'We've been exhausted for days and nights': Police recruits experience tougher training under anti-terror drive

Officers and cadets are carrying out intensive weapons drills and more patrols, says trainee

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 2:31am

Police officers and cadets in Xinjiang are feeling the strain amid more patrols and intensive weapons drills to combat a spate of violent attacks, according to a student training at a police college in the region.

"I and all my classmates are exhausted after days and nights of training," the cadet, from the Xinjiang Police College in Urumqi , told the South China Morning Post.

The increased training has put all cadets and frontline officers under pressure, he said. The student officer, who asked not to be named, said many of his senior classmates who were now patrolling the streets of Urumqi had complained that they "had not seen families and friends for a long while".

"All students have had to pass stricter requirements this year. I haven't slept well for many nights," he said.

The Ministry of Public Security posted several photographs on social media on May 25 showing anti-terrorism officers in Urumqi squatting in an alley while eating packed meals and taking turns to nap on the ground. The government has blamed a series of bomb and knife attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country on Muslim ethnic-Uygur separatists from the region.

Thirty-nine people died at an open-air market in Urumqi last month when attackers drove into crowds and threw explosives. Four assailants were also killed.

A bomb and knife attack at the end of April at the main railway station in Urumqi killed one bystander and wounded 79 people.

State media reported last month that the authorities in Xinjiang had launched a "one-year campaign against terrorist violence".

The Ministry of Public Security announced in April that all police officers around the county were to get three months of intensive weapons training to help respond to emergencies. Most police officers on the mainland do not carry firearms.

Police cadets must do at least 36 hours of weapon training every term, according to Yin Wei , the deputy director of combat training at the Chinese People's Public Security University, the Beijing Times reported.

Turgunjan Tursun, an associate researcher at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said it was essential for Xinjiang's frontline police to receive stricter training and have heightened vigilance compared with other mainland forces.

"Xinjiang's situation is more complicated than other inland cities and counties, but almost all our village police officers so far have no guns because none of them have been trained," Tursun said.

"I'm happy to see that the authorities are stepping up intensive weapon training for our police. I believe it will help to curb terrorist attacks."