Western China authorities offer big rewards for terror tips

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2017 6:25 AM

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in China's far western Xinjiang region are offering rewards of up to $730,000 for terror-related tips as they ramp up security measures in the restive area.

A government memo published by state media shows that Hotan prefecture, the site of a knife attack this month, has allocated $15 million to "reward and mobilize the masses" to fight terrorism. Eight people, including three assailants, died in the attack.

Tipsters are eligible to claim up to $730,000 for reporting planned attacks or identifying people who swear allegiance to jihad or organize illegal cross-border activities. Xinjiang shares a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan and several unstable Central Asian states.

Xinjiang officials have sharply increased surveillance, street searches and police patrols in recent years amid bombings and vehicle and knife attacks blamed on separatist militants from the native ethnic Uighur minority.

Regional Communist Party officials oversaw large rallies last week, where they exhorted rows of rifle-toting soldiers and police to deal a crushing blow to separatist and radical Islamic forces that they said have entered Xinjiang from Central Asia.