China declares rewards for capture of Xinjiang militants
Beijing: China on Tuesday announced hefty cash rewards for any information leading to the capture of "terrorists" in the troubled Xinjiang province where the country is battling increasing ethnic violence.
Rewards of up to $16,400 were announced to citizens who provide clues which help the police crackdown on terrorist cases and capture terrorists in Xinjiang, according to state-run CRI radio.
The rewards were aimed at encouraging citizens to report terrorist activities, the report said.
Currently, police are looking for 11 militants who caused havoc in Shanshan and Hotan cities, in which 35 people including several police officials were killed last week.
They reportedly belong to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) fighting for the separation of Uygur Muslim majority Xinjiang from China.
It was the second major attack in recent months and timed to coincide with the July 5, 2009 riots between native Uygur Muslims and Han Chinese settlers in which nearly 200 people were killed.
Police also promised lighter and reduced sentences to those who surrendered.
Besides rewards, citizens who report terrorist activities through verbal or written forms, telephone or internet will be protected by the police.
Police also announced confiscation of large daggers and knives as well as firearms and explosives.
They also demanded the surrender of materials promoting terrorist ideology.
Citizens who shield, shelter or assist "terrorists" will be investigated for criminal responsibility according to the law, the announcement said.
Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told state-run Global Times that the recent terror attacks in Xinjiang showed that "East Turkistan secessionist terrorists had copied the international mode and used it in Xinjiang."
"Law enforcement personnel have become their main target, and instead of launching suicide attacks, they focus on training and recruiting new members and promoting their values," Li said.
Li said the attacks have exposed shortcomings in Xinjiang`s counter-terrorism strategy such as placing too many police in big cities and the need for more modern equipment.
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