BEIJING: Police in the capital of China's restive Xinjiang will launch a security clampdown ahead of the anniversary of ethnic riots, the government said today, in an indication they fear further unrest.
Authorities in the city of Urumqi, which exploded in deadly riots on July 5, will "increase the police presence in key places, vital sectors and public areas," the Xinjiang region's state-run Tianshannet website said.
Police will also ramp up inspections of all people transporting and using dangerous explosive materials and "severely deal" with those found violating the rules.
Xinjiang had already been beefing up security and authorities have warned of a continued "separatist" threat in the region after the violence in Urumqi last July between Muslim ethnic Uighurs and members of China's dominant Han group.
The violence saw nearly 200 people killed and up to 1,700 injured, according to government figures.
The new clampdown will begin on Sunday and last until July 20, Tianshannet said, adding that police stations in Urumqi will be strengthened with an additional 1,000 officers for three weeks from June 25. Earlier state media reports said police recently held large-scale anti-riot exercises to prepare for the anniversary.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, an overseas group, condemned the "repressive measures".
"They are provoking a deterioration of the situation, and all Uighurs that are under China's supervision endure discrimination and face the risk of detention at any time," he said. Xinjiang's roughly eight million Uighurs -- a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people -- have seethed under Chinese control for decades, alleging political, religious and cultural oppression by Beijing.
Beijing has denied any policy failings, instead blaming "separatists" for stoking ethnic unrest in Xinjiang, but providing no evidence of any organised separatism.