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Official vows crackdown on Xinjiang's religious extremists

(Xinhua)

13:27, August 08, 2011

The top official of far western China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has ordered a harsh crackdown on religious extremists in the latest clampdown on outbursts of violence.

Zhang Chunxian, secretary of Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the pledge at a regional government meeting in the wake of a trio of deadly attacks in the region.

Zhang ordered cadres and officials to rely on the public to unswervingly curb illegal religious activities and crack down on the use of the religion to incite violence or organize terrorist attacks, local media reported Monday.

He said the managing of religious affairs should follow the central government's policy to "protect the legitimate, ban the illegal, fight infiltration, and crack down on crimes."

Xinjiang -- with 41.5 percent of its 21 million population Uygurs, a largely Muslim Chinese ethnic group -- is at China's frontline against separatism, extremism and terrorism.

Two bloody attacks occurred in the city of Kashgar on the last weekend of July, leaving at least 14 civilians killed and 42 others injured. Police shot dead eight attackers in clashes. The Kashgar violence followed a terrorist attack targeting a police station in the city of Hotan that left 18 people, including 14 attackers, killed.

Zhang said the focus of work at present is to stem out the series attacks and unswervingly curb mass incidents triggered by the violence.

Local media reports quoted Zhang as saying that the government meeting was held to re-arrange work on maintaining stability in Xinjiang in line with the latest instructions of President Hu jintao and other top leaders.

Zhang said the central leadership paid great attention to the stability in Xinjiang and President Hu had made "important instructions" on how to deal with the current complicated security situation in Xinjiang.

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