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Several explosions rock Xinjiang, killing 2

Updated: 2014-09-23 07:58
By Gao Bo in Urumqi (China Daily)

At least three explosions in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region killed two people and injured an unknown number on Sunday, the region's information office said on Monday.

The explosions struck several places, including a shop, in Luntai county in the region's Beyinguoleng Mongolian autonomous prefecture at about 5 pm.

The injured were taken to local hospitals, but information on their condition was not available. The information office's briefing did not provide the number of injured or details of the explosions.

The bombings happened only a few days ahead of a monthlong tourism festival that is set to begin in the county on Sept 30.

The theme of the festival focuses on scenery featuring poplar trees with leaves of different colors that turn the county, located at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, into a picturesque tourism destination in the peak of fall.

It was unclear whether the event would be postponed. China Daily's call to the office went unanswered on Monday.

Recent terrorist attacks have taken a severe toll on Xinjiang, which has long been one of China's must-see areas, with mountain scenery in the north and exotic culture and lifestyles in the south.

Ma Rui, an official at the Xinjiang tourism administration, said that the number of Xinjiang-bound tourists dropped in the first half of this year due to the terrorist attacks.

The region had about 20 million domestic visitors and 620,000 overseas tourists by the end of June, the administration's data showed. This represented year-on-year decreases of 6.9 percent for domestic tourists and 0.82 percent for visitors from abroad.

It is the first time in the past 20 years that the region's half-year tourist numbers declined, Ma said.

The latest in a series of terrorist attacks struck Kashgar's Shache county on July 28, killing 37 and injuring 13. Fifty-nine terrorists were shot dead at the scene and 215 were arrested.

Seventeen officials in Kashgar prefecture who were found to have failed in their administrative duties by not preventing the terrorist attack in Shache and the murder of Imam Juma Tayier have been removed from their posts or otherwise punished, according to Xinjiang's Party committee.

An attack on a local morning bazaar in Urumqi claimed 39 lives and injured 94 on May 22.

To eradicate terrorism, China launched a yearlong crackdown two days after the Urumqi attack, making Xinjiang the major focus of the campaign.

The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security published a guideline on Sunday to address "the diversity of terrorist crimes in recent years, all of which were found to have connections with religious extremism". The guideline also explained how laws should be applied for terrorism-related crimes and religious extremism, and required law enforcement to respect religious practices and treat ethnic groups equally.

"The guideline suits Xinjiang's grave anti-terrorism situation very well because it goes down to the last detail," said Ma Pinyan, a senior anti-terrorism researcher at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences. "It could help stop the acts that could later develop into terrorist activities."


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