Muslim unrest in western China

Beijing, April 2:

China has accused Muslims in the nation’s northwest of trying to start a rebellion, following what an exile group said today were peaceful protests against injustices under Chinese rule.

The unrest occurred in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region last month, after Chinese authorities warned that “terrorists” based there were planning attacks on the Beijing Olympics and had tried to bomb a Beijing-bound plane. In the latest event, extremist forces tried to incite an uprising in a marketplace in Khotan city on March 23, according to a statement from the local government posted on its website.

“A small number of elements... tried to incite splittism, create disturbances in the market place and even trick the masses into an uprising,” the statement said.

The statement said the people involved adhered to the “three evil forces,” a Chinese expression that refers to separatism, religious extremism and terrorism.