Xinjiang official decries extremism

Updated: 2013-05-29 02:08

By CUI JIA in Urumqi (China Daily)

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Deputy chairman blames 'overseas forces' for terror attacks in region

Several recent terror attacks in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region were carried out by people who had been "brainwashed", the region's deputy chairman said on Tuesday.

"We've seen people who are brainwashed by religious extremism carrying out attacks. We must prevent the spreading and promotion of extreme thought in the name of religion," Shi Dagang said at a news conference in Beijing.

Shi made the remarks in the wake of a clash between alleged terrorists and authorities in Xinjiang's Bachu county in Kashgar prefecture on April 23. Fifteen community workers and police officers and six alleged terrorists were killed.

Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, stressed the containment of the growth of religious extremist elements and maintaining vigilance in the fight against terrorist activities during a tour to the region.

The tour took Yu to Hotan, Kashgar, Yili and the regional capital, Urumqi, from May 23 to 28. He has visited villages, companies, schools, police stations, a border port and a mosque. Yu called for greater efforts to improve people's living conditions and promote ethnic solidarity and social harmony.

Shi hopes that the occasional incidents won't mislead people about the overall situation of the region.

"The negative news reported in the media gives people the impression that Xinjiang is not safe. I want to clarify that the region is stable," he said.

He also said the government has implemented measures to curb the violence.

"We will crack down on all terror activities in accordance with the law. We will not tolerate any activity that hurts innocent people and causes destruction," he added.

He said overseas forces are behind many terror attacks in Xinjiang. "They are unwilling to see a prosperous, united and stable Xinjiang and use every possible method to sabotage social stability," he said.

Shi, who used to be the Party chief of Kashgar, said he is often thrilled by local residents' enthusiasm and hospitality. He hopes more people won't hesitate to visit and experience that.

The number of tourists to Xinjiang has grown an average of 10 to 20 percent annually in the past decade, with more than 48 million tourists visiting the region in 2012.

Development in Xinjiang is at an all-time high, as the region's GDP has risen from 427.7 billion yuan ($69.83 billion) in 2009 to 750 billion yuan in 2012. To facilitate the region's economic and social development and long-term stability, Yu urged local authorities to fully implement policies that central authorities have prescribed for Xinjiang.

Xinhua contributed to the stroy.