Police in China's far west have launched a crackdown on terror and stepped up a hunt for suspects who took part in deadly ethnic riots there four months ago, the regional public security ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry said in a faxed statement that the "Strike Hard" campaign is to run from November through the end of the year and will cover all of the remote Xinjiang region, with police on high alert for terror plots.
Hundreds have already been arrested and nine people sentenced to death following the July 5 riots, which saw Uighurs (WEE'-gurs) attacking Han Chinese in the regional capital of Urumqi.
Nearly 200 people were killed in those attacks and in the revenge killings of Uighurs by Han Chinese in the days that followed.
Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim ethnic group linguistically and culturally distinct from China's majority Han. The Uighurs see Xinjiang as their homeland and resent the millions of Han Chinese who have poured into the region in recent decades. A simmering separatist campaign has occasionally boiled over into violence in the past 20 years.
"We must step up efforts to collect and analyse information and clues regarding terror and explosives in order to strictly prevent occurrences of violent cases of this sort," the statement said, without referring to any particular threats.