Bomb blast in Tibetan area of China

20 03 2009

China has stepped up security in Tibetan areas during the unrest anniversaries [GALLO/GETTY]

A bomb has exploded inside a police station in a mainly Tibetan area of China’s Sichuan province, China’s state media has reported.

A group of assailants reportedly threw the bomb at the unoccupied building shortly before midnight on Monday night.

The incident came amid politically-sensitive anniversaries with Tibetans marking 50 years since a failed uprising against Chinese rule over Tibet and the first anniversary of last year’s violence in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas.

The blast in Sichuan’s Batang county shattered windows in the building but no injuries were reported.

Police have said they are investigating the incident.

Bantang county is just a short distance from the border with Tibet.

The county is part of Ganzi prefecture, an area known for its strong Tibetan identity which has been at the centre of dissent against Chinese rule for years.

The region saw some of the most violent protests during last year’s unrest.





‘Chinese success in Olympics will be our success’

17 08 2008

Source Rediff.com

August 07, 2008
On Monday, August 4, when 16 border police guards of China’s ministry of public security were killed and many others injured when two unidentified terrorists attacked their barracks near Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, B Raman got a telephone call in Chennai from a Chinese think-tank advising China’s Olympics [Images] committee. Raman, India’s foremost expert on terrorism, visited Chengdu and Shanghai recently to advise the Chinese on the threat to the Olympics.

On the eve of the inauguration of the planet’s biggest sporting spectacle, Raman discusses the prospects of the evil of terrorism in Beijing [Images] in an interview with Editor Sheela Bhatt.

Do you think there is a possibility of some kind of terrorism in China during the Olympics?

There is a medium to high probability of acts of violence, including terrorism, by Uighur elements not only in the Xinjiang province, but also against Chinese nationals and interests during the Olympics in the Central Asian Republics, Pakistan and Turkey.

The Uighurs do not have a demonstrated capability for major acts of terrorism in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where the main Olympic events will be held, but have a high capability in Xinjiang, the CARs and Pakistan. The main threat, if any, will be from the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, which operates from North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

On July 25, 2008, a private security consultancy agency of the US claimed to have intercepted a three-minute Olympics-specific video message by one Sayfallah, who claimed to belong to an organisation called the Turkistan Islamic Party in which he threatened acts of violence directed against the Olympics. He claimed that his organisation was responsible for the explosions in buses in Shanghai in May and in Kunming in Yunnan in July. He warned that his group is planning to attack Chinese cities ‘using previously unused methods’.

He also said: ‘This is our last warning to China and the rest of the world. The viewers and athletes, especially those who are Muslim, who plan to go to the Olympics should change their plans and not go to China. The Turkistan Islamic Party plans military attacks on people, offices, arenas, and other activities that are connected to the Chinese Olympic Games.’

Images: China ready to deliver safe Games

This message, even if its purpose is assumed to be to create fear and nervousness, shows that sections of Uighurs in Xinjiang as well as in Pakistan, the CARs and Turkey have been thinking of some incidents before and during the Olympics to draw attention to their cause. Likely threats from them have already been taken seriously by the Chinese authorities and have been factored into in their security planning.

Chinese concerns have been magnified by the attack on border police guards in Kashgar in Xinjiang province on August 4 in which 16 police guards were killed by two Uighurs of the area. Apart from diversionary attacks on Chinese nationals and interests, the other dangers are hijacking of Chinese planes and kidnapping of Chinese diplomats posted in neighbouring countries.

Is the Chinese government doing enough to understand the issue? Are Chinese leaders taking action?

Yes. The Chinese have done whatever they can to prevent acts of terrorism. They have taken into account various contingencies that could arise such as the hijacking of a plane and trying to crash it into the stadium, attacks on athletes and their places of stay, attacks on soft targets like the public transport system etc.

They have thoroughly studied the various scenarios that could arise and the scenarios that actually arose in the past, such as the kidnapping and murder of some Israeli athletes by the Black September group during the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the explosion in Atlanta in the US in 1996 by an irrational individual during the Atlanta Olympics, and factored the lessons into their security planning.

Which are the groups who have a significant presence In China?

The Chinese apprehensions mainly focus on the IMET and other Uighur groups, the Falun Gong and the supporters of the Dalai Lama [Images]. In my view, the highest threat will be from the Uighurs and the pro-Uighur groups in Pakistan like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, which is another Uzbek group, Al Qaeda [Images], the Taliban [Images] and Pakistani jihadi organisations.

While the anger of the Uighurs is against the Chinese because of their alleged suppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the others will be more interested in exploiting the gathering of thousands of athletes and hundreds of thousands of tourists in Beijing to watch the Olympics to attack teams from the US, Israel and Denmark. The anger against Denmark is particularly intense because of the publication of cartoons of the Holy Prophet by some Danish newspapers in 2005.

Are the athletes safe? Which countries have a higher risk?

The Chinese have assured all participating countries that their security will be very tight and that they will be protected. However, terrorism is a very unpredictable threat and hence one has to keep one’s fingers crossed. While some nervousness is natural, one should not allow this to come in the way of one’s participation. The international community should wish the Chinese well and help them in preventing any threat from materialising.

A terrorism-free Beijing Olympics will be an important contribution to the global fight against terrorism.

Don’t miss Rediff.com‘s coverage of the Beijing Olympics!

I am praying with all the intensity I can command that the Olympics should be totally successful and that the Chinese should succeed in preventing any violent incident. The highest risk will be to Denmark, the US and Israel in that order.

Do you think IMET or the Uighur movement is determined to spoil the Olympics?

The Olympics will provide a global audience. The Uighurs are determined not to miss this opportunity to publicise their anger against the Chinese. So too the Falung Gong. Some sections of Tibetan youth too wanted to exploit the occasion, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama has strongly advised them against doing anything which might embarrass or humiliate the Chinese. Unfortunately, neither the Uighurs nor the Falun Gong have a leader with the moral calibre of His Holiness. So, there is no one to advise them to exercise restraint. They can be irrational and unpredictable.

What kind of advice will you give the International Olympic Committee?

I was invited by the Chinese to make a presentation on likely threats to Olympics security at Chengdu in Sichuan in August last year and at Shanghai in May. We had very detailed discussions on various possible scenarios and they have been closely following my articles on the subject.

My advice to them will be: Be well-informed, be alert, be prepared for any contingency and avoid adding to the anger of those against Beijing by using harsh words against them. Be also on the look out for threats from angry individual Muslims not belonging to any organisation, who might get into the teams from the Islamic world participating in the Olympics.

China is the third Asian country to host the Olympics after Japan [Images] (Tokyo) and South Korea (Seoul), but neither Tokyo nor Seoul had to hold the Olympics under such difficult circumstances as Beijing, when the world is facing such serious threats from terrorism. Greece faced similar difficulties and threats during the Athens Olympics of 2004, which were held three years after 9/11 and after the US-led military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban had started in Afghanistan and one year after the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. All the NATO countries rallied to the assistance of the Greek authorities to ensure that there was no threat to the Athens Olympics.

The Beijing Olympics, which is the second after 9/11, faces the same level of threats as the one at Athens. The Chinese have received excellent international cooperation, but they do not have the same technological capability against terrorism as the NATO countries. They have spared no pains and no expenditure to ensure the success of the Games.

The entire Chinese people, their professionals, their security forces, their scientists have rallied together to make the Beijing Games an occasion to remember. Only sick minds will wish ill of them at this juncture.

At the end of my visit to Shanghai in May, an important personality had hosted a lunch for me. In my toast, I said: “In India, we all without exception want you to succeed and want the Beijing Olympics to be a memorable success. We want to hold the Olympics in New Delhi [Images] one day. We will learn from you how to organise a spectacular Olympics.” I could see everybody at the lunch was touched.

We are all Chinese today. Chinese success will be our success. Chinese pride will be our pride.





‘Chinese success in Olympics will be our success’

17 08 2008

Source Rediff.com

August 07, 2008
On Monday, August 4, when 16 border police guards of China’s ministry of public security were killed and many others injured when two unidentified terrorists attacked their barracks near Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, B Raman got a telephone call in Chennai from a Chinese think-tank advising China’s Olympics [Images] committee. Raman, India’s foremost expert on terrorism, visited Chengdu and Shanghai recently to advise the Chinese on the threat to the Olympics.

On the eve of the inauguration of the planet’s biggest sporting spectacle, Raman discusses the prospects of the evil of terrorism in Beijing [Images] in an interview with Editor Sheela Bhatt.

Do you think there is a possibility of some kind of terrorism in China during the Olympics?

There is a medium to high probability of acts of violence, including terrorism, by Uighur elements not only in the Xinjiang province, but also against Chinese nationals and interests during the Olympics in the Central Asian Republics, Pakistan and Turkey.

The Uighurs do not have a demonstrated capability for major acts of terrorism in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, where the main Olympic events will be held, but have a high capability in Xinjiang, the CARs and Pakistan. The main threat, if any, will be from the Islamic Movement of East Turkestan, which operates from North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

On July 25, 2008, a private security consultancy agency of the US claimed to have intercepted a three-minute Olympics-specific video message by one Sayfallah, who claimed to belong to an organisation called the Turkistan Islamic Party in which he threatened acts of violence directed against the Olympics. He claimed that his organisation was responsible for the explosions in buses in Shanghai in May and in Kunming in Yunnan in July. He warned that his group is planning to attack Chinese cities ‘using previously unused methods’.

He also said: ‘This is our last warning to China and the rest of the world. The viewers and athletes, especially those who are Muslim, who plan to go to the Olympics should change their plans and not go to China. The Turkistan Islamic Party plans military attacks on people, offices, arenas, and other activities that are connected to the Chinese Olympic Games.’

Images: China ready to deliver safe Games

This message, even if its purpose is assumed to be to create fear and nervousness, shows that sections of Uighurs in Xinjiang as well as in Pakistan, the CARs and Turkey have been thinking of some incidents before and during the Olympics to draw attention to their cause. Likely threats from them have already been taken seriously by the Chinese authorities and have been factored into in their security planning.

Chinese concerns have been magnified by the attack on border police guards in Kashgar in Xinjiang province on August 4 in which 16 police guards were killed by two Uighurs of the area. Apart from diversionary attacks on Chinese nationals and interests, the other dangers are hijacking of Chinese planes and kidnapping of Chinese diplomats posted in neighbouring countries.

Is the Chinese government doing enough to understand the issue? Are Chinese leaders taking action?

Yes. The Chinese have done whatever they can to prevent acts of terrorism. They have taken into account various contingencies that could arise such as the hijacking of a plane and trying to crash it into the stadium, attacks on athletes and their places of stay, attacks on soft targets like the public transport system etc.

They have thoroughly studied the various scenarios that could arise and the scenarios that actually arose in the past, such as the kidnapping and murder of some Israeli athletes by the Black September group during the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the explosion in Atlanta in the US in 1996 by an irrational individual during the Atlanta Olympics, and factored the lessons into their security planning.

Which are the groups who have a significant presence In China?

The Chinese apprehensions mainly focus on the IMET and other Uighur groups, the Falun Gong and the supporters of the Dalai Lama [Images]. In my view, the highest threat will be from the Uighurs and the pro-Uighur groups in Pakistan like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, which is another Uzbek group, Al Qaeda [Images], the Taliban [Images] and Pakistani jihadi organisations.

While the anger of the Uighurs is against the Chinese because of their alleged suppression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the others will be more interested in exploiting the gathering of thousands of athletes and hundreds of thousands of tourists in Beijing to watch the Olympics to attack teams from the US, Israel and Denmark. The anger against Denmark is particularly intense because of the publication of cartoons of the Holy Prophet by some Danish newspapers in 2005.

Are the athletes safe? Which countries have a higher risk?

The Chinese have assured all participating countries that their security will be very tight and that they will be protected. However, terrorism is a very unpredictable threat and hence one has to keep one’s fingers crossed. While some nervousness is natural, one should not allow this to come in the way of one’s participation. The international community should wish the Chinese well and help them in preventing any threat from materialising.

A terrorism-free Beijing Olympics will be an important contribution to the global fight against terrorism.

Don’t miss Rediff.com‘s coverage of the Beijing Olympics!

I am praying with all the intensity I can command that the Olympics should be totally successful and that the Chinese should succeed in preventing any violent incident. The highest risk will be to Denmark, the US and Israel in that order.

Do you think IMET or the Uighur movement is determined to spoil the Olympics?

The Olympics will provide a global audience. The Uighurs are determined not to miss this opportunity to publicise their anger against the Chinese. So too the Falung Gong. Some sections of Tibetan youth too wanted to exploit the occasion, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama has strongly advised them against doing anything which might embarrass or humiliate the Chinese. Unfortunately, neither the Uighurs nor the Falun Gong have a leader with the moral calibre of His Holiness. So, there is no one to advise them to exercise restraint. They can be irrational and unpredictable.

What kind of advice will you give the International Olympic Committee?

I was invited by the Chinese to make a presentation on likely threats to Olympics security at Chengdu in Sichuan in August last year and at Shanghai in May. We had very detailed discussions on various possible scenarios and they have been closely following my articles on the subject.

My advice to them will be: Be well-informed, be alert, be prepared for any contingency and avoid adding to the anger of those against Beijing by using harsh words against them. Be also on the look out for threats from angry individual Muslims not belonging to any organisation, who might get into the teams from the Islamic world participating in the Olympics.

China is the third Asian country to host the Olympics after Japan [Images] (Tokyo) and South Korea (Seoul), but neither Tokyo nor Seoul had to hold the Olympics under such difficult circumstances as Beijing, when the world is facing such serious threats from terrorism. Greece faced similar difficulties and threats during the Athens Olympics of 2004, which were held three years after 9/11 and after the US-led military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban had started in Afghanistan and one year after the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. All the NATO countries rallied to the assistance of the Greek authorities to ensure that there was no threat to the Athens Olympics.

The Beijing Olympics, which is the second after 9/11, faces the same level of threats as the one at Athens. The Chinese have received excellent international cooperation, but they do not have the same technological capability against terrorism as the NATO countries. They have spared no pains and no expenditure to ensure the success of the Games.

The entire Chinese people, their professionals, their security forces, their scientists have rallied together to make the Beijing Games an occasion to remember. Only sick minds will wish ill of them at this juncture.

At the end of my visit to Shanghai in May, an important personality had hosted a lunch for me. In my toast, I said: “In India, we all without exception want you to succeed and want the Beijing Olympics to be a memorable success. We want to hold the Olympics in New Delhi [Images] one day. We will learn from you how to organise a spectacular Olympics.” I could see everybody at the lunch was touched.

We are all Chinese today. Chinese success will be our success. Chinese pride will be our pride.





How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.





How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.





Fighting Trauma and Depression in the Face of Terrorism and War — Vision.org

7 08 2008

Source: Market watch

Help From Extended Family Relationships Is Often Not as Accessible as It Once Was

Last update: 3:06 a.m. EDT Aug. 6, 2008
PASADENA, CA, Aug 06, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — Vision.org writer Gina Stepp discusses the emotional and mental fallout of terrorist attacks that attempted to disrupt the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Monday morning, August 4th, 16 police were killed and16 others were injured in a border attack in the Xinjiang region of China, home to the largest Muslim population in China.
The attack comes on the heels of Sunday’s report by the United Kingdom’s Times Online that Spain is secretly gearing up to deal with threats of looming terrorism that may be faced by local tourist resorts during the busy August season. And while United States officials insist that Europe is much more susceptible to terrorist threats than America, the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center proved that the U.S. is not immune to danger.
Whether or not such assurances of American safety are true, the emotional and mental fallout is the same in the U.S. as elsewhere in the West. Families and communities feel they have more reason than ever to worry about the mental effects of trauma and depression. But do they? Some would argue that life was even harder for previous generations — those that struggled through the many and varied hardships of earlier times. But there is one additional factor that is often not considered in such arguments. Families are more likely to be scattered in modern times, and the relatively modern invention of the “nuclear family” has already given way in many cases to a more fragmented single-parent version. Help from extended family relationships is often not as accessible as it once was, and this weakening of society’s fabric contributes to the weakening of community and family resilience.
In other words, in Western society and culture people may be less resilient than ever in the face of trauma, while serious threats to well-being may actually have increased.
“Because of such considerations, communities would love to know how to prepare people for psychologically stressful events and to increase the potential for recovery,” says a new feature article from Vision, titled “Building Resilience in a Turbulent World.” “Researchers in the field of positive psychology, in turn, are busily working to find out what traits are shared by those people who demonstrate a greater capacity to cope, in the hope of helping others to become more resilient to stress, trauma and depression.”
Vision presents the latest research to help families build this kind of resilience, discussing the topic further a related Blog titled “Family Matters” at Vision Media.
Stepp notes that some people are born with a naturally positive outlook, and optimism is seen as a key factor in resilience, but she also points out that researchers now know that new experiences and supportive family relationships can literally change brain structure. This understanding has led psychologists to understand that optimism and resilience can be built, and that adults as well as children can, to some degree, be inoculated against depression. However, stresses Stepp, building resilience is nearly impossible outside of the protective influence of positive interpersonal relationships.
About Vision:
Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine,

visit their web site at http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/default.aspx.

Contact

Edwin Steppwww.vision.orgVision Media Productions476 S. Marengo AvenuePasadena, CA  91101Phone (24 hrs): 626 535-0444 ext 105




Fighting Trauma and Depression in the Face of Terrorism and War — Vision.org

7 08 2008

Source: Market watch

Help From Extended Family Relationships Is Often Not as Accessible as It Once Was

Last update: 3:06 a.m. EDT Aug. 6, 2008

PASADENA, CA, Aug 06, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — Vision.org writer Gina Stepp discusses the emotional and mental fallout of terrorist attacks that attempted to disrupt the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Monday morning, August 4th, 16 police were killed and16 others were injured in a border attack in the Xinjiang region of China, home to the largest Muslim population in China.

The attack comes on the heels of Sunday’s report by the United Kingdom’s Times Online that Spain is secretly gearing up to deal with threats of looming terrorism that may be faced by local tourist resorts during the busy August season. And while United States officials insist that Europe is much more susceptible to terrorist threats than America, the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center proved that the U.S. is not immune to danger.
Whether or not such assurances of American safety are true, the emotional and mental fallout is the same in the U.S. as elsewhere in the West. Families and communities feel they have more reason than ever to worry about the mental effects of trauma and depression. But do they? Some would argue that life was even harder for previous generations — those that struggled through the many and varied hardships of earlier times. But there is one additional factor that is often not considered in such arguments. Families are more likely to be scattered in modern times, and the relatively modern invention of the “nuclear family” has already given way in many cases to a more fragmented single-parent version. Help from extended family relationships is often not as accessible as it once was, and this weakening of society’s fabric contributes to the weakening of community and family resilience.
In other words, in Western society and culture people may be less resilient than ever in the face of trauma, while serious threats to well-being may actually have increased.
“Because of such considerations, communities would love to know how to prepare people for psychologically stressful events and to increase the potential for recovery,” says a new feature article from Vision, titled “Building Resilience in a Turbulent World.” “Researchers in the field of positive psychology, in turn, are busily working to find out what traits are shared by those people who demonstrate a greater capacity to cope, in the hope of helping others to become more resilient to stress, trauma and depression.”
Vision presents the latest research to help families build this kind of resilience, discussing the topic further a related Blog titled “Family Matters” at Vision Media.
Stepp notes that some people are born with a naturally positive outlook, and optimism is seen as a key factor in resilience, but she also points out that researchers now know that new experiences and supportive family relationships can literally change brain structure. This understanding has led psychologists to understand that optimism and resilience can be built, and that adults as well as children can, to some degree, be inoculated against depression. However, stresses Stepp, building resilience is nearly impossible outside of the protective influence of positive interpersonal relationships.
About Vision:
Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine,

visit their web site at http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/default.aspx.

Contact

Edwin Stepp
www.vision.org
Vision Media Productions
476 S. Marengo Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone (24 hrs): 626 535-0444 ext 105







Terrorism | Experts Split on Threat of Terrorism at Beijing Olympics

7 08 2008

Terrorism | Experts Split on Threat of Terrorism at Beijing Olympics

Source: DW

A deadly mortar attack in northwestern China has stirred up fear of attacks during the Olympic Games in Beijing. However, whether the Games are really in danger is a highly disputed matter.

According to Chinese authorities, the attack in the Muslim region of Xinjiang, which killed 16 police officers on Monday, Aug. 4, was carried out by terrorists. This is the second attack of this kind in Xinjiang in the past two weeks. Now the question is: How concerned should the world be of an attack during the Olympics.

Terrorism is the biggest threat during the Games, Rohan Gunaratna, one of Singapore’s most prominent terrorism experts, told the Chinese daily Straits Times.

Head of the the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang Technological University, Gunaratna said the Olympic Security Committee categorizes al Qaeda, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Tibetan separatists and the Falun Gong sects as threats.

Gunaratna said he believes the ETIM poses the biggest threat. That group was blamed for Monday’s attack by the China Daily newspaper.

The Beijing fortress

A map showing the location of Kashgar in China.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The attack took place in the most western reaches of the country

Other political observers warned against lapsing into panic or dramatizing the danger to the Games in Beijing.

The Chinese capital can be compared to a fortress, and that the danger of an attack is therefore remote, according to East Asian expert Xuewu Gu. Xuewu added that the most dangerous groups are not in a position to stage an attack in Beijing because they are being forced to deal with the police outside the capital.

State in a state

Martin Wagener, an expert on violence in East Asia at Trier University, called Beijing a “true security state.”

Chinese police officers march in front of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Around 110,000 police officers and 34,000 soldiers have been enlisted to work security

The government has put 34,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army along with 110,000 police officers in place for security, Wagener said his research has shown. They will be backed up by fighter jets, helicopters and ships. There have also been some 300,000 security cameras installed, and up to 1.4 million people have reportedly volunteered to make sure nothing goes wrong.

“It will be very difficult to smuggle any sort of explosives into Beijing,” said Wagener.

The attack in Kashgar is not an uncommon occurrence. For years there have been both small and large attacks against the police and government buildings. Until now, however, they have not been reported on outside the country.

Xuewu said he expects the attacks to continue after the Olympics, because the groups’ causes will not fade away as international media leave China after the Games.

“Just the opposite,” he said. “There will still be problems because the injustice in China will just get bigger, and the relationship between the central government and the minorities will get worse.”

Selective disinformation

Wagener said he believes it is possible that the central government in Beijing has instrumented accidents, like the one in Kashgar, in order to justify their giant security apparatus.

When the Games are over they are likely to use it for other purposes, such as controlling separatist in Xinjiang, Tibet protesters, and the religious Falun Gong sects, Wagener said.

“This seems to be the central concern for the authorities,” he added.

Police pointing at a photographer taking photos of the attack site in Kashgar.Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Local police tried to keep the story from getting out

The Chinese government seems to be carrying out a campaign of selective disinformation of the public. At least that’s what actions in Kashgar are pointing to. According to one reporter from AFP, independent reports of the attack were difficult to come by. The local authorities blocked Internet access on the day of the attack. The police tried to prohibit any news of the attack getting out, and even broke into the hotel room of an AFP photographer and forced him to delete photos of the attack site.

Two Japanese journalists, who wanted to report on the attack, were momentarily detained according to the Associated Press. Reporter Shinji Katsuta said that he was hit multiple times in the face. Authorities apologized later for the incident.

Martin Schrader (mrm)





Olympic Truce for sake of mankind’s grand sports gathering

31 07 2008


www.chinaview.cn 2008-07-31 07:37:43

Special report: 2008 Olympic Games

By Song Jing and Fu Rong

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhua) — UN leaders have this week called for an Olympic Truce, a cessation of all hostilities worldwide for the duration of the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The calls, made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN General Assembly Srgjan Kerim respectively on Monday, reflect the Olympic spirit and the mankind’s dream for peace as well as the joint aspirations of the whole international community.

Conflicts and wars have been tragedies in the history of humanity, while peace is mankind’s ever-lasting dream. As the theme slogan of the upcoming Olympics “One World, One Dream” embodies, while the world community is made up of people of different skin colors, languages, races, religions, they share the global village as well as the dream for peace and harmony.

It is the Olympic host country’s sincere wish and the deep aspiration of people around the world that all the people on the Earth can enjoy the charms of the Olympics and at the same time share the joy and happiness in peace and harmony.

The Olympic Truce, which embodies a brilliant revival of the tradition that can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago, draws its origins to the warring city-states in ancient Greece who agreed to observe a sacred truce while the games lasted, to allow athletes and spectators enjoy the quadrennial sports gathering in an atmosphere of peace and happiness.

The truce marked a milestone in Olympic history: the Games became a gathering for opposing wars and embracing unity, as well as a symbol of peace and fraternity.

Yet the historic journey to the revival of the glorious tradition was full of twists and turns and the endeavor suffered repeated setbacks.

In the early 20th century, Pierre de Coubertin, known as the father of the modern Olympics, had tried unsuccessfully to convince warring nations of the need to observe a truce. The ensuing two world wars not only dealt a ruthless blow to mankind’s ideal for peace, but also ruined three Olympic events. As recently as in the 1992 Barcelona Games, athletes from the war-torn former Yugoslavia were only allowed to participate as individuals.

The bitter lessons prompted people to reflect upon the chaos brought by wars. The Olympic Truce’s formal inclusion in the process of the United Nations represents the high approval of and universal respect for the noble idea of peace on the part of the international community.

Last October, the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a truce during the Beijing Olympic Games.

The resolution, submitted by China and co-sponsored by 186 nations, urged member states to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively during the Games of the 29th Olympiad in Beijing and the following Paralympic Games.

It also called on the UN member states to peacefully resolve all the international disputes in line with the spirit of the UN Charter.

The concept of the Olympic Truce was revived by the International Olympic Committee in 1992 which relayed it to the United Nations. Since 1993, the UN General Assembly has appealed for the truce to be observed, by adopting a resolution one year before each edition of the Olympic Games.

The UN endeavors to maintain world peace and promote common development are highly consistent with the Olympic movement’s spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, and both are the lofty ideals being pursued by human society.

As Srgjan Kerim, president of the 62nd session of the General Assembly put it, the Olympic Games bring together athletes from all over the world and peace, mutual understanding and goodwill will be promoted among different countries and peoples during the great sporting festival.

These goals are the component parts of the fundamental values of the United Nations, Kerim added.

While nobody would cherish unrealistic hopes of getting rid of the chaos of war during the brief period of peace brought about by the Olympic Truce, the Olympic movement, which symbolizes peace and development, endeavors to bring about a peaceful future for mankind.

The brief truce is not only a precious moment for the world, but also serves as peace lessons for people to reflect upon the untold suffering caused by war. People would ask themselvels: why can’t mankind resolve disputes through peaceful means in this world of ours?

It also offers a rare opportunity for the international community to provide relief for suffering populations and promote peace dialogues.

For the sake of the Olympics, the grand sports gathering for all mankind, let there be a truce across the world. For mankind to have a future of lasting peace and common development, let the world seek and maximize the Olympic Truce.





New left still maintains the old heroes

7 07 2008

Wednesday June 18 2008 09:25 IST
Francois Gautier
From: Newindpress.com

WHEN we were young, our heroes were Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, or even Pol Pot. Of course, in time, we learnt about the crimes of Mao, who killed millions of his own people — Pol Pot, of course was even more of a monster. Stalin was not much better.

Thus, in most of the world, communism is practically dead. One cannot call China anymore a communist country —indeed, there may not be a more ruthless capitalistic nation today — and even Cuba is inching towards free trade. In India though, not only is communism not dead, it is flourishing ! You find communist governments in West Bengal, partly in Kerala or Tripura and the present Congress government owes its survival to the communists.

In a way, it is positive. You see a youth like Nandan, filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s son, who was a “Red Volunteer” at a recent CPI-M meet in Chennai. Or you come across an ardent communist like Dr Binayak Sen, now in jail. Communists often live a simple life and are committed. Witness the youthful leader Sitaram Yetchury.

Unfortunately, there is also a darker side : Indian communists have totally aligned themselves with Lenin and Mao, to the point that not only they are antispiritual, particularly targeting Hindus, but often anti-Indian. They will never criticise China and even take sides with the Chinese in case of tensions between Delhi and Beijing.

There is an even more dangerous angle: when communism takes on an armed face. In India it is naxalism. The naxal movement, basically a Maoist-inspired armed struggle, began as a violent peasant uprising against the landlords at Naxalbari village in West Bengal on May 25, 1967. It is true that naxalism may have risen out a wounded sense of injustice, seeing how there are still unforgivable disparities in certain parts of India which have suffered for centuries from caste discrimination, exploitation by landlords and the lethargy of the administrative and political system.

However, the naxals are clear about their objectives. They freely quote from Mao: “Its (Maoism’s) purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure.” Indeed, if one looks closely at naxalism today, one sees murder, rape, kidnap, extortion, money laundering and human rights violations.

Today, 16 of the 35 States and Union Territories have Maoists operating. This affects 192 of India’s 604 districts. In the last twelve months, naxalism has redoubled its efforts to break up Indian society. On March 15, 2007, Maoist rebels massacred 16 officers of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force, 39 Special Police Officers and injured 12 others at Rani Bodli village. On Oct 27, armed naxals massacred 17 people including a former Jharkhand chief minister’s son in Chilkhari village of the state’s Giridih district. On Dec 16, in a daring jailbreak, 110 naxalites escaped from Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada Jail. There are many other examples.

Sometimes, the press says that the menace is on the wane. Nothing could be further from the truth. The naxalites have a budget of Rs 60 crores for their armed struggle during 2007-09. This is raised abroad by NGO in countries like Norway, where there is some sympathy for them. Furthermore, emboldened by the Maoists in Nepal who have not only conquered the countryside, but come to government, Naxalites in India have recently released a stunning declaration:

* We pledge: To coordinate the people’s war with the ongoing armed struggles of the various oppressed nationalities in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and other parts of the Northeast.

* To build a united front of all secular forces and persecuted religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

* To build a secret party apparatus impregnable to the enemy’s attacks.

* To build open and secret mass organisations among the workers, peasants, youth, students, women and other sections of the people.

* To build the people’s militia in all villages in the guerrilla zones as the base force of the PGA (People’s Guerrilla Army). Also build armed self-defence units in other areas of class struggle as well as in the urban areas.

The Government of India has tried everything to contain the naxalites: negotiation, counter-insurgency, arming the tribals, but with little result. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living Foundation has started a dialogue with the naxalites to show that the gun is not only solution.

His teachings and initiatives have transformed many villages in the naxalite-dominated areas of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. During his visits to Bihar, more than 100,000 youths from warring factions such as Ranvir Sena, People’s War Group and Maoist Communist Centre vowed to spread the message of non-violence.

He also recently initiated a much needed peace and reconciliation conference in Oslo, Norway, on April 11, which focused on the internal armed conflicts of South Asia, particularly naxalism, and discussed possible solutions and means to solve them. Norway’s special envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann, Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, Deputy Mayor of Oslo were some of the prominent European speakers in the conference.

Finally we can only conclude by quoting Ajit Doval, Former Director, Intelligence Bureau : “Taking the trends of the last five years, we can build a model of the security scenario for the year 2010. Over 260 districts, nearly half of India, would be naxal-affected where the government’s writ hardly runs.”

Is the naxal dream of a Red Belt, from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, become a reality? We hope not. For the ancient Indian way of life, the Dharma, offers other solutions.

The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of La Revue de l’Inde. He lives in India.