world were in disarray, but he

was confident the Olympics would rebound and urged competitors not to
lose faith.

China's ambassador to the United States condemned a purported attempt to
disrupt the U.S. leg of the relay, saying such "disgusting" conduct was

doomed to fail.

"A tiny group of people ignored the spirit of the Olympic charter and
tried to disrupt and sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games," the official
Xinhua

news agency quoted Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong as saying. He did not
elaborate on the purported plot.

For its part, Tibet's government-in-exile said it was not trying to
disrupt the torch relay, and the Dalai Lama said he had asked Tibetans
in San

Francisco not to be violent, reiterating his support of the Games in
Beijing.

Protests led by monks gave way to riots in Lhasa on March 14, sparking
demonstrations in other Tibetan-populated areas that China has suppressed

with a flood of troops.

Beijing ordered monks to undergo "patriotic education" and launched a
propaganda campaign blaming Tibet's spiritual leader and his associates for

orchestrating the unrest as part of a campaign for independence. The
Dalai Lama denies involvement.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tibet had figured prominently
in talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday. Rudd said his

government believed there were "significant human rights problems" in
Tibet that should be resolved through dialogue.

But he indicated Wen and other Chinese officials showed no wavering from
their public stance.

"Their position today has been consistent with the public position China
has adopted in recent times," Rudd told a news conference after his

meeting.

Speaking in New Delhi, Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan
government-in-exile, said it was open to a dialogue, and Beijing was

sending signals through "all kinds of channels".

"But they are mixed signals. We are not able to understand."

(Writing by John Ruwitch; Additional reporting by Guo Shipeng, Chris
Buckley, Nick Mulvenney and Sally Huang in Beijing, and Chisa Fujioka in
Japan;

Editing by Giles Elgood)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank