Beijing: Bracing for a prolonged campaign against radical Islamist militancy in the volatile Xinjiang province, China will recruit counter-terrorism experts from Pakistan, US, Israel and other countries to train its new generation of?anti-terror personnel.
China invites overseas counter-terrorism experts to serve as visiting professors and help train a new generation of anti-terror personnel, state-run China Daily reported today.
"The lessons and training will focus on intelligence gathering, investigating special cases, network information technology, technical and tactical anti-terror action and related international judicial cooperation", said Mei Jianming, the director of the Research Center for Counter-terrorism at the People`s Public Security University of China.
"The US and Israel have accumulated rich practical experience in fighting terrorism. The US is advanced in overall strategic research, and Israel is very proficient at tactical action in fighting terrorism," he said.
He said the programme will enrol 80 counter-terrorism majors who will become specialists in fighting the increasing threat of terrorist attacks.
China is commencing the new four year course in anti- terrorism amid increasing terror attacks both in Xinjiang, where the native Muslim Uygurs were restive over the increasing settlements of Hans from other provinces, and outside the province.
China accuses East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al-Qaeda backed organisation fighting for the independence of Xinjiang, for radicalising 20 million Muslim population in the province of which about 10 million are Uygurs.
The invitation of experts from Pakistan is significant as the province neighbours POK and Afghanistan.
A number of ETIM militants were reportedly holed up in Pakistan`s tribal areas from where they crossed over the Xinjiang. "We urgently need to cultivate counter-terrorism
specialists to improve our preventive and terror-fighting capabilities," university President Cheng Lin said.
The 80 counter-terrorism majors will have to meet admission criteria beyond what is expected of other students.
"After passing the national university entrance exams, they will also go through physical and psychological testing," Mei said.
He said attention will be given to their physical training and endurance. They will learn to use a variety of weapons, including submachine guns and sniper rifles.
After the four-year program, most of the 80 students will join counter-terrorism departments in the Ministry of Public Security or in local public security units.
China established anti-terrorism departments in public security agencies at national, provincial and municipal levels in 2001, but there was a shortage of specialists, Cheng said.
However, "counter-terrorism efforts were riddled with problems, including insufficient intelligence-gathering capabilities, unsound warnings and preventive mechanisms, lagging on-site command operations and coping measures or subsequent rescue efforts," he said.
Hong Daode, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said China should increase international cooperation as many terrorists have global connections.