A total of 181 suspected “terror gangs” have been apprehended in Xinjiang since China declared an anti-terror campaign in 2014.
Xinhua reports that 96.2 percent of the suspects were busted at the planning stage, while 112 suspects surrendered to police (see here for reports of torture in police prisons).
The government’s massive anti-terror action began in May of last year after a deadly explosion in Urumqi killed 39 people—an attack for which eight alleged religious extremists were sentenced to death.
Violence has become commonplace in the turbulent region recently, with regular friction between elements of the majority Muslim Uighur population and the Chinese government.
Aside from the crackdown on suspected separatist terror groups, so-called “strike hard campaigns” have been launched by the CCP to dissipate ethno-nationalist zeal and thus tighten its grip on power in the restive Western region. Recently, Xinjiang shops protested against being ordered to sell alcohol and cigarettes, while burkhas were banned from public buses and a Muslim man was jailed for six years for growing a beard.
By Liam Bourke