BEIJING, June 22 One of the assailants who
carried out an attack in western China that injured four people
has apologised and said other members of his group had convinced
him to participate in a "holy war", state media said late on
The knife attack occurred last Sunday in a crowded chess
hall in the city of Hotan in troubled Xinjiang, the traditional
home of ethnic Muslim Uighurs. Two of the attackers died from
serious injuries, while the remaining one, Muer Zhati, was
arrested, China Central Television (CCTV) said on Saturday.
"I just listened to them and did something like this, hacked
people," Muer Zhati was shown as saying on CCTV. "I'm sorry, I
apologise for my behaviour. I just want to say I'm sorry."
Muer Zhati, who was shown on television wearing an orange
prison vest and handcuffs, said members of his group had
advocated a holy war, telling him that he could obtain a
straight path to heaven.
"They told me about this matter of the holy war, that as
long as I died while participating, I could go directly to
heaven and not be subject to a trial after I die," Muer Zhati
On June 15, Muer Zhati said he spent five seconds observing
people in a room playing cards before he started hacking a
CCTV said, however, that Muer Zhati's confession "came too
late and all that is waiting for him now is the strict
punishment of the law".
CCTV often airs confessions by thieves, prostitutes and
other petty criminals, but in recent months, several
high-profile suspects have confessed to crimes on air, often
wearing handcuffs and jumpsuits. Critics say public confessions
deprive the accused of the right to a fair trial.
China has been on edge since a suicide bombing last month
killed 39 people at a morning vegetable market in Xinjiang's
capital of Urumqi. Knife attacks in the past have often resulted
in attackers being arrested or killed.
Chinese police shot dead 13 attackers in Xinjiang on
Saturday after they rammed a car into a police station and
detonated explosives, state news agency Xinhua said.
Police in Xinjiang have arrested or tried dozens of suspects
in recent weeks for spreading extremist propaganda, harbouring
banned weapons and other crimes.
Rights activists and exile groups have charged that the
government's own repressive policies in Xinjiang have sowed the
seeds of unrest, a claim Beijing denies. China has blamed many
of the attacks on Islamist separatists it says seek to establish
an independent state called East Turkestan.
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie)