|Chinese President Xi Jinping (6th L) communicates with local villagers in Shufu County of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 28, 2014. Xi had an inspection tour in Xinjiang from April 27 to April 30. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
URUMQI, April 30 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping said that long-term stability in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is vital to the whole country's stability and national security.
Xi made the remarks during an inspection tour to Xinjiang which ended on Wednesday.
"The long-term stability of Xinjiang is vital to the whole country's reform, development and stability; to the country's unity, ethnic harmony and national security as well as to the great revival of the Chinese nation," Xi said when meeting with local Party and government officials.
Safeguarding the country's unity and fighting separatism are of the upmost importance and in the basic interests of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, he said.
While fighting terrorism, China will deploy a "strike-first" strategy against terrorists in this region to deter enemies and inspire people, Xi said.
The country's counter-terrorism operations will maintain high intensity and abide by laws, he said.
The government will implement appropriate policies to improve ethnic harmony and common prosperity of all ethnic groups, he added.
Xi's four-day trip to Xinjiang has seen him inspect villages, enterprises, troops, schools, police stations, mosques and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in Kashgar and Urumqi.
The trip is seen as vital to Xinjiang's regional security. Pan Zhiping, an expert on counter-terrorism at Xinjiang University, said Xi's visit came at a crucial time for stability in Xinjiang and a sign of the central government's firm determination to fight terrorist forces in the region.
When visiting a police station in Kashgar on Monday morning, the Chinese president ordered local police officers to improve services to the public and come down hard on criminals.
On Wednesday, Xi said he hoped religious people would continue their patriotic tradition and take a clear stance against extremism when visiting a mosque in the regional capital Urumqi. He urged them to assist local followers to better understand religious teachings so that everybody can live in peace and improve their livelihoods.
"I believe Xinjiang's religious people are righteous. They are able to take the right stance and have the initiative to contribute to the reform and development of the region and the country," he said.
The President instructed local government to focus economic development on improving people's lives and spend more resources on employment, alleviating poverty in rural areas and protecting the environment.
Zeng Heping of Xinjiang academy of social sciences, said Xi's instruction carried an important message. Noting that the President had paid considerable attention to issues concerning people's livelihoods, Zeng said the well-being of people of all ethnic groups in the region is the key to regional stability.
Meanwhile, Xi Jinping also said social stability and development in Xinjiang depend on a strong team of officials, effective grass-roots management and mobilization of the people. He said officials at all levels in Xinjiang have made important contributions to the well-being of people of all ethnic groups and to building a beautiful Xinjiang.
A contingent of Party officials who are politically reliable and can stand up to tests is very crucial to Xinjiang's stability and development, Xi stressed.
He promised to promote the right officials to the right positions and give them chances to display their abilities. There will be favorable policies for officials working in Xinjiang, especially those at the grass-roots level, in terms of promotion, housing, allowances, and security for themselves and their families, he said.
"We must foster and promote more officials from ethnic minorities," said Xi. "We should promote and trust those who have been proven to be upright, loyal to the Party and competent."