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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 12:19pm
Xi Jinping
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President Xi Jinping delivers tough message to ‘frontline of terror’ on visit to Xinjiang

President demands tough action against unrest in Xinjiang, but also urges steps towards Uygur integration and promotion of economic growth

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 April, 2014, 12:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 7:15am

Xi Jinping has made his first presidential visit to what he called the "front line against terrorism" in the restive region of Xinjiang.

Xi's tour of Kashgar came ahead of a work conference in June that will decide policies for the troubled region.

Xinjiang has seen a series of attacks in recent years, blamed by the government on Muslim ethnic-Uygur separatists. The authorities also blame them for last month's knife attacks at Kunming railway station that left 29 dead and 140 injured.

The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in wartime
President Xi Jinping

Xi visited a military unit and an armed police squad on Sunday afternoon. He also toured a police station in Kashgar on Monday and watched an anti-terrorism drill.

"You must have the most effective means to deal with violent terrorists," Xi was quoted by Xinhua as saying. "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in wartime."

Cracking down on terrorism has been top of the agenda for Xi's administration and is among the priorities of the Communist Party's newly created National Security Commission.

At least 100 people have been killed in violence in Xinjiang over the past year, officials say.

Over the past two months, Xi has publicly discussed the battle against terrorism 15 times.

Two days before Xi toured Kashgar, he vowed in a Politburo meeting to "resolutely crack down on terrorism and separatism with high intensity to safeguard national security".

During his trip, Xi also visited a nearby village and asked about the daily lives of Uygurs.

Later, while visiting a school, Xi urged ethnic Han teachers to master the Uygur language and to help Uygur students become fluent in Putonghua.

"It's important to [have] bilingual education for minority children. [They] will be able to find jobs easier in the future by mastering the Chinese language, and more importantly they will contribute more to national unity," Xi said.

Part of his visit also touched on promoting economic growth.

At a meeting yesterday, Xi told officials to develop the manufacturing and services sectors and to launch projects to create jobs in the region. "We should help people to get jobs, make a living and have hope," Xi said.

Pan Zhiping , a senior researcher at the Xinjiang Social Science Academy, said Xi wanted to see the situation in Xinjiang for himself ahead of the government work conference in early June.

"Xi wants to tell local officials and people in the south of Xinjiang that he is a leader who doesn't just sit in a Beijing office and read reports written by local officials, but a leader who goes to get in touch with them," Pan said.

"During the trip, Xi sent a clear message to the outside world that he would deal with terrorists with an iron fist, but might be more flexible when dealing with religious and ethnic conflicts, as well as other social problems."

Southern areas of Xinjiang have higher populations of Turkic-speaking Uygurs.

Human rights organisations and Uygur exile groups claim Beijing's policies discriminate against the ethnic group's culture and religion, stoking unrest.

The area is often marred by violent unrest. In April last year a clash between Uygurs and police near Kashgar left 21 dead.

Related violence has also spread to other parts of the country, including Beijing.

Additional reporting by Minnie Chan

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This article is now closed to comments

Dao-Phooy
Fortunate to have travelled to Kashgar sometime ago. Even then the colonization by Han Chinese was oppressive. Uighurs being treated as 2nd class citizens in their own land. The plan to demolish the old city of Kashgar is symbolic of the totally mistaken policies of the Central Government. SCMP reporting is akin to propaganda as well as being so so sloppy and lazy.
ubifrancehk
And in the meantime, any plan to stop the demolition of the old city of Kashgar which has angered so many ?
scmpbeijing1
" in the wake of a “terrorist” knife attack in Uygur-populated Kunming, Yunnan province, " Really?! Since when has Kunming been Uighur? Either a geographical or demographic inexactitude.
Sugelanren
Another example of China's lack of respect for minority regions and their policy of Han colonisation in Xinjiang, Tibet and more recently Hong Kong.......how long before we hear that Hong Kong has become 'the frontline in terror' just because we don't agree with his policies?
535a72d6-3824-43ca-adc5-52a60a3209cb
The blood-thirsty CCP is the World's worst terrorist concerning human rights. The only relations that the rest of the World should be having with the cruel CCP is trying to bring to trial the thousands of Communist Party members who have been and are still committing millions of human rights atrocities.The brutal Chinese Communist Party has murdered over fifty million of its own people since 1949, since 1999 it has been attempting the blood-thirsty genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong who live in Mainland China. To this end, the heinous CCP is using torture,slavery, organ harvesting and murder. Because of corporate greed, these atrocities and millions of others have been kept from the Western people by the Western media. The weak United Nations even appointed the brutal CCP a seat on its Human Rights Council this year. Shameful. Thank you for your concern.
lamlm38
"Uighurs being treated as 2nd class citizens in their own land" this is the exact reason why the Uighurs are being suppressed!!
Xinjiang is part of China.. stop treating it like an occupied land and you will get the kind of treatment you deserve!!!
lib_hk

Guys learn some history - Han Chinese have "colonized" Xinjiang since the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties (2,000 years ago); our Uighur brothers and sisters have lived in Xinjiang for about 1,000 years. 2,000 and 1,000 years are practically eternity by any standards. Can we all get along? (SCMP may never get it.)
 
 
 
 
 

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