| GEO World|
| China says Xinjiang terror cell busted|
| Updated at: 0841 PST, Thursday, June 24, 2010|
BEIJING: Chinese police said on Thursday they had broken up a terrorist cell in Xinjiang that had carried out attacks in the restive region.
The announcement was made during a Beijing press conference that came as authorities in Xinjiang brace for the July 5 anniversary of deadly rioting in the capital Urumqi by the region's Muslim ethnic Uighurs.
"Since 2008 this terror group planned and carried out many terror acts in Xinjiang, including an attack on police and border guards in Kashgar during the Olympics," Public Security Bureau spokesman Wu Heping told reporters.
Wu said the break-up of the cell proved that China faces a "terrorist threat" in Xinjiang.
Seventeen Chinese border police were killed the Xinjiang city of Kashgar in August 2008, according to state media, just days before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, in an attack authorities had previously blamed on terrorists.
Two men reportedly ploughed their lorry into a group of 70 officers on a morning jog, then jumped out, tossing explosives and hacking at the shellshocked officers with machetes before being arrested, according to local state media and witnesses.
Wu did not take journalists' questions.
Xinjiang, a vast area that borders Central Asia, has more than eight million Uighurs, and many are unhappy with what they say has been decades of repressive communist Chinese rule.
That resentment burst out into savage violence on July 5, 2009 in Urumqi, when Uighurs attacked members of China's dominant Han ethnic group, leaving nearly 200 people dead, according to government figures.