China Army called on to keep order on anniversary
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Last Updated: Saturday, August 01, 2009, 21:49
Beijing: China's military on Saturday celebrated its 82nd anniversary, with an editorial in the official paper calling on the armed forces to maintain social stability in the wake of unrest on the fringes of its territory.

The People's Liberation Army, the world's largest with 2.3 million members, should strengthen coordination with local governments to prepare to deal with all kinds of "unexpected" incidents, a front-page editorial in the official People's Liberation Daily said.

"We must closely pay attention to developments in the domestic and international situation ... and firmly oppose all violent criminal activities and attempts to split the country," it said.

The editorial echoed comments by Defense Minister Liang Guanglie in a speech yesterday to mark the anniversary. "Social stability" has become a watchword for China's leaders as economic growth slows and exposes rifts between rich and poor.

The government is also worried about ethnic fault lines, particularly after a riot last month in the far western Xinjiang region between minority Uighurs and Han Chinese, the country's predominant ethnicity.

The violence in Xinjiang - where nearly 200 were killed - and a similar uprising in Tibetan areas last year were branded by Beijing as the work of terrorists, separatists and foreign forces, part of a plot to carve up China.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, August 01, 2009, 21:49

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