URUMQI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Since China's far western Xinjiang region launched a "People's war" against terrorism last spring, people from all ethnic groups have joined forces with the government and police in the fight.
With the increasing frequency of deadly terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, the regional government launched a year-long campaign, and Xinjiang Party chief Zhang Chunxian declared "a people's war" against terrorism in late May.
The official asked people in Xinjiang to become clear-minded, firmly fend off infiltration by ethnic separatism and religious extremism, and safeguard national unity and social stability.
Police in the region have offered rewards for citizens who turn over guns and explosives or provide tips in the year-long special anti-terrorism campaign.
In mid-June, three assailants with axes entered a games room in Hotan City and attacked civilians playing chess and cards. Many people fought back before the police came. Shopkeepers rushed to defend their neighbors with sticks and fire extinguishers upon hearing the alarm. Two of the attackers were killed in the melee. The third, lucky to escape with his life, was seized by armed law enforcement.
"Anyone with a conscience should stand out and fight them," said a truck driver who helped fight the mob. "We cannot tolerate any terrorist acts."
Another group of suspected terrorists in Hotan was identified by police on July 27. Local civilians volunteered to help the police in tracking down the suspects.
Locals found the suspects in a corn field in Purgakqi Township in Karakax County.
With the help of more than 30,000 volunteers, officers chased the suspects to an abandoned house, where they resisted arrest by throwing explosives into the crowd. Police fired back and shot dead nine and captured another.
An award ceremony was later held in Hotan Prefecture. More than 10,000 officials and residents attended the ceremony.
"We won this time. We will fight again if there's any other terrorists left. Everyone, let's protect our home together," said Ya Sen, a local farmer who received an award at the ceremony.
In Aksu Prefecture, thousands of residents assisted the police in rounding up the mobs in August. Police found suspected terrorists hiding in a large sorghum field. Locals helped observe the area for unexpected activity, while police searched inside the guard line. Other locals formed a human wall at the village entrance to let the police check passing vehicles.
The search was a big success and was widely reported by media.
According to regional authorities, the number of terror-related gangs busted in Xinjiang increased from about 140 in 2010 to more than 200 last year.
With the ongoing campaign and people's awareness of terrorism, cooperation between ordinary people and police has already delivered a powerful counterpunch to religious extremism and terrorists. However, terrorist threats still linger in the region.
In the latest terrorist attack, 40 rioters, six civilians, two police officers and two auxiliary policemen were killed on Sept. 26 after a series of explosions hit a shop, an open fair and two police stations in Luntai County in northwest Xinjiang.