BEIJING, June 23 Authorities in China's
far-flung western region of Xinjiang have detained 380 people
and busted 32 terror cells in a month-long crackdown on
violence, state media said on Monday, following an upsurge in
attacks blamed on Islamist militants.
China has been toughening its response after a spate of
bloody incidents nationwide centred on Xinjiang, the traditional
home of the Muslim Uighurs.
China has blamed previous attacks on Islamist separatists in
the region, who, it says, want to establish an independent state
there called East Turkestan.
The official Legal Daily said 315 people had been tried for
terror-related offences, at least 13 of whom have been executed,
an announcement made last week. Six police officers had died on
the job as well, the report added.
Police also seized 264 explosive devices, 357 weapons, 101
computers with extremist contents on them and books and DVDs
offering training at terror attacks, the newspaper said.
It gave instances of some cases, from the seizures of bows
and arrows in the city of Aksu to the testing of bombs in the
Authorities praised public support for the campaign,
including reports about suspicious people, the paper said.
Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the
government's own repressive policies in Xinjiang, including
controls on Islam, have provoked unrest, a claim Beijing denies.
Around 200 people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the
past year or so, the government says, including 13 people shot
dead by police in a weekend attack on a police station.
China has tightened its grip on public discussion about
In January, police detained prominent Uighur economics
professor Ilham Tohti and charged him with separatism.
Tohti, who taught at a university in Beijing, was known for
championing the rights of the Uighurs.
His lawyer, Li Fangping, said last week that Tohti might
already have been tried and sentenced in public.
This had not happened, however, Li wrote on Monday on the
Chinese mobile social network WeChat, adding that Tohti's case
had only been handed over to the prosecutor, a necessary
preliminary to a trial.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)