Chinese police hold ‘anti-terror’ rallies in Xinjiang

Beijing, Feb 28 (IANS) Chinese authorities have held mass “anti-terror” rallies involving armed troops across the restive region of Xinjiang.

More than 10,000 troops assembled at the capital, Urumqi, on Monday, with some later dispatched to other cities for similar rallies, BBC reported.

Xinjiang has a history of violence which authorities blame on Islamist militants and separatists.

Rights groups say that locals face repression from the government.

State media billed the rallies as “anti-terror and stability oath-taking assemblies”, and published photos and video footage showing armed police and soldiers gathered outside Urumqi’s convention centre.

They were accompanied by convoys of tanks, military vehicles and helicopters.

“Bury the corpses of terrorists and terror gangs in the vast sea of the people’s war,” Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo told the assembly, in comments reported by state media.

About 1,500 armed police were then sent to other cities like Hotan, Kashgar and Aksu, where similar rallies were held on Monday.

Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, has seen several high-profile mass attacks and clashes with police in recent years.

Authorities say the attacks were conducted by Uighur militants aided by foreign terror groups, and they have launched crackdowns and greatly ramped up the security presence in many cities.