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Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 08:10 UK

China hunts Olympic 'terrorists'

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China has appealed for international help in tracking down eight men from the Xinjiang region, whom officials say threatened to disrupt the Olympics.

The men were said to be members of a separatist group fighting for an independent homeland for Uighurs.

Local dissidents and some human rights groups have said that China has exaggerated the threat from the group.

The authorities said more than 30 people died in violence in Xinjiang in August, when the Olympics were held.

"All the eight terrorists listed are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement," said a spokesman for China's Public Security Bureau.

CHINA'S UIGHURS
Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture

"[They] took part in plotting, organising and executing various terrorist activities targeting the Beijing Olympic Games," spokesman Wu Heping said.

"We hope that the governments of relevant countries and law enforcement agencies will... track them down, immediately arrest them and hand them over to China so that we can hold them responsible for their crimes."

Uighur separatists in Xinjiang have waged a low-level campaign against Chinese rule for decades.

In the most deadly recent attack, 16 police were killed in Kashgar on 4 August - four days before the Olympic Games began in Beijing.



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