China promises safe Olympics despite suspect terrorist plots

March 10th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 10 (DPA) China is confident that its security system will ensure the safety of the August Olympic Games despite the discovery of two suspected terrorist plots, a spokesman for the organizers said Monday. “We have always attached great importance to Olympic security,” spokesman Sun Weide said in a statement.

“We have already adopted a number of measures and a comprehensive security system,” Sun said, pointing out that the Chinese officials had also cooperated with international experts and organized security training for the Olympic staff.

“We are confident that we will be able to hold a safe Olympics,” he said.

Officials from China’s far western region of Xinjiang said Sunday that airline staff had foiled an apparent terrorist attack on a flight from Xinjiang to Beijing Friday and said they had evidence that at least one local terrorist group had targeted the Olympics.

The Southern Metropolitan Daily Monday quoted unidentified sources as saying a teenage girl from the Uighur minority was one of the two people arrested on board Friday’s China Southern flight.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement that the flight was diverted after “suspicious liquid” was found on board.

The newspaper said a flight attendant smelled petrol near the girl and found her behaviour suspicious when she questioned her about the odour.

An accomplice of the girl was caught “trying to ignite fuel inside the plane’s bathroom,” the newspaper quoted an internal administration emergency notice as saying.

Wang Lequan, the Xinjiang regional secretary of China’s ruling Communist Party, said Sunday that a suspected terrorist group raided by special forces in Xinjiang in January had plotted an attack on the Beijing Olympics.

Two suspected militants were killed and 15 were arrested in the raid, in which weapons, explosives and homemade grenades were reportedly recovered.

The Chinese government said terrorists were responsible for 200 incidents that killed 162 people in Xinjiang from 1990 to 2001, but few attacks have been reported since then.

In recent years, the Communist Party has intensified its ideological battle with Uighurs who seek an independent state in Xinjiang, linking them with terrorists and religious extremists as the “three evil forces”.

About 7.5 million Uighurs, most of whom are Muslims, form the largest minority in Xinjiang.

Millions of ethnically Chinese people have migrated to the region since it came under Communist Party control in 1949.

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