Go to contents

`Foiled Terrorist Attack` in China Invites Doubt

Posted March. 11, 2008 03:05,   


Doubt is growing over China’s announcement of a foiled terrorist plot on a Chinese commercial flight Friday. The Chinese government said it stopped a terrorist attempt to crash an airliner, while others say this is a case of manipulation by Beijing.

Xinjiang Governor Nur Bekri said Sunday, “A China Southern Airlines plane that originated in Urumqi, Xinjiang, made an emergency landing in the northwestern city of Lanzhou Friday after the crew discovered and foiled an attempt to cause an air disaster.”

He did not elaborate on the alleged perpetrators and how they were discovered, but mentioned "an attempt to crash the plane.”

Dilshat Rishit, spokesman of The World Uighur Congress, an international organization representing the collective interests of the ethnic group Uighurs, dismissed the announcement as a fabrication.

He said the Chinese government is trying to hurt the independence movement of the Uighurs, according to the Hong Kong daily Ming Pao and Taiwan’s United Daily News. The eight million-strong Turkic Muslim Uighurs have waged a separatist movement for many years in Xinjiang.

Rishit said, “The Uighur people oppose the Beijing Olympics since [Chinese] authorities have failed to keep their promise of using the upcoming Olympics as a chance to improve the human rights situation for Uighurs. But we do not seek to hurt Olympic-related activities out of respect for the Olympic spirit.”

Suspicion over the incident is snowballing since the sudden deletion of a Web posting about what happened on the plane written by a passenger.

A netizen named “Luckie” wrote, “The captain of China Southern flight CZ6901 made an announcement that the flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Lanzhou. He said crew members discovered passengers with inflammable material on board.”

“When the flight landed in the international airport of Lanzhou, four Uighurs were taken into custody for questioning. An 18-year-old girl among them was found to possess four cans of inflammable material.”

The passenger said the girl sprayed perfume to disguise the toxic material, but this caused many passengers to complain about the strong scent. She then went to the toilet with the inflammable materials in a hurry and didn’t come out, he added.

Other netizens also raised doubt, asking how the combustible material got past airport security.