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September 22, 2009

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Terrorism saps Xinjiang's progress

VIOLENCE instigated by separatists have hit economic development hard in the northwest China's Xinjiang region, a government policy paper said yesterday.

"The 'East Turkistan' forces have seriously interrupted the economic development of Xinjiang," the white paper said. "They have seriously undermined the environment for investment, as evidenced by the drastic reduction in investment from other parts of the country."

While the government has poured in billions of yuan over the past few decades for roads, railways, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in Xinjiang, the white paper said that spending on security diverted "precious resources."

"Lots of human, material and financial resources have gone toward combating terror and violence," the white paper said.

The paper, titled "Development and Progress in Xinjiang," said the "East Turkistan" forces inside and outside Xinjiang have been "trumpeting national separatism" and organized a series of incidents of terror, seriously jeopardizing national unification, social stability and ethnic unity.

The term "East Turkistan" first appeared in the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, a small number of separatists and religious extremists in Xinjiang further politicized the term and fabricated an "ideological and theoretical system" for the "independence of East Turkistan," the paper said.

Separatists "of different shades in Xinjiang" raised the banner of "East Turkistan," formed forces and tried to establish a so-called "East Turkistan" separatist regime, the paper said.

From the early 1930s to the mid-1940s, with the instigation and support of hostile foreign forces, the "East Turkistan" forces shouted slogans advocating "killing the Han and annihilating the Hui" and "opposing and expelling the Han," creating many disturbances and even wantonly slaughtering innocent people in their attempt "to split the motherland and set up an illegal regime," the paper said.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, Xinjiang has entered a new stage, enjoying ethnic unity and social stability. However, the "East Turkistan" forces have persisted, carrying out clandestine actions, the paper said.

Supported by hostile foreign elements, the "East Turkistan" forces both inside and outside China created riots and launched armed insurrection in their attempt to split the country, the paper said.

In 2002, the United Nations Security Council added the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement to its sanction list of terrorist groups.

In 2004, the "East Turkistan" forces patched together the World Uyghur Congress outside China. Since then, they have plotted and organized a number of separatist and sabotage actions, the paper said.

Since 2008, the "East Turkistan" forces have started a new round of sabotage and created a number of incidents of terror and violence aimed at the Beijing Olympics, according to the white paper.

The July 5 riots, which erupted in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi, were started by terrorist, separatist and extremist forces both inside and outside China, it said.

The Urumqi riots produced a serious adverse impact on Xinjiang's tourism, causing a sudden drop in the number of tourists and tourism revenue, the paper said.


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