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killed in series of attacks in Xinjiang Province
AP, KUQA, CHINA
Monday, Aug 11, 2008, Page 1
Assailants using homemade bombs launched a series of attacks and engaged police in a deadly battle yesterday in a western Chinese city far from the Beijing Olympics, state media said. At least seven attackers and one security guard were killed.
The pre-dawn violence in the restive Muslim region of Xinjiang came despite tightened security for the Games and followed threats by an al-Qaeda-linked militant Islamic group to disrupt the sporting event.
Xinhua news agency, citing local police, said one explosions occurred at government buildings in Kuqa County in the early hours yesterday. Xinhua described the attackers as suicide bombers who used devices made from bent pipes, gas canisters and liquid gas tanks.
In what appeared to be the largest attack, Xinhua said assailants drove a three-wheeled vehicle carrying explosives into the compound of the public security bureau at about 2:30am. An explosion followed that killed a security guard, injured two police and two civilians, and destroyed two police cars.
Police opened fire on the attackers, killing one. Another blew himself up, injuring a third, and a fourth was captured, Xinhua said, citing an unidentified local government spokesman.
Six hours later, a battle broke out in a nearby market where police found five attackers hiding under a counter, Xinhua said. The men hurled bombs at the police, who fatally shot two of them, while the remaining three killed themselves with their own bombs, the news agency said.
Xinhua said the captured suspect told police that 15 people were involved in the attack. Police also seized a taxi used by the bombers, it said.
The already-tight security in Xinjiang was increased in the past week after assailants killed 16 border police and wounded 16 others in Kashgar on Aug. 4.
The attacks mark a dramatic increase in violence in Xinjiang, where local Muslims have waged a sputtering rebellion against Chinese rule.
Wang Wei (¤ý°¶), vice president of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, called the attacks the work of ¡§East Turkestan terrorists¡¨ ¡X the name some separatists use for Xinjiang ¡X and said no government would tolerate such violence.
¡§The very purpose of these attacks is all about separating the region from China,¡¨ Wang told reporters.
Authorities shut down Kuqa County, a region 2,800km west of Beijing where some 400,000 people live, for most of the day. Soldiers with machine guns patrolled the streets and people were told not to leave their homes. A Foreign Ministry official in Beijing, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the restrictions were akin to martial law.
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tighten security after stabbing
DEVASTATED: Five more foreign protesters were arrested in Tiananmen Square, while a Chinese Christian activist was seized on his way to church
AP AND AFP, BEIJING
Monday, Aug 11, 2008, Page 1
"I told him not to go because it's during the Olympic Games and this period is sensitive."
¡X Hua Huilin, brother of Christian activist detained on his way to church
Police tightened security yesterday and resumed investigating the fatal stabbing of the father of a former Olympian, an attack that stunned the athletic community and embarrassed Chinese authorities determined to hold the most successful Summer Games ever.
Todd and Barbara Bachman of Lakeville, Minneapolis ¡X parents of 2004 volleyball Olympian Elisabeth ¡§Wiz¡¨ Bachman and in-laws of US men¡¦s volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon ¡X were attacked by a Chinese man while visiting the 13th-century Drum Tower on Saturday.
The assault came only hours after the spectacular opening ceremony for the Games.
The US Olympic Committee confirmed Bachman died from knife wounds and that Barbara Bachman suffered life-threatening injuries.
She and their Chinese tour guide, who was also injured in the attack, were being treated in a Beijing hospital.
The committee said yesterday that Bachman suffered multiple lacerations and stab wounds. She underwent eight hours of surgery and was in critical but stable condition. The statement said family members were at the hospital and that McCutcheon would ¡§not be on the bench today¡¨ for the US men¡¦s volleyball team¡¦s opening game against Venezuela.
Rob Browning, team leader of the men¡¦s volleyball team, said the team was united in supporting the Bachmans.
¡§We are absolutely devastated by what has occurred, for their loss and for everything they are going through,¡¨ Browning said. ¡§We are a family and we¡¦ll get through this together as a family.¡¨
US President George W. Bush thanked Beijing yesterday for its handling of the attack.
¡§Your government has been very attentive, very sympathetic and I appreciate that a lot,¡¨ Bush told Chinese President Hu Jintao (JÀAÀÜ) before they met for private talks at the presidential compound.
Hu said his government took the incident ¡§very seriously¡¨ and pledged to keep Washington apprised of the investigation.
Five people staged a protest near Tiananmen Square yesterday against Chinese rule of Tibet, an activist group said, in the latest pro-Tibet demonstration to hit Beijing around the Olympics.
Two of the protesters, including a Tibetan woman from Germany, Padma-Dolma Fielitz, held the Tibetan flag just outside the southern entrance of the square in central Beijing, Students for a Free Tibet said in a statement.
As Chinese security guards tried to take the flag away, Fielitz, 21, was seen being dragged across the ground, the organization said.
Three other activists then tried to unveil a banner that read ¡§Tibetans are dying for freedom,¡¨ before they were taken away, the group said.
All five protesters ¡X Fielitz, two Americans and two Canadians ¡X were detained and their whereabouts were unknown.
Students for a Free Tibet also said five Canadian activists were being detained at their hotel in Beijing and questioned in the basement.
Also yesterday, a Christian activist and his brother were detained while on their way to a church service attended by Bush, the activist¡¦s brother said.
Hua Huilin said he and his brother, Hua Huiqi, a housing activist and member of an underground Christian church, were stopped by two black cars while bicycling to the church around dawn.
Hua Huilin said they were taken away in separate cars by security agents, whom his brother recognized from previous encounters. He was released in the afternoon, but Hua Huiqi was still at an undisclosed location, he said.
¡§I told him not to go because it¡¦s during the Olympic Games and this period is sensitive,¡¨ Hua Huilin said in a telephone interview. ¡§But he was determined to go because he said that church was where he was baptized. So I went with him hoping to protect him.¡¨
The line was disconnected three times during Hua¡¦s conversation, a sign that authorities were monitoring the call.
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protesters appeal to Ma
NOT WORKING: A crowd of demonstrators called on the president to make good on his campaign vow to extend the period an unemployed person is eligible for benefits
By Loa Iok-sin
Monday, Aug 11, 2008, Page 2
A group of protesters and their children holding images of President Ma Ying-jeou and signs gather in front of the presidential office in Taipei yesterday to protest rising unemployment rates. The placards read "Sympathize with People's Suffering" and "Refuse Unemployment." The unemployment rate rose to 3.95 percent in June from 3.84 percent in May as the number of first-time jobseekers increased, government statistics showed.
Dozens of unemployed people and their children staged a demonstration on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office yesterday, urging President Ma Ying-jeou (°¨^¤E) and his administration to help the jobless find employment.
¡§Being jobless is not just a problem for the unemployed worker, it also affects their circle of friends and their families,¡¨ Hsiao Chung-han (¿½©¾º~) of the Association for Rights of the Unemployed told the demonstrators, many of whom held placards showing images of Ma above the words ¡§feel the pain of the people.¡¨
Huang Yao-hung (¶ÀÄ£§»), 58, was one of the protesters.
Huang, from Taichung, used to work for a machinery manufacturer, but lost his job when the company moved its factory to China several years ago.
¡§Now I only work low-paying part-time jobs, but I have five kids to feed ¡X all college students,¡¨ Huang said, adding that he needed to spend more than NT$100,000 on tuition fees for his children twice a year.
¡§All I want is for the government to help me find a stable job,¡¨ he said.
Another protester, Liao Mei-jung (¹ù¬ü»T), whose husband was laid off when Chunghwa Telecom was privatized several years ago, agreed.
¡§Social welfare resources should be spent on taking care of those who can¡¦t work,¡¨ Liao said. ¡§Since we¡¦re still capable of working, providing job opportunities for us should be the priority.¡¨
Aside from economic pressure, she said, ¡§the psychological pressure [of being jobless] is the most troubling.¡¨
In addition to offering help with finding stable employment, the demonstrators said the president should fulfill his campaign promise of extending the period of time an unemployed person is eligible to receive unemployment benefits from six months to one year.
They urged Ma to set up an unemployment rights commission under the Presidential Office ¡§to periodically check employment promotion policies,¡¨ Hsiao said.
The demonstrators¡¦ request to meet officials from the Presidential Office was not met yesterday as it was a weekend day.
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'regrets' cheer episode
TAIWAN WOO!: The Cabinet called the decision to block a Taiwanese cheerleader from entering China 'unreasonable', while some said she had been 'provocative'
By Flora Wang
and Ko Shu-ling
Monday, Aug 11, 2008, Page 3
The Cabinet expressed regret yesterday over China¡¦s decision to refuse Cheerleading Squad for Taiwan captain Yang Hui-ju¡¦s (·¨¿·¦p) entrance to Beijing on her way to cheer the Taiwanese team on Saturday.
The Executive Yuan issued a press release yesterday afternoon, reiterating a statement released by the Sports Affairs Council on Saturday that said it was unreasonable for China to refuse Yang¡¦s entrance since Yang had presented valid travel documents.
¡§The council urged the Chinese government to respect sports fans¡¦ rights during the Olympic Games,¡¨ the Cabinet release said.
Yang told reporters upon returning to Taiwan on Saturday night that Beijing airport police had examined her Taiwan compatriot entry permit and muttered: ¡§There¡¦s a problem.¡¨
¡§They kept going through my stuff, took away my cellphone and stopped me from answering it. I felt horrible,¡¨ she said.
After questioning, Yang said the airport police said ¡§higher-ups¡¨ had ¡§ordered¡¨ that she and her friend be sent back immediately. They were put on a flight to Hong Kong.
¡§I really don¡¦t know what to say. [They] were really ridiculous. Suddenly, I feel it is pitiful to be Taiwanese,¡¨ she said.
The cheerleader squad normally wears yellow uniforms bearing the Taiwanese flag and the English slogan: ¡§Taiwan Woo!¡¨
They also normally wave Taiwanese flags as part of their routine.
But the cheerleading squad had said it would drop the national symbols to cheer for the nation¡¦s athletes in Beijing.
Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Chang Liang-jen (±i¨}¥ô) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the legal rights of spectators, saying the matter could have been more properly dealt with had the Chinese government contacted Taiwan¡¦s emergency response task force in Beijing when the situation occurred.
Expressing regret for what had happened, Chang, who presides over the team in Taipei, said that the task force sent to Beijing and led by Minister without Portfolio Ovid Tseng (´¿§Ó®Ô) had already lodged a protest there via ¡§related channels,¡¨ but he declined to reveal what they were.
While the team in Taipei takes care of political issues and other matters that task force members sent to Beijing can not handle, the task force members led by Tseng deal with matters only concerning sports activities and any related conflicts.
Chang said Taipei and Beijing were in close contact regarding the matter and they were assured Yang was safe. Chang said he would contact Yang today to gain a better understanding of the matter.
Regarding media reports that Taiwanese government officials were given different National Olympic Committee (NOC) cards with limited access at Olympic-related venues, Chang said the cards were not any different from those given to the dignitaries from other countries and that Taiwanese officials had received the same treatment as others who had been issued the same cards.
Chang said that the public should not confuse the NOC card with the card given to dignitaries of political parties invited by Chinese President Hu Jintao (JÀAÀÜ) because they were different.
Chang dismissed media reports claiming that Sports Affairs Council Chairwoman Tai Hsia-ling (À¹¹IÄÖ) could attend only the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games as ¡§wrong,¡¨ saying Tai could access all venues with her card.
Two Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators said they were unsympathetic with Yang when asked for comment.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (§d¨|ª@) said Yang¡¦s announcing her plan to cheer for the Taiwanese team at a media conference before leaving for Beijing was ¡§provocative.¡¨
Yang said during the conference that she would keep a low profile during the Games, but added that she was afraid that she ¡§might not be able to make it back to Taiwan this time.¡¨
KMT Legislator Justin Chou (©P¦u°V) also criticized Yang, saying that Yang was trying to act like a heroine for Taiwanese sports fans during the Games.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (°ª§ÓÄP), mocking KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung¡¦s (§d§B¶¯) reported comments from a day earlier, said China¡¦s actions clearly demonstrated that ¡§Taiwanese did not enjoy ¡¥home field advantage¡¦ in Beijing, instead they were being discriminated against.¡¨
He said it was scandalous that ¡§while the Beijing authorities blocked a normal Taiwanese citizen at its airport, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials were enjoying special treatment in Beijing,¡¨ he said.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary-General Hsueh Hsiang-chuan (Á§»¤t) visited weightlifter Chen Wei-ling¡¦s (³¯¸«ºð) mother in Tainan to congratulate the Chen family on behalf of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (¼B¥ü¥È) on the bronze medal she won on Saturday.
Chen Wei-ling won Taiwan¡¦s first medal in the Beijing Olympics in the women¡¦s 48kg class category.
Hsueh also made a promise to Chen¡¦s mother that he would help the weightlifter find a coaching job in the future.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG