Rising religious extremism 'an international phenomenon'
The number of terrorist attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has been kept to a minimum by the imposition of a range of counterterrorism measures, the region's Party chief said on Thursday.
"Terrorist attacks are not caused by the policy of striking hard, but result from the international environment and Xinjiang's special situation," said Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of Xinjiang, during a group discussion among the region's delegation at the 12th National People's Congress.
"It is an international political phenomenon. In a world in which religious extremism is starting to revive, such attacks are bound to happen," he said.
"We will show no mercy to terrorists, and the region will resolutely crack down on them — otherwise, they will become arrogant," Zhang said during the discussion, which was open to the media.
He added that as China's globalization progresses, about 90 percent of the terrorists who carried out recent attacks made use of information from online sources banned in China.
Although terrorist attacks have begun to occur in some unexpected areas, such attacks can still be prevented, Zhang added.
"They always attack and fail and then strike again, but they will be eliminated in the end," Nur Bekri, chairman of the region, said during the discussion.
Zhang said the crackdown policy only applies to terrorists and doesn't target the majority of the public or a certain group of people. One of the most important goals is to improve people's livelihoods and win their hearts, he said, adding that the ethnic tension created after the July 5, 2009, riot in the regional capital, Urumqi, which left 197 dead, has been eased.
A series of terrorist attacks occurred in Xinjiang in 2013, and two incidents have already happened so far this year.
Authorities said separatists from Xinjiang are behind the most recent terrorist attack in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, on March 1.
Twenty-nine people were killed and more than 140 others injured in the attack at a railway station. Local police shot dead four assailants and arrested one at the scene. The remaining three suspects of the eight-member terrorist group were arrested on Monday afternoon.
Xinjiang authorities said the spread of religious extremism has led to a recent increase in attacks.
Mutalif Wubuli, commissioner of Kashgar prefecture and an NPC deputy, said: "We've seen more terrorist cells consisting of family members, including women, because trying to recruit unrelated people into such cells has become more and more difficult and it's easier to brainwash relatives with extreme religion."