Xinjiang Party chief still wary of 'three forces'

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The Party chief of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, who was appointed in April last year, said on Tuesday that administering the region was a difficult task for him because the regional government had to not only concentrate on economic development and people's livelihoods but also face grave challenges in maintaining social stability.

"It is not easy being the Party chief of the region because the economic and social development gap between the south and the north is still very wide and we always have to watch out for the activities of the 'three forces' - terrorists, separatists and extremists," said Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of Xinjiang.

Zhang, 58, was made the top official of Xinjiang 10 months after a deadly riot erupted in the regional capital Urumqi. The July 5 riot in 2009 left 197 dead and at least 1,700 injured. The central government blamed overseas separatists for instigating the event.

Zhang said the overall social situation of the region was stable and under the government's control, but he admitted that Xinjiang was still facing severe challenges in maintaining social stability on rare occasions as its social management foundation was still weak.

"It still takes time to restore good feelings between the ethnic groups since the July 5 riot. We will try to speed up the healing process by improving the livelihoods of people from all ethnic groups," he added.

"To keep Xinjiang stable in the future we have to prevent the occurrences of mass incidents as well as violent terrorist attacks," Zhang said. "Striking hard on the 'three forces' is still our top priority to safeguard social stability."

Zhang said he had great confidence in and no worries about stability in Xinjiang, but the lessons from the Middle East should be learnt on a technical level.

"Xinjiang is Xinjiang and other areas are other areas. Xinjiang won't be affected by what's going on in other places, because people trust the government," Zhang said.

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