Chinese parliamentary sessions 2014

Xinjiang to work with National Security Commission to curb violence, Zhang Chunxian says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 3:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 4:10am

Xinjiang party chief Zhang Chunxian says the restive autonomous region will work closely with the newly formed National Security Commission.

Zhang said the commission, headed by President Xi Jinping, would play a leading role in maintaining security in the far-western region, where violence has recently flared amid ethnic tensions. Nearly half Xinjiang's population are Turkic Uygurs.

"We will properly conduct our work in Xinjiang under the leadership of the National Security Commission," Zhang said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress yesterday.

The commission also includes Premier Li Keqiang and the chairman of the legislature, Zhang Dejiang. The names of other members have not been disclosed.

There was speculation earlier that the Xinjiang party chief would be a member. Zhang offered only a cryptic reply when asked whether he could say more about the body and Xinjiang's representation on it. "I can tell you more information about the National Security Commission," he said, but did not elaborate.

They make chaos time after time, but they also fail time after time. We are confident
Nur Bekri, Xinjiang chairman

Officials say Uygur separatists from Xinjiang carried out a knife attack last Saturday at the railway station in Kunming , capital of Yunnan province in the southwest, in which 29 people were killed and 143 wounded. Authorities also blamed Uygur separatists for a suicide car attack in Tiananmen Square in October.

Zhang said about 90 per cent of Xinjiang's suspected terrorists bypassed the country's internet controls - often called the Great Firewall - to exchange extremist views. He said efforts were needed to stop the spread of such information. The remark appeared to a be reference to virtual private network, or VPN, technology, which many mainlanders rely on to access blocked overseas websites.

Zhang dismissed concerns a recent crackdown on Uygur separatism had fuelled anger among members of the minority group.

Nur Bekri, the head of the regional government, said external forces with ulterior motives were creating instability in Xinjiang.

"We will resolutely crack down [on separatism]," he said. "They make chaos time after time, but they also fail time after time. We are confident in our work."