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Xinjiang leader puts security to the test

(2017-02-23)

The top leader in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region put its emergency response system to the test this week before making a surprise visit to the region's public security command center.

Chen Quanguo, the Party chief of Xinjiang, which is regarded as China's front line in the fight against terrorism, has made keeping the region stable one of his priorities since taking office in August.

On Tuesday, he visited a busy street in Urumqi, the regional capital, and had a member of his staff make an emergency call to security services to test the response time.

The first police-trained emergency response officers, who are armed with nonlethal weapons, arrived at the scene in 54 seconds, while a backup team including armed police officers arrived in two minutes, Xinjiang Daily reported on Wednesday.

To further improve the response time to emergency incidents, such as terrorist attacks, Xinjiang has established a network of public security service stations in all cities and counties.

Security officers are expected to arrive at any emergency within a minute. The region plans to set up more stations this year to strengthen the network, according to the regional government.

During a visit to a service station, Chen urged officers to show no mercy to terrorists. He said every second counts when dealing with emergencies, and security forces must make sure there are no blind spots.

He later paid a surprise visit to the command center at the regional public security bureau's headquarters in Urumqi, where he contacted security forces around the region via the video command system and checked if all required personnel were in place.

Despite increased security, southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture still witnessed terrorist attacks and violent incidents targeting civilians and government buildings in the past three months.

The Hotan government said on Tuesday it will allocate 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) to set up a reward fund to encourage the public to fight terrorism.

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