Xinjiang beefs up special police unit to enhance public safety

16:02, February 03, 2010      

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China's government has approved a plan to recruit 5,000 special police officers in the western Xinjiang region to help prevent unrest such as the devastating riot of July 5 last year.

The new recruits would be civil servants under the leadership of the Xinjiang Regional Public Security Bureau, with their area of operations covering the whole region.

It would be the largest recruitment campaign of its kind in Xinjiang and all new recruits, after a month of intensive training, would serve alongside special police officers seconded from other provinces, said Zhu Changjie, director of the regional public security bureau.

"We expect them to be on patrol independently at the end of March," said Zhu.

In China, special police units are responsible for combating terrorism, maintaining public security, and dealing with violent crime and emergencies.

More than 3,600 people, mainly decommissioned soldiers and college graduates, had been enlisted so far after a strict screening procedure, including written exams, interviews and physical fitness tests.

Training of the first 2,360 recruits started Tuesday in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Cai Anji, director of the Political Department of the Ministry of Public Security, urged training departments to develop "a professional force to fight terrorism, a force to strike against violent crimes and a quick-response force in emergencies."

The recruitment plan was jointly laid out by the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Ministries of Public Security, Human Resources and Social Security and the State Administration of Civil Service.

In a letter posted on the website of the Ministry of Public Security on Wednesday, Minister Meng Jianzhu expressed his appreciation to police officers who had resolutely fought to maintain public security since the July 5 riot, in which 197 people died and more than 1,700 were injured.

"The overall situation in Xinjiang is stable and improving, with production and people's lives back to normal," said the letter.

"We must be alert to the complex task of maintaining prolonged public stability in Xinjiang as hostile forces will not resign themselves to failures and may deliberately seek all possible chances to stage new destructive activities," it said.

Meng warned the region's police to be fully aware that the fight would be long-term, arduous and complex.

Governor of Xinjiang Nur Bekri assured people at the region's annual legislative meeting in January that the government would continue to crack down on the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism to ensure the safety of local people.

The major tasks of local security forces were to crack down on violent terrorists who plotted attacks, and cut contacts between domestic and overseas hostile forces and then destroy their organizational systems.

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