brad brace

8/6/2008

Chinese cops slaughtered

Filed under: china,human rights,police — admin @ 5:36 am

Try as it might, Beijing can’t control everything

This country, after trying to anticipate and stop every possible security situation leading into the Summer Olympics, has found with deadly certainty that the Games will only magnify discontent and anger.

In the western border city of Kashgar, 4,000 km from this host city, militants have attacked and killed a battalion of police officers.

The terrorists, lashing out in a volatile region, struck with unprecedented brutality, murdering at least 16 officers and wounding as many again.

It happened just as the world’s attention is on China. Which is part of the point.

As well as bloody, the attack on the officers — on a morning jog through the city — was symbolic, because it took place in an area of China under constant watch.

Officials here claim to have put down several planned attacks, orchestrated around the Games, which begin here on Aug. 8.

They have said separtists from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement have planned a number of assaults.

The police killings in Kashgar yesterday — which involved homemade bombs and knives, local media reports say — were just what Beijing has hoped to avoid, as clocks here in the capital count down the days, minutes and seconds until the start of the Olympics.

Security is everywhere, as face recognition software blueprints your features when you use your Olympic credentials to get into secure locations.

The police presence is especially tight around Tiananmen Square, where the world watched Chinese troops march against pro-democracy protesters almost 20 years ago. But on the same day the terrorists killed the police officers here, a small band of Beijing residents still managed to use a corner of the huge square to be heard.

At least for a moment.

One of the main social issues here in the capital has been the land scooped up, cleared out and rebuilt on.

Charging their homes have been stolen for the sake of progress — in this case, not for the Olympics, but for urban development — a small band of angry residents tried to protest in the square yesterday. Waving banners and attracting some media attention, as well as police officers, the group said they were proud of hosting the Olympics, but upset with how ordinary homeowners are being treated as China welcomes the world.

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