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‘Some Party officials in China’s Xinjiang support terror’

Some officials of China’s ruling Communist Party in militancy-hit Xinjiang participated in terrorist and separatist activities, adversely affecting the crackdown on extremists, a top regional party official said.

Xu Hairong, head of the Xinjiang Discipline Inspection Commission, said some Communist Party of China (CPC) members participated in terrorist activities backed by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a party affiliated newspaper reported.

“Certain Party members made irresponsible remarks on decisions made by their superiors, some of which are opposed to the requirements of the CPC Central Committee and Xinjiang regional committee,” Xu said.

“Some are double-tongued about significant issues on anti-separatism, ethnic unity and national unification,” Xu said.

ETIM, an al-Qaeda backed separatist outfit, has been active among native Uyghur Muslims, carrying out a number of violent attacks in and outside the region. Xinjiang has been unrest for some years now over the settlement of Hans from mainland China.

China deployed a large number of security forces in the region, bordering the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), to contain violence. Recent reports said Xinjiang police killed 28 terrorists when they attacked a coal mine.

Commenting on Xu’s remarks, a Xinjiang-based expert told the Global Times that a few grassroots and middle-rank officials of the ethnic minority groups were ambivalent about the anti-separatism campaign, despite faced with terrorism, extremism and separatism as well as pan-Islamism and pan-Turkism.

“Some grassroots may be inclined to provoke terrorist activities while some middle-rank officials, who better understand pan-Islamism and pan-Turkism, tend to advocate separatism,” he said.

Extem Helil, an official in Wensu county in southern Xinjiang, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in 2013 for sharing downloaded documents that advocate jihad and incite ethnic hatred, news site legaldaily.Com.Cn reported.

Zhao Xinwei, the editor-in-chief of the Urumqi-based Xinjiang Daily, was expelled from the Party and removed from his post in early November, for making “groundless comments” on the nation’s major decisions, reports have said.

Zhao’s remarks were found to be inconsistent with central and local stand of the Party on significant issues, including ethnic separatism, terrorism and religious extremism.

The mindset of Party members wasn’t given importance until the anti-terrorism situation became “grim,” Pan Zhiping, a research fellow at Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences,said.

“Hostile forces took advantage of conflicts over the uneven economic development to exaggerate social divergence and incite violence,” La Disheng, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Xinjiang Regional Party Committee, said.