Cablegate: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics: Usg Situation Report
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #3067/01 2230709
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 100709Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9077
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK IMMEDIATE 6267
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 0824
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE 9446
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 2106
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG IMMEDIATE 0491
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUGIAAA/NGA NAVY YARD WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEAFVS/OSD WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/NGA ST LOUIS MO IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/NGA HQ BETHESDA MD IMMEDIATE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RULSDMK/NSA US WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNSE/US SECRET SERVICE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 BEIJING 003067
DEPT, FOR, DS/IP/EAP, DS/DSS/DO, DS/TIA/OSAC, DS/P/MECU,
DS/TIA/ITA, DS/DO/P, DS/ICI/CI, DS/T/ATA, DS/TIA,
DS/TIA/PII, DS/CC, EAP/CM, S/CT, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP, PASS TO
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA) OPERATIONS
CENTER, HONG KONG FOR RSO AND LEGAT AND USSS, SHANGHAI FOR
RSO, SHENYANG FOR RSO,CHENGDU FOR RSO, GUANGZHOU FOR RSO,
USSS HQS FOR INV, OPO, HNL
EO 12958 DECL: 08/10/2038
TAGS ASEC, CASC, CH, CMGT, ECON, KOLY, OVIP, PREL, PTER
SUBJECT: BEIJING 2008 SUMMER OLYMPICS: USG SITUATION REPORT
REF: A. BEIJING 3065 B. BEIJING 3049
Classified By: DCM Dan Piccuta for reason 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (SBU) The following cable provides information on security, public diplomacy, political, and consular activities related to the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games as of 08/10/2008.
2. (U) The interagency USG Joint Operations Center (JOC) can be contacted on a 24-hour basis at the following numbers:
- JOC Direct Line: 011-86-010-6532-6966. - U.S. Embassy Beijing: 011-86-010-6532-3431, JOC extension 6200. - JOC fax: 011-86-010-6532-4763. - STE and fax: 011-86-010-6532-5163.
3. (SBU) In what appears to be a random act of violence, the U.S. Embassy has confirmed that three U.S. citizens and their Chinese guide were attacked at Beijing,s Drum Tower by a knife-wielding assailant on 08/09/2008 (ref. a). One of the Americans, Todd Bachman, was killed and his wife, Barbara Bachman, was taken to Peking Union Hospital where she currently remains in “serious but stable” condition. The third American, Elisabeth Bachman McCutcheon--the daughter of the two victims and the wife of the U.S. Men,s Indoor Volleyball team coach Hugh McCutcheon--was not injured but spent the night in the hospital. The Bachmans, two other daughters are scheduled to arrive in Beijing on 08/10/2008 at 2135 hours on a Northwest flight. They will be met by U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) representatives and an Embassy officer. White House and Embassy doctors continue to provide assistance to the family at the hospital. On 08/09/2008, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei visited the hospital to express deep sympathy to the U.S. Government and the relatives of the victims. The U.S. Ambassador to China also visited the hospital and conveyed President Bush’s heartfelt condolences. President Bush has praised China’s leadership for its quick response to the deadly attack.
4. (SBU) The perpetrator, identified as Chinese citizen Tang Yongming, appears to have acted alone and leaped to his death after the attack; he was reportedly 47 years old and from Zhejiang Province. At this time there is no known motive, nor is there any indication that the attack was related to the victims, nationality or Olympic affiliation. According to China,s official state media, Tang was unemployed but had no criminal record. Chinese law enforcement officials are investigating the incident in
BEIJING 00003067 002 OF 005
cooperation with their U.S. counterparts and the U.S. Embassy will provide updates to the USOC security office as they are received from the Chinese.
5. (S/REL to USA, FVEY) Threats: Olympics Possible Target for East Turkestan Groups: Tearline information indicates that, “According to a Chinese intelligence officer in early July 2008, al-Qa’ida second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri has tasked former East Turkestan terrorists to travel to China to conduct terrorist attacks at the Olympics. Potential targets include: the U.S. President and Secretary of State; the UK Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary; the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies; the cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong; Olympic programs; and VIP tourists. The terrorists are apparently bomb-making experts and may carry micro bomb-making material in plastic products, jewelry, and crystal ornaments across the border with them. According to the Chinese intelligence officer, al-Qa’ida and East Turkestan terrorist groups would have different targets, with East Turkestan groups primarily targeting Olympic facilities and landmarks and not targeting U.S. VIPs or the U.S. Embassy.” The same source previously cited information from July indicating a threat to the U.S. and Afghan Presidents during the Olympics Opening Ceremony (ref. b). [Source removed]
6. (S/NF) Europe-Based Uighur on Possible Attacks in China: The Albanian State Intelligence Service on 08/06/2008 provided information indicating that the two people arrested in connection with the 08/04/2008 attack against police in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, were not connected to the East Turkestan Islamic Party (ETIP), although ETIP supported the action. This information was reportedly obtained from an ethnic Uighur claiming first-hand access, who also stated that such incidents would continue to occur in China, especially before and during the 2008 Olympic Games. [Source removed]
7. (SBU) Incidents: Violence in Kuqa, Xinjiang: According to Xinhua, China’s state media agency, several explosions occurred on 08/10/2008 in the town of Kuqa in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region; witnesses report seeing flashes of fire and hearing sporadic gunshots after the explosions. Chinese Internet press (sohu.com) has reported that two people threw explosives at a police station and another site, injuring three, and that five “lawless persons” were shot
BEIJING 00003067 003 OF 005
dead on the spot. Police and military have reportedly sealed off the area. An individual who answered a U.S. Embassy Officer’s phone call to Kuqa County People’s Hospital declined to comment on whether the attacks had taken place but said no foreigners were injured. The local Public Security Bureau (PSB) also told the Embassy that no foreigners were involved in any way. Kuqa is located 427 kilometers from the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi and is approximately 2600 kilometers from Beijing. An attack against police in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar left 16 dead and 16 injured on 08/04/2008; Chinese authorities have claimed that incident was an act of terrorism.
8. (SBU) False Fire Alarm: On the evening of 08/09/2008, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) representative in the JOC was notified that guests at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Beijing were evacuated afte a technician working on an electrical panel accidentally set off the fire alarm. Guests were allowed to return to their rooms after it was determined that the alarm had been sounded in error.
9. (SBU) Olympic Protests: Pro-Tibetan Protesters Removed from China: Advocates for Tibetan independence continue to be detained and deported on the same day by Chinese officials in response to their ongoing campaign of well-organized protests in Beijing. These protesters, along with those detained in earlier Tibet-related demonstrations, all appear to be part of “Team Tibet,” in which “Students for a Free Tibet” (SFT) and other Tibetan advocacy groups have orchestrated a series of actions to unfurl banners and fly Tibetan flags in public areas in Beijing and elsewhere. In cases involving U.S. citizens, the U.S. Embassy has first learned of all three incidents from XXXXXXXXXXXX. To date, the following pro-Tibet incidents--reported by the same caller--have occurred in Beijing:
08/09/2008--Five persons, including three Americans, detained at Tiananmen Square; American citizens deported to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
08/08/2008--Three Americans detained at the National Stadium (“Bird’s Nest”) before the Olympic opening ceremony; deported to Los Angeles.
08/06/2008--Four persons, including two Americans, detained near the National Stadium (“Bird,s Nest”); American citizens deported to Los Angeles.
10. (SBU) Hong Kong Protests: According to various media reports, at least six protesters were removed from the Sha Tin Olympic Equestrian venue in Hong Kong in reaction to separate incidents during the dressage competition on
BEIJING 00003067 004 OF 005
08/09/2008. Among the six were reportedly two American citizens belonging to the “Students for a Free Tibet” organization. All protesters attempted to display either Tibetan flags or banners calling for an end to human rights abuses in China and were escorted from the arena by venue security. In one incident, the demonstrator refused to leave and was forcibly removed from the area.
11. (SBU) Olympic Venues Protected by Infrared Wall: According to a report in Beijing Zhongguo Xinwen She, more than 400 infrared poles have been installed around the central zone of the Olympic Games, forming an “infrared protective wall” at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium, the Water Cube Aquatic Center, and other important Olympic competition venues. The devices alert security when a human body breaks the infrared barrier. The Olympic Village, Main Media Center, and other facilities are protected by a wider infrared screen formed by a total of 2,002 infrared poles.
12. (SBU) Shenyang Security Update: According to the Regional Security Officer (RSO) in Shenyang, as of 08/10/2008 security is at the highest levels seen to date in the general vicinity of the Olympic stadium, the Marvelot and Sheraton hotels, and the Riverside Garden residential complex. Chinese SWAT team members have been observed patrolling on every block and Peoples Armed Police (PAP) squads are present at two block intervals along main streets. In addition, groups of Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers wearing their Olympic sweat suits have congregated at major intersections, where traffic police officers have augmented or replaced regular crossing guards. Police officers are also located in the lobbies of buildings at Riverside Garden, which is home to U.S., Korean, and Japanese diplomats, as well as to a wide variety of other foreign nationals. PSB vans with several occupants have been stationed at each entrance to the community.
13. (SBU) The USG Delegation to the Opening Ceremony--headed by the President of the United States--remains in Beijing; the Delegation is expected to depart the city as scheduled on 08/11/2008.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS/PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
14. (U) Please refer to the “Key Issues” section for information on Public Affairs activities as of 08/10/2008.
BEIJING 00003067 005 OF 005
15. (SBU) Please refer to the “Key Issues” and “Security Issues” sections for information on Consular activities as of 08/10/2008.
16. (SBU) Air Quality: The UK Telegraph reports that the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology ordered its European partners in a Beijing air-quality monitoring effort to close down a website (already restricted to password holders) that on 08/08/2008 reported an air pollution index (API) of 101-150 in the area of Beijing in which the Olympic Green is located. The Chinese Government reported an API of 95 that day, which is under the 100 API which the government deems as acceptable air quality. Subscribers to the website received an email on 08/08/2008 saying the site would no longer be accessible, even by password. The e-mail reportedly stated the sponsors were “very sorry to have to let you know that at the request of our Chinese partners in this project we are unable to provide public access to the Beijing Air Quality forecasts during the Olympic Games period.” Christine McHugh, a researcher with the company, was quoted as saying its partner, the Ministry of Science and Technology, had given no reason for the order to close the website.
17. (U) Georgian Athletes Will Remain: Despite rumors that Georgian Olympic athletes were going to withdraw from the Games to protest Russia’s military actions in Georgia, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has announced that they will remain in Beijing until the completion of the Olympics. According to Tbilisi’s Kavkas Press, the Georgian athletes reversed their decision on departure only after President Saakashvili asked them to stay to show their strength on the Olympic stage. RANDT