China urges crackdown on subversive activities in coastal areas
A public security official urged a crackdown on infiltrative and subversive activities along China's coastal region as experts warned that more jihadists are returning to China through the coastal and southern borders, as the previous route through Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is heavily fortified.
Zhao Kezhi, Party chief of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), on Tuesday urged a crackdown of infiltrative and subversive activities along the coastal regions, a website, cpd.com.cn, affiliated with the MPS reported on Wednesday.
He said that "we should always keep alert on terrorism, intensify border controls and enhance international cooperation in counter-terrorism."
"The terrorists either use forged passports or slip into the Chinese inland via Southeast China's coastal border, or through Southwest China Yunnan Province, which borders Myanmar and Vietnam," Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.
Li said terrorists are gradually abandoning the previous route as the region is heavily fortified and the mountainous terrain is very hard for these people to sneak into.
"They just fly to cities like Beijing and Shanghai with their Chinese passports, posing like any other citizen who returns from another country, which makes counter-terrorism work more difficult," Li Shaoxian, head of the Arab research institute at Ningxia University in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, told the Global Times previously.
Li Wei said that under such circumstances, local governments in the Chinese inland are tightening border controls and taking measures to prevent the infiltration of terrorists.
Chen Dingwu, head of the MPS Border Control Department, said in March 2017 that amid the complicated situation with coastal border regions, the government vowed to strengthen border controls and maintain the stability of coastal and border cities, the MPS website said.
Eighteen coastal border cities and provinces have issued policies on tightening border controls, Legal Daily reported in August 2017. The report pointed out that only by building an effective and clear border control mechanism can the border and coastal cities' safety and stability be guaranteed.
Yunnan and Central China's Henan Province recently conducted anti-terror drills at college campuses. In January, a school in Henan's Weishi county sent police to teach faculty and security staff the basics of counter-terrorism, and required security guards to be armed with shields and steel forks, the People's Daily reported Friday.
China faced a "prominent" risk of a terror attack, said Ji Zhiye, head of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, at an international relations forum in Beijing last month, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported in January.
"The number of jihadists captured along China's borders [in 2017] was more than 10 times the number than the previous year," Ji said.