Beijing's crackdown on East Turkestan separatists in the Xinjiang autonomous region has made an important contribution to the global fight against terrorism, a senior military officer said yesterday. General Xiong Guangkai , deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, told a three-day international conference in Beijing that East Turkestan terrorists were a threat not only to China's security but also to peace and development elsewhere. General Xiong said China had been stepping up its campaign against Islamic terrorist forces, but was doing so in accordance with UN laws and regulations. The Eastern Turkestan Information Centre, a clearing house for information on the Xinjiang separatist movement, has condemned the crackdown, saying Beijing used the excuse of fighting terrorism to repress legitimate religious activity and detain political dissidents. Last year, four East Turkestan separatist groups were identified by Beijing as terrorist groups. A list of 11 most-wanted terrorists was compiled, and most of them are now either dead or in jail. The Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement, one of the four groups banned in China, was included in the United States government's list of terrorist groups at the end of last month. US co-operation with China on terrorism has drawn sharp criticism from human rights activists, who say Washington is turning a blind eye to Beijing's repression in Xinjiang autonomous region in return for Chinese support in the war on terror. General Xiong stressed the significance of co-operation at regional and international level in the campaign. 'As a responsible member of the international community, China has actively participated in the international anti-terrorism campaign and done a lot of work effectively.'