Xinjiang official vows to keep fighting terrorism

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19:19, January 08, 2009

People in China's Xinjiang Ugyur autonomous region should take the fight against terrorism, separatism and religious extremism resolutely because it is going to be a long-term battle, a top regional official said on Jan 7.

"Maintaining social stability has always been the fundamental task in Xinjiang," regional chairman Nur Bekri said while delivering a government work report at the second full session of the regional people's congress that opened yesterday.

"We should be full aware that fighting the three forces (of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism) is an acute, complicated and long-lasting task," he told about 500 deputies from across the region.

The 500 members of the Xinjiang committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), too, were invited to the presentation.

Threats must be "nipped in the bud and violent terrorist activities preempted", Bekri said. The government will intensify the fight against the "three forces" in some high-risk areas to deal a heavy blow to extremists and separatists.

Bekri urged the local people to take a clear-cut stand against ethnic separatism and illegal activities being carried out under the cover of religion.

He also urged officials to pay more attention to people's problems to ensure social stability. "Local governments should spare no effort to solve people's problems, especially those arising out of unfair justice, land acquisition, house relocation, restructuring of enterprises and social security issues," he said.

Being at the frontline in the fight against the "three forces", Xinjiang has been continuously facing threats, which aggravated during the Beijing Olympic Games.

The most deadly attack in the region took place in Kashgar on August 4, just four days before the opening of the Games. Two men attacked a group of border patrol officers, killing 16 of them. Local authorities said both the attackers were ethnic Uygurs, who were driven by religious extremism to "launch a jihad".

But such attacks have been isolated, Arken Yunus, deputy director of Kashgar police bureau, said on the sidelines of the congress. "Despite Kashgar being a very safe place, it's necessary to be alert against such terrorist threats."

The government has been monitoring the sensitive areas in Xinjiang closely, Bekri said, because frequent illegal religious activities have been reported from there.

Source: China Daily