China cracks down on explosives after bus bombings
Arrests made in Xinjiang
February 27, 1997
Web posted at: 11:40 a.m. EST (1640 GMT)
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BEIJING (CNN) -- Chinese police arrested an undisclosed number of people Thursday in connection with deadly bus bombings in the northwestern Xinjiang region and announced a nationwide crackdown on explosives.
Three buses were bombed within minutes of each other on Tuesday in different parts of Urumqi (pronounced Oo-RUM-chee), Xinjiang's capital, reportedly killing four people and injuring about 60.
No one has claimed responsibility. But suspicion fell on Muslim separatists in the autonomous Xinjiang (pronounced SHIN-jiang) region where Muslim ethnic Turkic groups outnumber ethnic Han Chinese.
Dozens of roadblocks were set up throughout Urumqi. Police checked identification and searched vehicles for bombs.
An official with the Urumqi police department said some arrests had been made, but did not give a number.
A circular from the Ministry of Public Security printed in the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said illegal explosives were flooding the country. The statement did not refer to the Xinjiang bomb blasts, which official media have ignored.
"Criminal elements" were using explosives to destabilize society, it said.
The ministry statement also called for tighter supervision of explosives, particularly in rural areas where home-made explosives are often produced for use in small mines and quarries and frequently cause accidents.
Previous violence, ethnic unrest
The bombs in Urumqi came less than three weeks after anti-Chinese riots in the Xinjiang city of Yining left at least 10 people dead.
Uighurs (pronounced WEE-ghurs) are the dominant ethnic group in Xinjiang. But in Urumqi, Chinese dominate. Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups object to Chinese migration into Xinjiang.
Beijing Bureau Chief Andrea Koppel and
Reuters contributed to this report.
contributed to this report.
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