Stability in China's Xinjiang province 'remains fragile'

"We should be aware that the stability of Xinjiang remains fragile," Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Committee of the Communist Party of China, told senior officials.

"There are still many factors from home and abroad that may affect stability, and the task of maintaining stability remains tough," Zhang was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The meeting, attended by Xinjiang's high-level officials and leaders of the regional army and police forces, concluded that authorities were determined to prevent major cases involving violence and terror, and large "mass incidents" -- usually gatherings of people with complaints that may lead to chaos without proper handling.

The participants at the high level meeting agreed that the key is rigorously preventing such incidents and striking hard against splittist and terrorist activities, the report said.

Xinjiang, with 41.5 per cent of its population from the Uygur ethnic group, borders eight central and west Asian countries, many of which have been troubled by terrorists and extremists movements.

In July 2009, 197 people were killed and 1,700 injured in China's worst riot in Urumqi in decades. Authorities blamed separatists and extremists for inciting the violence.

In the wake of the riot, the central government ramped up development drives in the remote, mostly underdeveloped region with the aim of eliminating the seeds of unrest.

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