Fifteen officials from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have been punished for discipline violations such as dereliction of duty, instigation of ethnic hatred and disregard of Communist Party of China regulations on its members’ religious beliefs, Xinhua News Agency reported on Aug 19.
One official was removed from the post after being warned several times about ignoring the CPC’s guideline that Party members and government officials should not believe in religion or take part in any form of religious activities, said Aniwar Turson, the city’s mayor, during a meeting of local officials on Aug 18.
Another official was investigated by police for having e-books with illegal religious content, while a police officer was expelled for forwarding video clips promoting ethnic hatred, and spreading false information that undermines ethnic unity via social media, he announced.
Meanwhile, an official was sacked and given a serious warning for his vague understanding, ambiguous attitude, sluggish action and ineffective enforcement of anti-terrorism tasks. Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of the region, said earlier that the top priority of Xinjiang officials is to curb the spread of religious extremism and prevent terrorist attacks.
It’s not the first time that Xinjiang officials be punished for wrongdoings that may compromise social stability since the region launched a yearlong campaign to strike hard on terrorist activities since May 23.
Eleven Party members and officials from Ily Kazak autonomous prefecture were punished for violating political discipline. In southern Xinjiang’s Aksu prefecture, three officials were warned for not being tough enough on fighting terrorism, while two government employees were being prosecuted for instigating ethnic hatred.
Aniwar said that officials should clearly see that Kashgar is the frontier and major battlefield in anti-terrorism operations in Xinjiang. Any official who has behaviors that could damage ethnic unity or does not react swiftly during emergencies will be punished immediately.
An attack on July 28 in Shache county, Kashgar prefecture, left 37 civilians dead and 94 injured. Police shot dead 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others. It was the deadliest incident since the July 5, 2009 riot in the regional capital of Urumqi, which left 197 dead.
Extremists murdered 74-year-old religious leader Juma Tayier on July 30 in front of the famous Id Kah Mosque.
Religious extremism is believed to have led to an increasing number of terrorist attacks in the region. According to police, almost all suspects involved in recent attacks were religious extremists who tried to carry out a “holy war”.
Zhang also said the most urgent work in Xinjiang is to eliminate religious extremism by enforcing the crackdown on illegal religious gatherings, illegal religious publications and the spread of such information online.