China Arrests 45 in 'Olympic Terror Plot'

Terrorist plot averted, officials say, but credibility problem persists
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 8:37 AM CDT
Visitors walk along a road in front of the National Stadium in Beijing, main site of the 2008 Olympics, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2008.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – China has rooted out two terrorist groups plotting to kidnap Olympic athletes and attack tourist hotels during the games, the Ministry of Public Security announced today. Chinese forces rounded up 45 suspects and seized explosives and “jihadist” literature in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But China has often cried “terrorism” as a means of repressing dissent in Xinjiang, human rights groups note.

“Because their definition of terrorism includes peaceful dissent and protest, it has become impossible to” fully trust the reports, said one Human Rights Watch member. The ministry said an Islamic separatist group was behind the plot, ordering members to kidnap journalists and athletes, and attack hotels with explosives and poison. “We face a real terrorist threat,” one official said.