Shock-and-awe march against terror in Xinjiang

BEIJING • The government of the restive, far-western Xinjiang region marched thousands of armed officers through its southern city of Hotan in a shock-and-awe campaign against what it calls the rising threat of terrorism and ethnic separatism.

The large-scale parade in Hotan, a hot spot of ethnic tension in Xinjiang's southern Muslim Uighur heartland, involved thousands of armed police and paramilitary officers and was designed to "show strength and intimidate", said the official Xinjiang Daily yesterday.

Xinjiang deputy party secretary Zhu Hailun said: "Continued vigilance and high-pressure deterrence against terrorists have forced them to the end of the road, like a cornered beast driven to desperate action."

Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past two years, mostly because of violence between the Muslim Uighur people, who call the region home, and the ethnic majority Han Chinese.

There has been an uptick in violent acts in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, three knife-wielding attackers killed five people and injured another five in Pishan county, Hotan prefecture. In December, five people were killed when attackers drove a vehicle into a government building and, last month, police shot dead three terror suspects, according to the authorities.

The government has blamed much of the unrest on separatist Islamist militants, although rights groups and exiles say anger at tightening Chinese controls on the religion and culture of Muslim Uighurs is more to blame.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Shock-and-awe march against terror in Xinjiang'. Print Edition | Subscribe