China tightens security along Pakistan border

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ISLAMABAD: The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will continue to tighten security along the border of Pakistan and other neighboring countries to prevent terrorists from entering or leaving the region illegally in the coming year, the chairman of the region said.

Xinjiang, which borders eight countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, has been China’s main battleground in the fight against terrorism.

According to a China Daily’s report, tighter controls will add to the entry-exit measures that were put in place in 2016, said Shohrat Zakir, the region’s chairman, in his work report at the annual session of the Xinjiang People’s Congress in Urumqi in last week.

Many terrorists who carried out attacks in the region in recent years received training abroad and then entered illegally. Some also fled across the border, said Aniwar Turson, a top Party official of southern Xinjiang’s Kashgar prefecture.

“We need to make sure not a single terrorist can get in or out of Xinjiang, especially when our neighboring countries are facing rising terrorist threats,” Aniwar said.

On the evening of Jan 8, three terror suspects were killed in a police raid in southern Xinjiang’s Hotan prefecture, according to local media, the report added.

The suspects resisted arrest and were shot dead at around 8 pm. No police officers were hurt, according to Ts.cn, a news portal affiliated with the regional government. The suspects were believed to have conducted an attack in April 2015.

Azez Musar, another Hotan official, said terrorist cells are particularly active in border areas in Xinjiang.

“We must improve our ability to detect suspicious activities in those areas and conduct strict inspections near the borders in accordance with the law,” he said.

It has been more than four months since Chen Quanguo, former Party chief of the Tibet autonomous region, stepped in as the new top leader of Xinjiang.

Chen sees keeping the region stable as the overriding political goal and is directing Xinjiang officials to make that their top priority. He said officials would be evaluated based on the security situation.