PLA may transfer 100,000 soldiers to Xinjiang: report

     The Chinese government may transfer 100,000 People’s Liberation Army soldiers to northwestern China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region to prevent ongoing violence from spiraling out of control, claims the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights & Democracy.

     Analysts at the center predict that ethnic violence in Xinjiang will be one of the focal points of the ongoing fourth plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party later this month.

     China’s state media has so far only stated that the central theme of the plenum is rule of law, though there are reports that other major issues are the status of former security and oil tsar Zhou Yongkang, who was officially nabbed for corruption in July, as well as a potential personnel reshuffle at the top levels of the Central Military Commission.

     Rumors that the plenum is also discussing whether to transform 100,000 PLA ground troops into an armed police force to maintain order in Xinjiang have come amid claims that more than 50 people were killed and another 100 or so were injured in violent incidents in the province over the last two weeks.The center cites a recent report by Radio Free Asia that four ethnic minority Uyghur men armed with knives and explosives attacked a farmers’ market in Bachu county in Kashgar prefecture on Oct. 12, as well as three other separate incidents in the Bachu regions of Akesake Marelexiang, Selibuyazhen and Anakulexiang.Uyghurs, who have long accused the Chinese government of suppressing their religious and cultural freedoms, have largely been blamed for multiple terror attacks in and out of Xinjiang in recent years.

High profile incidents include a deadly jeep crash in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last October that killed five people and a mass stabbing at Kunming train station in southwestern China’s Yunnan province in March that killed 33, as well as several attacks on police stations in Kashgar.

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