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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?"

Chinese border assault kills 16

August 6, 2008

BBC
August 4, 2008

Sixteen Chinese policemen have been killed in an attack on a border
post in the restive Muslim region of Xinjiang, state media say.

Two attackers reportedly drove up to the post in a rubbish truck and
threw two grenades, before moving in to attack the policemen with knives.

The attack came four days before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Both attackers were captured during the raid near the city of
Kashgar, Xinhua state news agency reported.

Kashgar, known as Kashi in Chinese, is some 2,500 miles (4,000km)
from Beijing, near the border with Tajikistan.

Xinhua said the attack happened at about 0800 (0000 GMT), as the
policemen were jogging outside the compound.

Fourteen policemen died at the scene and two on the way to hospital.
Another 16 policemen were hurt.

One of the attackers was reported to have been injured in the leg.

Xinjiang, in the north-west of the country, is home to the Muslim
Uighur people. Uighur separatists have waged a low-level campaign
against Chinese rule for decades.

Human rights groups say Beijing is suppressing the rights of Uighurs.

The BBC's Daniel Griffiths in Beijing says China has spoken in the
past of what it calls a terrorist threat from Muslim militants in
Xinjiang, but it has provided little evidence to back up its claims.

A spokesman for the Beijing Games Organising Committee told Xinhua he
was confident that Olympic participants and spectators would be safe.

"China has focused on strengthening security and protection around
Olympic venues and at the Olympics Village, so Beijing is already
prepared to respond to any threat," Sun Weide was quoted as saying.

Warnings

Last week, a senior Chinese army officer warned that Islamic
separatists were the biggest danger to the Olympics.

Col Tian Yixiang of the Olympics security command centre told
reporters the main threat came from the "East Turkestan terrorist
organisation".

The term is used by the government to refer to Islamist separatists
in Xinjiang.

Late last month a group called the Turkestan Islamic Party said it
had blown up buses in Shanghai and Yunnan, killing five people.

But China denied that the explosions were acts of terrorism.

The Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism
communications, said the Turkestan Islamic Party had released a video
entitled Our Blessed Jihad in Yunnan.

In it, the group's leader, Commander Seyfullah, said it was
responsible for several attacks and threatened the Olympics.

"The Chinese have haughtily ignored our warnings," IntelCenter quoted
him as saying.

"The Turkestan Islamic Party volunteers... have started urgent actions."

'Evicted'

In Beijing, Chinese police and a small group of protesters clashed in
Qianmen district, near Tiananmen Square.

The demonstrators complained that they had been evicted from their
homes to make way for the reconstruction of the district.

The Olympic torch is due to be carried round a stadium in Mianyang,
Sichuan province, which was used to house thousands of people forced
from their homes by a devastating earthquake in May.

The torch will go on to the provincial capital in Chengdu on Tuesday
before heading to Beijing for the opening ceremony on Friday.

CHINA'S UIGHURS
* Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
* Made bid for independent state in 1940s
* Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
* Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture
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