BEIJING (Reuters) – More than 10,000 armed police in China’s western Xinjiang region staged a mass rally in the capital Urumqi, state media said, as authorities rolled out a rapid-response air patrol system to quell unrest that the government blames on Islamist militants.
The rally held on Monday, complete with circling helicopters and armoured vehicles, was at least the fourth such mass display in the region this year, intended as a show of force after a recent uptick in violence.
Hundreds have died in Xinjiang in the past few years, mostly in unrest between the Muslim Uighur people, who call the region home, and the ethnic majority Han Chinese.
Xinjiang’s Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo told the ranks of armed police lined up outside Urumqi’s international convention centre that they must realise the “grim conditions” facing the region’s security.
“Bury the corpses of terrorists and terror gangs in the vast sea of the people’s war,” Chen said, according to the Xinjiang government’s official news site Tianshan Net on Tuesday.