March 9, 2008

  Hu Jian with his wife Zeng Jinyan
  Is it possible China needs to rationalize its latest crackdown on dissidents, including Hu Jian, his wife, and their dangerous baby, all under house arrest for the crime of blogging?

Suspected militants arrested in western China earlier this year were planning attacks on the Beijing Olympics, a Chinese official says.

Two people were reported to have been killed and 15 arrested in a raid on 27 January in Urumqi, Xinjiang province.

Officials now say their aim was to attack the August Olympics.

The alleged plot was disclosed as officials also revealed that a plane crew prevented an apparent attempt to crash a jet on an internal flight.

The incident occurred on Friday.

The flight also originated in Urumqi, and was bound for Beijing.

The China Southern Airlines plane landed safely despite an attempt “to create an air disaster”, said Xinjiang Governor Nur Bekri.

He gave few details about the alleged attack.

“Who the people involved in the incident were, where they were from, what their aim was and what their background was, we are now investigating,” he said.

But he said there was “an attempt to crash the plane”, and that the crew responded and brought the plane to an emergency landing in the city of Lanzhou, in neighbouring Gansu province, with no damage or injuries.

Reuters quoted an anonymous source saying inflammable material was found in the plane’s toilet, and that at least two passengers on the flight were taken into custody.

There was no confirmation of this.

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