Chinese authorities investigating the car crash in Tiananmen Square on Monday have named two suspects.
Police are scouring Beijing for two Uighur men from the Muslim-dominated town of Xinjiang in what could be the capital’s first major suicide attack.
China accuses Uighurs of trying to establish an independent state called East Turkestan. Three people, also suspected to come from the area, ploughed an SUV through a crowd in the square. The vehicle caught fire by the main entrance to the Forbidden City and right at the seat of Chinese power. Five people died and eight were injured.
Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a press conference: “We acknowledge that some violent terrorist incidents have taken place in some areas of Xinjiang. I believe any country facing such incidents would do what the Chinese government has done by opposing and firmly cracking down on them in order to preserve social stability and ensure the safety of the lives and property of people from all ethnic groups.”
In 2009, nearly 200 people were killed in clashes between Uighurs and ethnic Chinese in Xinjiang.
But until now, Uighur people have never been suspected of suicide bombings.