China To Boost Police Presence in Restive Xinjiang Region

Posted January 30th, 2012 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
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China says it will boost the police presence in northwestern Xinjiang province, in a push to manage the area's huge migrant population and crack down on what Beijing calls illegal religious activities.

The official Xinnhua news agency says an additional 8,000 police officers will begin patrolling villages in the northwestern region.

It quotes a regional Communist party official as saying the move is aimed at consolidating “the lasting peace and (social) stability in the region.”

Xinjiang is home to millions of traditionally Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic Uighers, many of whom oppose the ongoing migration of China's ethnic Han into the region.

Uighers rioted in 2009 against Han Chinese in the regional capital Urumqi. About 200 people were killed — most of them Han.

China has also dramatically boosted its police presence in southwestern Sichuan province, in a crackdown on ethnic Tibetans protesting Han migration into traditionally Tibetan areas. Witnesses and exile groups say at least 7 people have been killed and dozens of others injured in the province in the past two weeks.