Security Reduced at Government Compound in Xinjiang's Capital

April 4, 2005

Armed police will no longer guard the government office compound in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to a China Youth Daily report on April 1. The Xinjiang government will also remove the walls surrounding the compound in an effort to "build a transparent government" in the autonomous region, where the Muslim minority populations are subject to strict government controls and monitoring and often complain that officials exclude them from the decisionmaking process.

In March 2005, the government armed police patrolmen in Urumqi with new pistols and submachine guns and added new anti-terror programs to their training schedules. Before the new equipment was issued, police carried only batons, tear gas grenades, and self-protection gear. A March 1 Urumqi Evening News report commented that "police patrolmen in Urumqi have never in the history of the city been so fully equipped."