Xinjiang has seen a marked decline in violent terror incidents over the last year, but challenges remain for authorities to maintain stability in the area, a top official from the troubled far western Chinese region said on Tuesday.
“Violent terrorist incidents have dropped significantly,” Zhang Chunxian, Xinjiang’s Communist Party chief, said at a briefing in Beijing.
Speaking on the sidelines of China’s parliament meeting, Zhang, however, added that conditions for combating terrorism and maintaining stability in the region remained complex, Reuters reported.
“Wherever the terrorist mentality and extremist behavior exists, we will maintain (our policy) of striking hard,” the official was quoted as saying.
Xinjiang is home to Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority that has expressed displeasure at Beijing’s heavy-handed rule and curbs on language and religious practices.
Hundreds of people have died in violent attacks that the government blames on militant Islamic separatists.
Religious management and ethnic unity had undergone “heartening changes” and the people and officials were in “good spirits”, Zhang said in the Tuesday briefing.
China said in November that security forces had killed 28 members of a group that carried out a deadly attack at a coal mine in Xinjiang in September.
Senior Chinese officials had in the recent past described the security challenges in Xinjiang as an important front in the global fight against terrorism.
Zhang has previously said some people from the region have gone to fight with Islamic State.
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