Military hold anti-terrorism drill after Urumqi train station attack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 2014, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 5:51am

The military has carried out an anti-terrorism drill in the wake of the attack on Urumqi railway station in Xinjiang last week that left three people dead.

Troops simulated an assault on a terrorist camp and used drones and missiles during the exercise, the PLA Daily reported.

The drill involved several branches of the armed forces and was carried out at the base of the Tian Shan mountain range on the border with Kyrgyzstan, the report said. No details were given on how many troops took part or when it happened.

Watch: China stages anti-terrorism drill in Xinjiang after Urumqi railway station attack

Xinjiang authorities said two people carried out a suicide attack on Wednesday evening in Urumqi. One bystander was killed and 79 people were injured. The attack coincided with the end of a four-day visit to Xinjiang by President Xi Jinping .

This is not the first time the military has responded to violence in Xinjiang with a show of force. Authorities staged a large military exercise in Urumqi last June after a series of clashes in the region killed at least 35 people.

Beijing has blamed the violence in Xinjiang on separatists.

The government has said the militants were also behind the knife attacks at a Kunming railway station in Yunnan in March that left 29 people and four assailants dead.

Exiled Uygur groups and human rights organisations say tensions have been inflamed in Xinjiang by government curbs on the ethnic group's language, culture and religion, allegations Beijing denies.

Xi has pledged to crack down on terrorism, but during his trip to Xinjiang he urged people to learn both Putonghua and Uygur to foster greater unity.

In a meeting to discuss how to better implement initiatives outline during Xi's visit, Xinjiang party boss Zhang Chunxian vowed to step up anti-terrorism and make counterterrorism work a fundamental and routine part of Xinjiang society.

Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the World Uygur Congress, said the government was using propaganda to create tension and anxiety in the region in order to justify repression and surveillance of Uygurs. "Condoning the discrimination against Uygur culture and traditions is one of the leading reasons behind the deterioration of the situation in Xinjiang," he said.