China names Islamic group as ‘supporter’ of Tiananmen attack

Agence France-Presse
China's top security official says the East Turkestan Islamic Movement was a behind-the-scenes supporter of the attack of Tiananmen Square

CRIME SCENE. Chinese men wearing masks are seen outside the Forbidden City at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 28 October 2013. EPA/Rolex dela Pena

BEIJING, China – The East Turkestan Islamic Movement was a “behind-the-scenes” supporter of this week’s attack on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, China’s top security official Meng Jianzhu said.

“Its behind-the-scenes supporters were the terrorist group the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) based in central and west Asia,” Meng said when asked about the Tiananmen incident on a visit to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, video posted online Thursday showed.

A high-profile car crash on Monday killed two tourists and injured dozens at the popular site and symbolic heart of the Chinese state, with the 3 people in the car – a man, his wife and his mother – all dying, police say.

Beijing police said the vehicle had a license plate from Xinjiang, the far western region where China’s mostly Muslim Uighur minority is concentrated, while the 3 people inside the car and five arrested suspects have Uighur-sounding names.

ETIM – which is classed by both the United Nations and the United States as a terrorist group – is known as a militant Islamic separatist organization that seeks an independent state in Xinjiang.

But ETIM’s strength and links to global terrorism are murky, and some experts say China exaggerates its threat to justify tough security measures in Xinjiang, which has seen sporadic ethnic clashes and anti-government sentiment. –

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