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China Daily Website

96% Xinjiang terrorist attacks foiled: official

Updated: 2013-05-17 19:14
( Xinhua)

URUMQI - Chinese police authorities estimate they foiled more than 96 percent of planned separatist and terrorist activities in the far western Xinjiang region in the past three years, the region's top official has said.

Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), revealed the information in an article written for the latest issue of the CPC's flagship magazine, Qiushi (Seeking Truth), published on Thursday.

The article attracted much attention as it is the first time Xinjiang authorities have detailed their anti-terrorist efforts and the effectiveness of their work in this regard.

Currently, Xinjiang has a firmer social basis to maintain stability and the overall situation in the region is becoming better, Zhang wrote.

The stability maintenance work is becoming routine and scientific and is done under the rule of law, and the capability to discover, prevent and crack down on separatist and terrorist activities has improved, according to the official.

The Qiushi article follows a clash between terrorists and authorities in Kashgar's Bachu County, some 1,200 km southwest of Urumqi, in which 15 community workers and police officers and six terrorists were killed on April 23.

Eight terrorist suspects were captured at the scene and 11 more who fled were detained days after the attack. Police also seized a batch of homemade explosives, controlled knives, flags supporting jihad and illegal religious publicity materials.

"This terrorist group was already preparing to 'do something big' in Kashgar in the summer," said Dai Guanghui, head of Kashgar's public security bureau.

"If the community workers and police officers did not discover the group, it could have become more prepared to conduct a bigger terrorist attack and the consequences could have been more severe, " Dai said.

The "three evil forces" of separatism, extremism and terrorism have long been using mobile phones and the Internet to incite terrorist attacks in China, said a Xinjiang anti-terrorist official who did not wish to be named.

He added that some terrorist group members have even sought to cross the border to join groups seeking jihad overseas.

"The fight against the three evil forces has a direct bearing on China's stability and development," said Vice Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei on April 29.

It's the Chinese government's established policy to crack down on terrorist attacks, and no responsible country could allow terrorist activities, Meng said.

China has conducted counter-terrorism cooperation and exchanges and launched more than 10 such training sessions and drills with neighboring countries under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Ye Hailin, an anti-terrorist expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that although the overall situation in Xinjiang is stable, the region still faces severe challenges in fighting terrorism.

China could strengthen cooperation with countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan to crack down on overseas terrorist groups, while on the domestic front, the authorities should improve in the fields of religion, the economy and people's livelihoods to curb terrorist activities, Ye said.

In 2010, China launched a 10-year program to develop its western areas, and major eastern and central cities have stepped up providing aid to Xinjiang to help it develop economically.

Amid other anti-terrorist efforts, authorities in Xinjiang have recruited more than 8,000 police officers since 2012 to patrol villages and urban communities. In cities cited as more likely to be hit by terrorist attacks, paramilitary forces and militia have even joined routine patrols.