China security minister wants Xinjiang terror crackdown to reach 'every house and village'

Public security minister says wide-ranging investigations needed to ensure stability

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 2:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 3:45am

Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said the crackdown on terrorism "should reach every single village and household" as he paid a visit to Xinjiang, the scene of a series of violent attacks the authorities have blamed on militant Muslim separatists.

Guo toured the far western region at the weekend and told the authorities that the fight against terror had to reach into all areas so that long-term stability could be maintained, state media reported.

Guo also told officials they needed to significantly strengthen their intelligence gathering to prevent attacks.

The minister visited Shache county near Kashgar where nearly 100 people were killed in a series of attacks on July 28.

Knife-wielding militants stormed a police station and government offices, Xinhua reported.

Thirty-seven civilians and 59 suspects were killed.

Guo also visited Xinjiang in April and May in the wake of other attacks.

Beijing announced a year-long crackdown on terrorism in May following a deadly bombing attack in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Hundreds of suspects have been arrested and jailed. The authorities announced last month that 13 people had been executed for taking part in terrorist attacks.

Rights groups say restrictions on Muslim ethnic-Uygurs' religious and cultural freedoms have stoked tensions in the region, allegations the government strongly denies.

Beijing last month enforced a ban on students and government employees from fasting during Ramadan.

Government officials have also tried to encourage women in Xinjiang not to wear Islamic veils.

The authorities in Karamay this week banned people wearing Islamic clothing from taking local buses, a move that was strongly condemned by an overseas Uygur exile group.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse