Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for "nets spread from the earth to the sky" to counter Islamist militants in the volatile Xinjiang province and asked officials to prevent infiltration from across the borders.
Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan, has been at the centre of a series of bloody terrorist attacks. A terrorist attack on May 20 in an open air market in Urumqi, the Muslim-majority region`s capital, left 39 people dead and injured 94.
Xi said the basic principle for easing religious tensions is to protect legal religious activities, deter illegal and extreme ones, guard against infiltration in the region.
Xi, also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, made the remarks at the second central work conference on northwest China`s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a two-day meeting which ended today.
Seeking international cooperation, Xi called for "walls made of copper and steel" and "nets spread from the earth to the sky" to capture terrorists, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Xinjiang has been experiencing ethnic and religious tensions as the native Muslim Uygurs opposed the increasing settlements of majority Hans in the resource-rich region.
China blames East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for various terror attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
Xi called for "meticulous" religious work and stressed that there should be a focus on helping religion adapt to a socialist society and ensuring the role of religious figures and believers in boosting economic and social development.
People`s genuine religious demands should be protected in accordance with laws and regulations and their customs should be respected, he said.
"Legal channels for religious people to accurately grasp religious knowledge should be broadened," he said.
Earlier this month, Xinjiang`s regional public security department said local police had busted 23 terror and religious extremism groups and caught over 200 suspects.