China Sends Anti-terrorism Unit to Restive West

Following an outbreak of violence in Xinjiang, the Chinese government is sending its elite Snow Leopard anti-terrorism squad to the region ahead of an international trade convention, AP reports:

The government has blamed Muslim extremists for the July attacks and violent protests in Kashgar, where 80 percent of the population of 600,000 are Uighurs, and in another southern city, Hotan.

Recently it sent its elite Snow Leopard Commando unit to patrol the region from a base in Aksu city, roughly halfway between Kashgar and the regional capital of Urumqi, the China Daily said, quoting a spokesman for the Xinjiang People’s Armed Police.

Calls to the Xinjiang government and police were not answered Saturday.

The Snow Leopards, formed in 2002, were charged with securing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and have a mandate to combat , control riots, dispose of bombs, respond to hijackings and carry out other special tasks, the newspaper said.

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