'Terror cells' found in west China

State media says police detain seven groups in westernmost Xinjiang province.

    State media says the "cells" were uncovered in the town of Kashgar close to the Afghan border [AFP]

    Chinese officials regularly say they have uncovered terrorist groups or foiled plots in Xinjiang, but few details are usually given.

    Human rights groups have accused Chinese authorities of using allegations of terrorism to suppress peaceful pro-independence sentiment among Xinjiang's indigenous ethnic Uighurs.

    The Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims, are distinct from China's ethnic majority Han who increasingly dominate economic life in Xinjiang.

    Kashgar, an ancient stopover on the Silk Route linking Europe and Asia, is a traditional centre for Uighur culture.

    'Remote control'

     

    The China Daily quoted Zhang Jian, the top Communist Party official in Kashgar, as saying there were signs that the cells had foreign links and were given orders by "remote control" via the internet.

    "We know that the extremists will keep attempting to separate Xinjiang from China, and we know they will never get what they want," the report quoted Zhang as saying.

    He added however that the government believed the number of people joining such cells was declining.

    During last year's Olympic games in Beijing there were at least three attacks against police and paramilitary troops in or near Kashgar, which Chinese authorities attributed to Uighur separatists.

    In April, two Uighur men were executed in Kashgar for what Chinese authorities said was a "terrorist" attack in the city last August that left 17 policemen dead.

    At the time police said the attack had been aimed at sabotaging the Olympics.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.