URUMQI, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A senior official on Thursday vowed to resolutely crack down on "severely violent terrorism cases" in order to safeguard social stability and safety.
Efforts should be made to understand the "severity, complexity and lasting nature" of the current anti-terrorism situation and increase the country's sense of urgency and responsibility in order to maintain stability, said State Councilor Meng Jianzhu.
Meng, who is also China's minister of public security, made the remarks at a national anti-terrorism work conference in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
He vowed to "severely punish and never tolerate those who are involved in terrorism."
Two violent terrorist attacks occurred in Xinjiang's city of Kashgar over the weekend, killing at least 14 people and injuring 42 others.
Meng said that the bloody attacks in Xinjiang severely damaged the region's economic and social development and ethnic unity.
He stressed that "everyone is equal before the law" and that those who threaten people's lives and property or engage in separatist activities must be resolutely dealt with in line with the law.
He pledged to "never be soft" on terrorists, ordering the mobilization of more anti-terrorism forces and stating that authorities will handle terrorists with an "iron fist" in order to boost the public's sense of security.
Xinjiang is of special importance and plays a strategic role in the country's overall development, Meng said, adding that "Xinjiang's stability has a bearing on the region's development, as well as the nation's overall stability, security and unification."
"The promotion of reform and development should be combined with safeguarding social stability," he said.
Efforts should also be made to improve the public's knowledge of ethnic diversity and unity, he said.
Hotbeds of violent terrorism should be rooted out by extending education and prevention work to corners of villages and urban communities where extremists tend to gather, he said.
Meng also ordered to increase the "pertinence, timeliness and initiative" of anti-terrorism efforts.
He asked local governments to "keep a sober mind" and enhance their anti-terrorism capabilities.
Xinjiang, home to China's Uyghur minority and other ethnic groups, has suffered a series of terrorist attacks in recent years.
Police tangled with 14 rioters who attacked a police station and killed four people in Xinjiang's city of Hotan on July 18. The attack left four people dead, including an armed police officer, a security guard, a woman and a teenage girl. At least four others were injured.
One of the region's largest terror-related disturbances occurred on July 5, 2009, when knife-wielding rioters looted shops, torched vehicles and killed nearly 200 people.
In March 2008, five months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, police arrested a 19-year-old Uyghur in a foiled terrorist attack on a passenger flight.