BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China needs an anti-terrorist campaign by the people and for the people of all ethnic groups to end terrorism and violent crimes, a renowned expert on ethnology said Wednesday.
In an interview with Xinhua, Hao Shiyuan, assistant to the president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the country must rely on people of all ethnic backgrounds to win the war against secessionism, terrorism and against the infiltration of extremist religions.
"This is a war supported by the people and is for their own protection," said Hao. "We need a homogeneous social atmosphere against terrorism, to root out the source of terrorism and violent crimes."
Hao's remarks came on the back of a string of terrorist attacks targeting civilians over the past months.
Three people were killed and 79 injured in an attack on April 30 at a railway station in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and on March 1, assailants killed 29 civilians and injured another 143 at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming. Evidence linked the Kunming attack to separatists from Xinjiang.
Hao warned of a long, torturous battle against terrorism which, according to him, can not be completely rooted out in the country in the short term, "but that should not allow for a briefest moment of slackness during the fight," he said.
He said the harm inflicted by terrorism and violence on lives and property in addition to China's social stability, ethnic unity and economic growth was unbearable for any country or nation.
Hao's comments echoed Chinese President Xi Jinping who, during a recent tour to Xinjiang declared he wanted to "make terrorists like rats scurrying across a street, with everybody shouting 'beat them'".
The president also emphasized ethnic unity, which he said is the basis for development and progress.
Noting that Xi has labeled ethnic unity "the most difficult issue of the most lasting importance" in Xinjiang, Hao said the statement embodied two basic objectives of China's ethnic policy: to acknowledge and respect ethnic differences and to narrow and bridge the gaps between ethnic groups.
Unity comes by respecting and accepting cultural, linguistic, religious diversity and different traditions among ethnic groups, Hao said, adding that the disparity in social and economic development among them should be ironed out via cooperation and mutual assistance.
He said all investment, development and construction projects in Xinjiang should help to improve local employment and raise the income level, so that all ethnic groups share the fruits of reform and development.
The ethnologist said that boosting ethnic employment is the basis of improving people's lives in Xinjiang and stability in the region.
Commenting on the future of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Hao said the corps had made significant contributions to national security, social stability and economic and social development.
He said future development of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps concerned the entire Xinjiang autonomous region and people of all ethnic groups.
"The fruits of development of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps should be shared between both the corps and the local people from whom the corps' development is indispensable," Hao said.