01/10/2007, 00.00
CHINA
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Chinese police defend massacre of “terrorists” in Xinjiang

Without giving any evidence, Chinese authorities described the camp attacked on 8 January as a den of terrorists. Beijing said the killing of 18 people was within the limits of international and domestic law.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese police yesterday defended an attack against what they have described as a training camp run by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The authorities said the police raid was within the limits of international and domestic law.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Liu Jianchao told a press conference that “the camp was linked to international terrorism” but he gave no proof to substantiate his allegation.

 

Eighteen alleged terrorists were killed and 17 arrested in the attack on 8 January in the northern Xinjiang province. A police official was killed in the clash and another was wounded.

 

The training camp is located in the Pamir Plateau in one of the highest altitudes of the region that borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

 

Ministry of Public Security spokesman Wu Heping said: “The United Nations had identified the ETIM as a terrorist group on September 11, 2002. These activists have been on a list of Chinese most-wanted people since December 15, 2003.”

 

He continued: “The criteria and legal basis for identifying terrorists are defined by our criminal law, internal security demands and by the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation's Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism.”

 

On this basis, “Chinese police will continue to closely monitor the situation, use force, strengthen international co-operation and crack down on the crimes of any terrorists and their groups. It must do so to maintain the stability of border areas and to protect the lives of those living there.”

 

However, groups lobbying for human rights groups in China have accused Beijing of using the war on terror as a cover for its violent crackdown on separatist movements. Wu did not give details of the destroyed training camp, saying only that “police were still investigating the matter”.

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