Xinjiang set to beef up police forces

15:11, February 04, 2010      

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URUMQI: The government has approved a plan to recruit 5,000 special police officers in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to help prevent unrests such as the devastating riot on July 5 last year.

The new recruits will be civil servants under the Xinjiang regional public security bureau and their area of operations will cover the entire region.

It will be the largest recruitment campaign of its kind in Xinjiang and all new recruits, after a month of intensive training, will 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," Zhu said.

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, have been enlisted after a strict screening procedure that includes written exams, interviews and physical fitness tests.

Training of the first 2,360 recruits started on 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 for emergencies".

In a letter posted on the ministry's website yesterday, Minister of Public Security 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," Meng said.

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

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

Xinjiang regional government chairman 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 to destroy their organizational systems.

Source:China Daily/Xinhua
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