Weeks after the Chinese security forces put down a bloody strife in the Muslim-dominated border province of Xinjiang, a top Communist party official has vowed to crack down on any renewed violence in the area with an 'iron-fist.'
Hundreds die in China's worst ethnic riots
"We will launch pre-emptive strikes against enemies with an iron-fist to curb criminal activity (the term Chinese use for terrorist acts)," Nur Berki, the head of the Xinjiang provincial government was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
Terming the July 5 bloody riots in Urumqi, the provincial capital, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured as "a political struggle between us and the hostile forces," Berki said that all criminal elements would be dealt sternly.
The official, who was speaking at the meeting of the local legislature, said a drive had been launched to find and arrest all suspects at an early date.
Currently, more than 535 people are still in hospitals with 13 of them reported to be in critical conditions as a result of riots in which more than 650 vehicles were torched, 335 shops burnt and many government buildings and establishments damaged.
The provincial communist party chief sounded the warning as prominent Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer is touring Japan to drum up support for the Uyghur cause. Kadeer is on a five-day visit to Japan from Washington, where she is now based.