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Xinjiang prepares for tougher counterpunch against terrorism

2015-01-10 09:17 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Xinjiang has punished 17 officials for dereliction of duty surrounding September's terrorist attacks.

The officials who were deemed negligent and disciplined include Liu Fulin, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Luntai County, his deputy, and other county and township officials, according to the region's official website on Friday.

Most were given serious warnings, and the CPC chief and government head of Terakbazar township were dismissed.

Forty rioters died in a series of planned bomb attacks in Luntai County on Sept. 21, 2014. Six civilians were killed and dozens injured in the terror attacks.

The punishment, unusual in the far west, echoes the words of Zhang Chunxian, Xinjiang Party chief, on Wednesday demanding a tougher counterpunch against terrorism.

Zhang, also member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made a "new year resolution" on the region's security work at a meeting on Wednesday, saying Xinjiang will push forward the "People's anti-terrorism war", digging out the root of terrorism and sparing no effort to "educate and reform" terrorists to win the war.

Zhang warned that the region's fight against terrorism has entered a new phase that is "more complicated and more intensive," though the security situation in general is under control.

"It's a historic battle ... We must be proactive to brandish the sword and advance against terrorists in a full-on approach," he said.

Eliminating extremism is the most pressing work of the government right now, which should work hard to win people's hearts and strengthen public education on laws, he said.

Xinjiang has busted a series of terror-related gangs, arrested a group of terror suspects, and confiscated illegal publications related to terrorism and separatism since the central government decided on May 23 to carry out a one-year crackdown on terrorism in Xinjiang.

Meanwhile, more and more people of different ethnic groups have joined in the fight on terrorism.

Police in the region have offered rewards for citizens who turn over guns and explosives or provide tips.

Zhang asked officials, especially those working in villages and towns, to promote communications and unity between different ethnic groups.

Worozoale, head of Akto County government in the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture, said the guidelines were more specific and targeted on security.

"It's easier for us to do our job," he said. "On eliminating extremism for instance, we have often missed those who are in real need of education. This time, we will vet candidates first," said the official.

Worozoale believes the real challenge is the quality of government workers. "Some government staff, especially in villages and towns, are lack of religious knowledge. They also need to improve their understanding of policy to tell friend from foe, and traditional acts from extremist acts," he said.

"Our colleagues should be trained about the policies and religion," he said.

Wang Ping of Xinjiang Normal University, warned that the government should follow "the mass line", which highlights the interests and power of the general public.

"The government should never carry out policies that risk losing the deep base in the masses," he said.

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