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February 4, 2010

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Huge security recruiting drive

CHINA'S government has approved a plan to recruit 5,000 special police officers in the western Xinjiang region to help prevent unrest such as the devastating riot of July 5 last year.

The new recruits will be civil servants under the leadership of the Xinjiang Regional Public Security Department, with their area of operations covering the whole region.

It would 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 from other provinces, said Zhu Changjie, director of the regional public security department. "We expect them to be on patrol independently at the end of March."

In China, special police units fight terrorism, maintain public security, and deal with violent crime and emergencies.

More than 3,600 people, mainly decommissioned soldiers and college graduates, have been enlisted so far after a strict screening procedure, including written exams, interviews and physical fitness tests.

Training of the first 2,360 recruits started on Tuesday in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Cai Anji, political director of the Ministry of Public Security, urged trainers to develop "a professional force to fight terrorism, to strike against violent crimes and a quick-response force in emergencies."

The recruitment plan was jointly laid out by the Commission of Political and Legislative Affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the ministries of Public Security and Human Resources and Social Security and the State Administration of Civil Service.

On the Website of the Ministry of Public Security yesterday, ministry head Meng Jianzhu expressed his appreciation to police officers who had fought to maintain public security since the July 5 riot, in which 197 people died and about 1,700 were injured.

"The overall situation in Xinjiang is stable and improving, with production and people's lives back to normal," he said on the Website.

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

Governor of Xinjiang Nur Bekri assured people 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.

Security forces were told to crack down on violent terrorists who plotted attacks, cut contacts between domestic and overseas hostile forces and then destroy their organizational systems.


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