21 October 2008

In a press conference today, the Ministry of Public Security released its second list of most wanted terrorists for plotting attacks on the Olympics and generally working towards separatism in “restive”* Xinjiang. The first list was released December 15, 2003, and included Hasan Mahsum, who had been shot dead by Pakistani forces two months earlier - the delay may have been because of DNA testing.

The first list included: Hasan Mahsum (ETIM, deceased), Mamtimin Hazrat (ETLO), Dolqun Isa (Uyghur Youth Congress), Abudujelil Karikax (ET Information Center, UYC), Abudukadir Uapqan (ETIM), Abudumijit Mamatkrim (ETIM), Abdulla Kariaji (ETIM), Ablimit Tursun (World Uyghur Congress), Hudabardiy Haxerbak (ETLO), Yasan Mammat and Atahan Abduheni. The addition of the WUC and UYC were received rather skeptically, especially since the list said these groups were working with ETIM. Most of the crimes they were accused of were general charges of recruitment, funding and bombmaking, and specific charges of gun violence and robberies.

So who’s new? This time the second list (English here) goes all out on details: aliases, nicknames, birthdays, education level (one university, 2 vocational, 1 high school, 2 junior high and 2 primary school level - not Mohammed Atta stuff), and ID and passport numbers, which seems awfully pointless but police paperwork is what it is. Moreover, while the previous list did include, in some versions, what appears to be Latin-based spellings of their names, the current list is only available with pinyin versions of their Chinese phoneticized names. Also, places are consistently referred to as “a Middle Eastern country”, “a South Asia country”, “Middle East and West Asian countries”, “a south Asian nation”, etc. etc. - never the name of Pakistan, Afghanistan, or where ever else it is they’re referring to.

  • Memetiming Memeti: Alleged to be the new CEO of ETIM, replacing Mahsum in 2003. He is said to have released a video “on the world’s largest video sharing website” in June 2008, but I can’t find any record of a YouTube video with any of his names or aliases. In fact, reports of videos on YouTube began in July. Moreover, there is no mention of the videos released in August, or Abdullah Mansour who appeared in it. Searches for Chinese and English translations of his alleged quotes (“要把2008年变成中国的哀悼年”, “turn the year 2008 into China’s year of condolence”), mainly turn up this list and references to an August 7 Caijing Online article that says a video was released on YouTube June 26/27 and states they want to make it a year of condolence, but not as a direct quote. The video is not included in IntelCenter’s DVD of TIP’s greatest hits, the YouTube account for TIP was deleted, and there’s no English record of such a video. Also, it is always referred to as being posted on June 26-27; why the ambiguity?

  • Emeti Yakuf: alias Seyfullah, Memetiming’s lieutenant, apparently. He is also said to have released a video in June, and his alias does match the name of the man in a video released in July by the “Turkestan Islamic Party”. In fact, the  The wanted list does not mention the TIP, but instead says that these men all belong to ETIM - a confusion of organizational names and movements the Chinese government has produced for quite a while. Interestingly enough, neither man is accused of conducting the bus bombings they claimed responsibility for in the video, which the Chinese government previously denied.

  • Memeti Tursun Yiming: Logistics and fundraising. Organized “more than 10” (but less than 30? Are they bigger than a breadbox?) terrorists to infiltrate China and launch attacks in early 2008.

  • Memeti Tursun Abuduhalike: ETIM’s Webmonkey. He apparently “made video footage of terrorist attacks against the Beijing Olympics for Memetiming Memeti and Emeti Yakuf, and broadcast them on a major video-sharing website.” Sorry, that’s Xinhua’s bad translation, they made videos of terrorist threats. Not attacks.

  • Xiamisidingaihemaiti Abudumijiti: Sent to “a Middle East country, where he preached separatism and extremism among local Chinese (当地中国人)”. Either he’s a really convincing guy, or by “Chinese” they mean “Uyghurs”. He planned to blow up a Beijing supermarket before the Olympics.

  • Aikemilai Wumaierjiang: Assisted in supermarket plot.

  • Yakuf Memeti: Planned to sneak into China via a South Asian country to attack during the Olympics, but apparently got distracted by a plan to attack an oil refinery in said South Asian country, which also failed “due to strict security”.

  • Tursun Toheti: Saw the video in a West Asian country and wanted to join. Asked for explosive formulas and plans, made and tested explosive to attack the Olympics. Obviously, something came up.

The PSB is clearly attempting to issue more information on their suspects than in the past. Now if they could just focus on issuing it more clearly and distinctly.

*There is apparently a style guide out there on writing about Xinjiang in the Western press, and the word “restive” is the default adjective for the province. I’m starting to think its a spellcheck feature.

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