China indicts eight in Beijing attack, offers rewards for guns

Reuters News
Posted: May 30, 2014 11:54 PM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Prosecutors in far western China have indicted eight people over an attack on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square last October when a car ploughed into a crowd and caught fire, state media reported on Saturday.

Three people in the car and two bystanders were killed in the attack which the government blamed on separatist militants from the western region of Xinjiang. Forty people were hurt in the attack.

The procuratorate of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, accused the eight of "organizing, leading and participating (in) a terrorist group and endangering public security with dangerous method", Xinhua news agency said.

China is waging a year-long anti-terrorism campaign and has focused on Xinjiang, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, following a series of bloody attacks that Beijing blames on Islamists and separatists from the region.

The Xinjiang police are offering cash rewards for weapons, Xinhua reported separately on Saturday.

Bullets will fetch five 5 yuan ($0.80) apiece, a kilogramme (2.2 lbs) of dynamite will get 20 yuan, grenades and landmines are good for 100 yuan and people who give tips that prevent or break up an "explosives-related terrorist case" can be rewarded as much as 30,000 yuan, it said.

Xinhua did not identify the eight who were indicted. It said they would stand trial at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court but did not give a date.

Since the Oct. 28 attack there have been several other attacks that the government has blamed on separatist militants from Xinjiang, the deadliest of which occurred on May 22 when, according to the government, five suicide bombers hit a market in Urumqi killing 39 people.

A few weeks earlier a bomb went off at a train station killing one person and wounding 79.

Chinese authorities have blamed what they called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Muslim Uighur separatist group, for the Oct. 28 attack at the foot of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Uighurs are culturally closer to ethnic groups across central Asia and Turkey than the Han Chinese who make up the vast majority of China's population.

Chinese President Xi Jinping this week pledged to alleviate poverty and improve ethnic unity in restive Xinjiang. Experts have long said economic marginalization of Xinjiang's Uighurs is one of the main causes of the violence.[ID:nL3N0OG0YI]

($1 = 6.2473 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Jeremy Laurence and Matt Driskill)