Dharamshala: - Five people, include two tourists were killed and dozens injured on Monday, Oct. 28 the government said, when “Eastern Turkistan” activists ploughed a car into pedestrians and caught fire in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the site of 1989 pro-democracy protests bloodily suppressed by the military.
Chinese police said the three killed in the vehicle were from the same family. The driver was identified as Usmen Hasan. His wife, Gulkiz Gini, and mother, Kuwanhan Reyim - both from far western Xinjiang - were also in the car.
Five suspects have been detained in connection with the car crash and explosion in Tiananmen Square on Monday, which authorities claimed its “carefully planned organised and premeditated” attack carried out by “ferocious” criminals, state media Xinhua reported.
The five were arrested 10 hours after a car careened along a pedestrian walkway in front the square’s famed gate tower and exploded in flames after it hit the Jinshui Bridge, killing three occupants and two tourists, Xinhua said.
The note also described a vehicle and four number plates from Xinjiang, the scene of sporadic violent incidents, warned authorities to look out for seven people.
The Beijing city government said on one of its official news websites that a female tourist from the Philippines and a male tourist from southern Guangdong province had also died.
Beijing claims nearly 40 people were injured, three were tourists from the Philippines and one from Japan, it added.
The central and Beijing governments were forced to hold a meeting after the incident to speedily investigate what happened and “ensure the security and stability of the capital”, according to media reports.
The car crashed almost directly in front of the main entrance of the Forbidden City, where there hangs a huge portrait of the Mao Tse Tung, the communist dictator of China, who was known as the greatest mass murderer in world history.
Eastern Turkistan or Xinjiang is home to the Muslim Uighur people, whom complain of cultural and religious freedom under Beijing’s repressive rule. There have been sporadic outbreaks of freedom movements in both Xinjiang and Tibet since its invasion in 1949. China however claims it grants the Uighurs and Tibetans wide-ranging freedoms.
Beijing has dealt with Xinjiang much as it has dealt with Tibet. It has flooded the region with Han Chinese to tip the population balance against the indigenous locals. Mandarin is the language of social advancement in these regions; the local language, culture and religion impede progress. Job listings frequently request native Mandarin speakers only.
The exiled leader of Eastern Turkistan, Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in US, warned against accepting at face value China’s account of the incident. “Chinese claims simply cannot be accepted as facts without an independent and international investigation of what took place in Beijing on Monday,” Kadeer said.
“If the Uighurs did it, I believe they did it out of desperation because there is no channel for the Uighur people to seek redress for any kind of injustice they had suffered under Chinese rule,” she added.