International

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Doubts Surface about China’s Terrorist Threat Claims

March 24, 2008 11:22 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
China says it foiled two recent plots, one aimed at the Olympics. But there are concerns that the allegations are a smokescreen to deter international criticism before the games.

30-Second Summary

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On March 11, Chinese officials said they had thwarted two terrorist plots, one involving an airliner and the other aimed at this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games.

China blamed a small group known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, but the government has released “only the sketchiest of details” regarding these allegations, National Public Radio reports.

Some critics believe China is using the terrorism scare to hide the oppression of Muslim minorities, and to draw attention away from other potential international embarrassments. China has faced criticism recently over its policies in Tibet and regarding Darfur, and many athletes have expressed worries about Beijing’s rampant air pollution, reports the International Herald Tribune.

Since last year, China has asserted that terrorism poses a significant threat to the Olympic Games in Beijing, reports The Times of India. But this is the first time any specific allegations have been made.

Some critics charge that “the battle against ‘terror’ is used as an excuse to silence any voices of dissent, no matter how small,” the Times of India wrote.

Responding to the charges of human rights groups, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that raising such issues was in violation of the Olympic charter, according to Sports Illustrated.

Those who “want to tarnish the image of China … they will never get their way,” he said.

Headline Links: Terrorist allegations may cover up oppression of Muslim minorities

Related Topics: China’s policies in Tibet and the Beijing air pollution problem

Background: China’s human rights record and environmental challenges

Reaction: China says human rights protests violate Olympic charter; U.S. State Department warns Americans of both terrorism and state surveillance

Opinion & Analysis: China’s involvement in Darfur and the international response

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