Chinese police killed alleged terrorists plotting to attack the Beijing Olympics, while a flight crew managed to prevent an apparent attempt to crash a Chinese jetliner in a separate case just last week, officials said Sunday.China has largely suppressed any news that could make the Chinese communists look bad, whether it's their ongoing environmental disasters, to suppression of human rights. Still, the bad news does dribble out from behind the red curtain.
Wang Lequan, the top Communist Party official in the western region of Xinjiang, said materials seized in a January raid in the regional capital, Urumqi, had described a plot with a purpose "specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics."
"Their goal was very clear," Wang told reporters in Beijing.
Wang cited no other evidence and earlier reports on the raid had made no mention of Olympic targets.
Speaking at the same meeting, Xinjiang's governor said a flight crew prevented an apparent attempt to crash a China Southern flight from Urumqi on Friday. Nur Bekri did not specifically label the incident a terrorist act, saying it remained under investigation. No passengers were injured and police were investigating, he said.
China has ratcheted up anti-terror preparations ahead of the August Games, with the nation's top police official last year labeling terrorism the biggest threat facing the event.
Police found guns, homemade bombs, training materials and "extremist religious ideological materials" during the Jan. 27 raid in Urumqi, in which two members of the gang were killed and 15 arrested, according to earlier reports.
Chinese forces have for years been battling a low-intensity separatist movement among Xinjiang's Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim people culturally and ethnically distinct from China's Han majority. Iron-fisted Chinese rule has largely suppressed the violence, however, and no major bombing or shooting incidents have been reported in almost a decade.
The Chinese government is doing whatever it can to improve its image internationally with the Olympics only months away. That means cleaning up the air by shutting down factories that spew out such filth that the air quality is beyond awful, rounding up cats, and ratcheting up the suppression of critics of the government. It's also trying to make a show of cracking down on potentially fatal consumer products that are contaminated with all manner of toxins, such as toothpaste that the FDA was compelled to recall.
The latest terrorist incidents should raise flags over what exactly is going on in China and the threat posed by the Islamists there.