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Noose Tightening on Terrorists in Xinjiang
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China's stranglehold on terrorism in its far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has got tighter, legislators said yesterday.


"Now, the unity and stability situation in Xinjiang is firmer and firmer," Ismail Tiliwaldi, chairman of the autonomous region and a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), told a press conference in Beijing. "The room for activities of the 'East Turkistan' terrorist forces is smaller and smaller."


On January 5, police in Xinjiang raided a training camp run by the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement," a terrorist organization named by the UN in 2002.


Police killed 18 terrorists, arrested 17 others and seized at least 1,500 half-finished grenades and a large number of homemade explosives during the raid.


The camp had "close links" with al-Qaida, Tiliwaldi and Shi Dagang, another NPC deputy, said at the briefing held on the sidelines of the annual session of the country's top legislature.


"We are still scouring for (the members of) the organization, trying the arrested, and capturing some who have fled," Shi said.


Terrorist leaders in the camp had been trained by the Taliban and al-Qaida and had later sneaked into Xinjiang, said Shi, also a top official from Xinjiang's Kashgar.


They intended to carry out acts of terrorism and separatism to sabotage the country's security, the lawmakers said.


Tiliwaldi vowed to strengthen international cooperation in the crackdown on terrorism.


He said Xinjiang is now getting more stable, as people of all ethnic groups in the region are "resolvedly" opposed to any separatist and terrorist activities.


Xinjiang is home to 13 major ethnic groups of the 56 in China.


"People there know that stability is a blessing while disruption brings disasters," he said.


He said that Xinjiang would continue to strive for sound and fast economic and social development to ensure common prosperity for all people.


The region posted a record 11.2 percent of GDP growth last year, faster than the national average, according to Tiliwaldi.


The number of investors and tourists to Xinjiang was rising due to growing social stability.


Last year, 66 newly registered foreign companies invested more than 50 billion yuan (US$6.4 billion) in the region, which also received some 350,000 foreign tourists and 16.5 million domestic tourists, the chairman said.


(China Daily March 10, 2007)

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