China offers $49m rewards for Xinjiang terrorist 'hunt': report
China is offering more than 300 million yuan ($49 million) for residents of Xinjiang, the homeland of mainly Muslim Uighurs, who help a crackdown on "terrorists", state media reported Monday.
A total of 4.23 million yuan was handed out to individuals and government agencies who helped in the killing and capture of 10 "suspected terrorists" in Hotan prefecture last week, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Local residents found the suspects in a corn field in Purgakqi last Friday, it said.
With the help of more than 30,000 "volunteers", police shot dead nine of the suspects and captured one after chasing the group to an abandoned house, where they "resisted arrest by throwing explosives into the crowd", according to Xinhua.
An award ceremony attended by more than 10,000 people was held in Hotan on Sunday. Six individuals who provided key tip-offs were given 100,000 yuan each, said the report.
"Party members... cadres and the public of different ethnicities were called on at the gathering to be inspired (to)... build an iron bastion against violent terrorist crimes," Xinhua said Sunday.
The money was part of more than 300 million yuan in cash rewards Xinjiang authorities have decided to hand out to "those who helped hunt suspected terrorists", Xinhua added.
The Friday incident came days after a violent attack in Shache county, or Yarkand in the Uighur language, in Kashgar prefecture left 37 civilians and 59 "terrorists" killed.
It also came after the government-appointed head of the Id Kah mosque in Kashgar, China's largest, was killed after leading morning prayers.
Beijing has blamed a series of recent terror attacks on violent separatists from the vast, resource-rich Xinjiang area, where information is often difficult to verify independently.
Such attacks have grown in scale and sophistication over the last year and have spread outside the restive region.
Rights groups accuse China's government of cultural and religious repression they say fuels unrest in Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.