Xinjiang police have arrested 18 members of the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement" (ETIM) so far this year, a local official said on Tuesday.
All the 18 arrested had been trained overseas, Shi Dagang, Communist Party secretary of the Kashi prefecture, told a press conference in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
He said the ETIM group claimed it would launch a terrorist attack every month at the beginning of the year and had sent seven instructions to terrorist forces inside China.
"They are trying to turn 2008 into a year of mourning and a year of terror," Shi said.
In two statements posted on the Internet on June 26 and 27, the ETIM group had instigated residents in northwest China to wage a holy war against local authorities with blasts and cases of poisoning, he said.
The group had also used the Internet to teach domestic terrorist forces how to carry out attacks and make explosives.
The press conference was held a day after two Uygur men carried out a violent attack on border police in Kashi, killing at least 16 and injuring 16 others.
Shi said Monday's raid on Kashi border police was a terrorist attack, but Liu Yaohua, head of the public security department of Xinjiang, said in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, there is no evidence that Monday's attack on police in Kashi was related with the ETIM.
(Xinhua News Agency Agusut 6, 2008)