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181 terror groups busted in Xinjiang

A total of 181 terror groups were dismantled after a sweeping campaign by police in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was launched a year ago.

According to data revealed by the publicity office under the regional committee of the Communist Party of China, 96.2 percent of the terror groups were thwarted at the planning stage and 112 suspects turned themselves in to the police.

The campaign was launched a day after the May 22 bombing of a market in the regional capital of Urumqi that killed 39 people in 2014.

In addition to terror activities, the police have also clamped down on religious extremism and video and audio clips propagating terrorism, as well as intensified crackdowns on illegal border crossings.

According to official figures, only 8.7 percent of verdicts on the terror cases given by the region's courts over the past year were appealed by defendants, significantly lower than the proportion among ordinary criminal cases in the region.

Residents from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have constituted an important force in fighting terrorism, as the police have solved 81 terror cases based on tipoffs during the campaign.

In early August last year, more than 30,000 volunteers helped local police chase suspects in Karakax County. Local authorities later promised to offer more than 300 million yuan (about US$48 million) in cash rewards to those who helped hunt suspected terrorists.

In another typical case in Kashgar, where police officers swiftly solved a terror case in January this year, relatives of a terrorist suspect reported clues to the police and local residents volunteered to help track the suspect by setting up checking points and conducting household surveys.

Auxiliary police officer Eli Ismail died fighting a terrorist attack in Baicheng County in February. His grieving father, however, gave full support to a different son's dream to be a policeman.

"If he dies too, I'll fight myself!" said the father.

To weaken the clout of religious extremism, local authorities have vigorously promoted modern living in the region. For example, they have encouraged Uygur women to abandon the burqa, an Islamic garment that covers women's faces, and instead wear their colorful traditional dress.

The regional legislature has approved a regulation banning the wearing of the burqa in public places in Urumqi.


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