Group claims Tian'anmen attack

Updated: 2013-11-26 00:15

By Cui Jia and Mo Jingxi (China Daily)

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Video message proves strike undoubtedly terrorist, foreign ministry spokesman says

A group, calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party, which released a video describing last month's attack in Tian'anmen Square in Beijing as a "jihadi operation" by holy warriors, is the same terrorist organization as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Five people, including the three attackers, were killed and another 40 injured on Oct 28 after a jeep, driven by Usmen Hasan and carrying his mother and wife from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, crashed into a crowd at Tian'anmen Square. Police later confirmed the incident as a terrorist attack and detained five suspects.

The TIP released a video in the Uygur language featuring a speech by its head Abdullah Mansour. In the eight-minute video message, Mansour said fighters would broaden their attacks and target high-profile locations in Beijing such as the Great Hall of the People, according to Reuters, which quoted a report by SITE Monitoring Service that tracks Islamist militant statements.

"In the video, the group openly declared that its members carried out the Oct 28 attack and they will deploy further terrorist attacks targeting China. This fully demonstrates its terrorist nature and also unfolds the truth to those who doubted the nature of the incident," Qin Gang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a daily news briefing on Monday.

He added that terrorist groups, particularly the ETIM, have been engaged in rampant terrorist activities in order to achieve their goals and have caused great civilian casualties and property losses for a long time.

The Chinese government will continue its efforts to crack down on these groups.

The ETIM, a separatist group, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Nations and China.

Meng Jianzhu, chief of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said earlier this month that the ETIM was behind the suicide attack in Tian'anmen Square

The TIP and ETIM have made similar announcements since as early as 2008, including one that threatened seven cities that would host and co-host the Beijing Olympics, said Li Wei, director of the Anti-terrorism Center at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations on Monday.

As for the threat in the video, Li said that the organization is trying to expand its influence abroad and is seeking the support of certain foreign powers by doing so. It can also attract some terrorist groups at home.

"Although it is difficult to prevent such attacks, there is no need to panic or be frightened as long as precautions are being adopted," he said.

The ETIM is still the biggest threat to Xinjiang's stability, and it is now beginning to carry out attacks outside the region, said Ma Pinyan, a senior anti-terrorism researcher and deputy director of the ethnic and religious study center at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences in Urumqi, capital of the region.

The number of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang has been increasing during the past few years as overseas terrorist groups have accelerated their penetration into China, especially via the Internet, he added.

More than 190 violent and terrorist cases happened in Xinjiang in 2012, a sharp increase from the previous year, Oriental Outlook, which is owned by Xinhua News Agency, reported on Monday.

According to the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, more than 100 organizations or groups acting to endanger State security have been busted annually by police forces since 2009, the weekly said.

Most people involved in the terrorist activities in recent years are born in the 1980s and '90s and about 95 percent of them have only received education of junior high school or less. Furthermore, the number of terror related crimes carried out by small groups or individuals has increased, according to the report.

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