Five arrested suspects have admitted to their involvement in a suicide car attack late last month in central Beijing, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
In a commentary criticizing the United States and Western media for casting doubt on China's announcement of the Oct. 28 incident as a terrorist attack, Xinhua also said the five admitted to "all evidence" that it was "a carefully planned, organized and premeditated act of terrorism."
Chinese authorities believe the five and the three people who died in a sport-utility vehicle that burst into flames after plowing into bystanders almost in front of a huge portrait of Mao Zedong, founder of Communist China, just across from Tiananmen Square, are linked to a movement seeking to establish an independent, self-governing East Turkestan in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Chinese police said the three set gasoline alight in the SUV after the crash in which two tourists were killed and 40 others were injured.
The police also said they have found such items as a device full of gasoline – even after the incident –two knives, steel bars and a flag with "extremist religious content" in the trio's vehicle.
Without providing further details of the incident such as why the flag was found in the totally burned car, the authorities have quickly determined it was a terrorist attack.
The commentary of the state media defended China's position, saying, "It is difficult to conclude that the incident – indiscriminately targeting innocent civilians under the international spotlight – was anything other than a terrorist attack."