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Police Arrest Clerics in Xinjiang

China News Digest, 14 May 2001

[CND 05/14/01] Seven clerics were arrested and two underground mosques destroyed in Xinjiang province due to the expending of Chinas Strike Hard campaign, the Hong Kong iMail and AFP reported on Monday quoting state media.

The campaigns targeted organized crime gangs initially, but it expended to include robbery, drug trafficking, separatist activities and those who worship outside of government-approved churches.

Xinjiang Communist Party's disciplinary organ recently warned party members to stay away from separatists or non-state sanctioned religious activities, the report said. Party members found participating, supporting or covering up separatist activities would be disciplined seriously. Xinjiang's deputy chief HU Jiayan admitted that pro-independence forces have infiltrated the party organs in the region. The new regulations are an effort to check the spread of separatist activities. (Mei HUI)