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Published: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 11:31:07 PM
Updated: Sunday July 13, 2014 MYT 11:32:08 PM

China's Guangdong offers big rewards for terrorism informants

BEIJING (Reuters) - Police in China's southern Guangdong province are offering up to $80,000 for tips about terrorism suspects and potential attacks, state media said on Sunday, announcing some of the biggest rewards yet in a nationwide "anti-terror" campaign.

China launched the year-long crackdown in May after a series of attacks that authorities have blamed on separatists and Islamist militants from the westerly Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.

Under the Guangdong plan, informants' rewards will be based on the "value of the information in preventing terrorist attacks or catching suspects", the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Police will also offer rewards to those who provide tips on illegal activities related to preaching extremism and making videos or books that teach terrorist attacks," Xinhua said.

The Public Security Ministry said police who failed to protect informants and keep their identities confidential would face punishment.

Numerous regions and provinces around China have offered money for tip-offs in recent months.

In Xinjiang, where a suicide bombing killed 39 people at a market in the regional capital Urumqi in May, police have offered money for tips on everything from "violent terrorism training" to growing long beards, as authorities try to root out those they say are trying to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

Around 200 people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the past year or so, the government says, including 13 people shot dead by police while attacking a police station in June.

In March, 29 people were stabbed to death at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say repressive government policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam and on Uighur culture, have provoked unrest, a claim Beijing denies.

Xinjiang, resource-rich and strategically located on the borders of central Asia, is crucial to meeting China's growing energy needs. Analysts say that most of the economic benefits have gone to the Han Chinese, the country's biggest ethnic group, and that this has stoked resentment among Uighurs.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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