The opinions expressed in this article are those of “The Star Online” (published by Malaysian Chinese Association), and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.
There is speculation that militants from China’s Uighur Muslim minority could be involved in the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 airplane, as it occurred just one week after knife-wielding assailants killed at least 29 people at a train station in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.
A Malaysian official said authorities were not ruling out Uighur involvement in the jet’s disappearance, noting that Uighurs were deported to China from Malaysia in 2011 and 2012 for carrying false passports.
“This is not being ruled out. We have sent back Uighurs who had false passports before. It is too early to say whether there is a link,” the official said.
The next year, it was condemned by US-based Human Rights Watch for deporting six Uighurs the rights group described as asylum seekers. Human Rights Watch said the six had been detained while trying to leave Malaysia on fake passports.
A source with ties to the Chinese leadership said there was no confirmed connection to Uighur militants, but described the timing as “very suspicious” coming so soon after the Kunming attack.
Li Jiheng, governor of Yunnan province where Kunming is located, told reporters on Sunday that there was currently no information to show that the knife attack and the missing flight were “necessarily connected”.
Malaysia Airlines operations director, Hugh Dunleavy, told reporters in Beijing that they were aware of the reports of stolen passports.
“As far as we’re aware, every one of the people onboard that aircraft had a visa to go to China,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they weren’t false passports, but that means that it’s probably lower down on the probability scale.”
China has a reputation for being rigorous on visa approvals and checks at border entry points, but the pair’s European passports may have enabled them to bypass visa scrutiny.
Under a recently-launched exemption programme, citizens of many Western nations are granted visa-free entry for 72 hours upon arrival in Beijing as long as they have an onward ticket.
The BBC reported that the men using the stolen passports had purchased tickets together and were flying on to Europe.
Reuters reported: “People with fake passports present a huge problem for security,” said Yang Shu, a security expert at China’s Lanzhou University.
“I strongly believe that they had something to do with the plane going missing.”Editor’s Note: To the best of the Editor’s knowledge, China has released no hard evidence of its claims that previous attacks were carried out by Uighurs, nor have the Uighurs claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.
Source: The Star Online – Missing MAS flight: Authorities not ruling Uighur link out
- China offers no hard evidence that Uighurs committed Kunming “terrorist” attack (chinadailymail.com)
- China says 11 ‘terrorists’ killed in new Xinjiang unrest (chinadailymail.com)
- China Internet Crackdown Snares Uighur Users (chinadailymail.com)
- China detained five in connection with Tiananmen terror attack (chinadailymail.com)
- Who are the Uighurs? Islamic militants in China who could be linked to missing Malaysia Airlines flight (mirror.co.uk)
- Uighurs will be first suspected of terror attack on Malasian airlines flight, if it really took place – expert (voiceofrussia.com)
- Missing Malaysia Airlines flight: The early clues could point to Islam militants (mirror.co.uk)
- Did Al-Qaeda In China Blow Up Malaysian Airliner? (americanthinker.com)
- Malaysia investigators probe possible airport security lapse (updated) (cyprus-mail.com)
- Four passengers on missing Malaysian MH370 plane had fake passports (fireandreamitchell.com)