August 9, 2008

American Tourist murdered in Beijing China

While China is bursting with pride at the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing, one American tourist is dead while his wife and tour guide are in hospital today.

The attack happened yesterday afternoon at approx. 12:20 PM at Drum Tower, a popular tourist attraction in north Beijing. A 47-year-old attacker, Tang Yongming, killed the American man and injured both the American woman and the female tour guide. Tang then killed himself by jumping from the second storey of the Drum Tower.

The two women were rushed to hospital and Chinese police are still investigating the murder. Chinese citizens are not allowed to own guns, and Chinese police have not said whether the attacker used a knife or other weapon.

A Canadian fashion model was murdered last month in Shanghai, but police said that was because she stumbled onto a burglary.

Last March a screaming, bomb-strapped hostage-taker commandeered a bus with 10 Australians aboard in the popular tourist city of Xi'an and was later shot to death by a Chinese police sniper.

Statistically China has a very low murder rate. Shanghai and Beijing are still safer than most foreign cities of the same size.

Built in the 13th century, the Drum Tower is one of the few ancient architectural structures still in Beijing, and was used to tell time in imperial China for the city, using drummers who pounded their instruments to mark the hours. It is situated on the important central axis of the city, to the north of the Forbidden City.

The opening of the Olympic games included many Chinese symbols representing friendship, harmony and peace. But will the Olympics be a peaceful event, or will China's human rights record and political dissidents catch up with it?

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