Artists and writers have been put on notice as authorities extend a crackdown in Xinjiang to include all those deemed to be advocating separatism by means of art. Ideological control units have reportedly stepped up vigilance against what is seen as infiltration by hostile foreign forces and separatists through artworks and performances. The measures also target subversion via the Internet and illegal broadcasts. Plans were under way to seize publications, artworks, videos, cassettes and computer disks believed to have been used to spread separatist ideas. Uygur artists and writers sympathetic to the pro-independence movement are expected to be implicated in the widened purge against separatism in Xinjiang. The order came after a jobless man recited an alleged anti-government poem at the end of a concert at Xinjiang People's Hall on January 1, the China News Service said. Chairman of the Xinjiang provincial government Abulahat Abdurixit has called for an investigation, vowing to purge all who 'openly advocate separatism using the name of art'. 'It is very important to step up our fight against separatist forces in the ideological arena. Only by doing so can we erect a solid war against splittists,' Mr Abdurixit said in a circular issued to key government and party units. 'The poem that was written and recited by Ixinjiang Aimaiti, a jobless man, at the end of the concert has caused an adverse impact on society,' the circular said. It added that the poem had used metaphor to advocate the region's split from Beijing rule. 'Local cadres should learn a lesson from the January 1 incident. Cadres should sharpen their political sensitivity in a bid to be able to identify those who use the art and literary arena to sell their anti-people and anti-government ideas,' the circular said. 'It is also critical to stop these works from confusing, poisoning and fanning the emotions of the public.' Mr Abdurixit urged cadres to use 'politics' as the only standard in judging artistic and literary work. Beijing is stepping up its crackdown on separatists in Xinjiang on the back of the global war against terrorism following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. More suspected separatists are believed to have been arrested recently, some of them under the nationwide Strike Hard campaign against crime. International human rights groups have urged China not to use anti-terrorism to suppress a struggle for rights by Muslim Uygurs. The purge on dissident artists and intellectuals in Xinjiang comes just a week after local authorities stepped up control of Muslim religious and folk customs. China blames Uygur separatists for a string of violent attacks over the past decade in their pursuit of an independent state of East Turkestan.