URUMQI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will recruit 8,000 police officers to be deployed in all villages to beef up security in the vast countryside.
The recruitment program will enable each village in the ethnic region to have at least one police officer, said a spokesman with the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee on Monday.
The tasks of the police officers, together with the auxiliary police and militia, will mainly include security patrols, management of the migrant population and cracking down on illegal religious activities, the spokesman said.
"It is an important move for Xinjiang to consolidate the foundation of security and ensure the lasting peace and stability in the region," he said.
Xinjiang has been battling separatism, extremism and terrorism for decades. About 41.5 percent of Xinjiang's 21 million population are Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group, and security experts worry growing religious extremism in the region has fanned most of the violent attacks.
During Xinjiang's most deadly unrest in decades, 197 people were killed and about 1,700 others injured after riots broke out in Urumqi on July 5, 2009.
After the riots, the central government implemented a series of policies to boost economic development in the autonomous region, hoping that a rise in living standards and prosperity would bring an end to the violence.
Earlier this month, a high-ranking security official in Xinjiang pledged to strictly guard against "violent terrorism" to create a harmonious social environment ahead of the 18th CPC National Congress to be held in the second half of this year.
Xiong Xuanguo, secretary of the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs of the CPC Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee, said local authorities must further improve their capabilities for maintaining social stability and amplify the crackdown on religious extremist activities "for the sound, rapid development of Xinjiang's society and economy."