Xinjiang cadres try to quell unrest ahead of July 5 anniversary

Senior officials arrive in 50 townships to quell unrest ahead of anniversary of July 5 violence; police detain people who 'spread rumours'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 5:35am

Xinjiang authorities have sent senior officials to 50 townships where ethnic tensions are believed to be high, as part of ongoing efforts to quell unrest in the region ahead of the fourth anniversary of the July 5 riots.

Security in the restive region's capital Urumqi has also been tightened, with several teams of paramilitary police visible in People's Square in the centre of the city yesterday.

The officers, dressed in riot gear and armed with machine-guns, were deployed alongside trucks from the army and civilian special police.

Local residents, organised by the authorities, checked the bags of "suspicious" people at bus stops.

Xinjiang's official news portal Tianshannet reported that all 50 of the officials had arrived at their destinations on Tuesday to "take resolute measures to stop the trend of frequent, violent terrorist attacks and to ensure the stability of Xinjiang society for the time being".

Some 35 people were killed in violent clashes in Xinjiang last week.

At a meeting with the selected officials on Monday Xinjiang's deputy party chief Han Yong asked them to highlight laws and government policies related to ethnic unity, "be proactive in quashing rumours" and ensure their message reaches every household.

"Find problems and weak points and spare no efforts in safeguarding stability," he told the officials.

Xinjiang police also issued a "most wanted" list on Tuesday for 11 suspects involved in eight cases of murder or bombings dating from June 2011, offering rewards of up to 100,000 yuan (HK$125,000) for information.

The police said government organisations and law enforcement agencies had been the major targets of bombings.

At least 32 people have been arrested or detained for creating or circulating "rumours" online since last week, said Xinjiang police's microblog at and the Legal Daily website. Those detained were internet users from cities across the autonomous region including Urumqi, Karamay and Ili .

In Changji prefecture, seven people have been detained for circulating "false" information online and via text services.

The head of Uchturpan county's tourism bureau was sacked for being absent from duty, the People's Daily website reported.

The official had lied to colleagues on Friday of last week about helping his wife with admission procedures in a hospital in Aksu, it reported. The official instead went to meet friends alongside a river bank.

County leaders argued he had failed to carry out his task of maintaining stability and had "exerted a very bad influence".