BEIJING, May 29 (UPI) -- Chinese president Xi Jinping, speaking in Beijing Thursday at a conference on China's volatile Xinjiang region, called for a massive anti-terrorism effort to maintain stability.
Xi spoke of "nets spread from the earth to the sky" and "walls made of copper and steel" in describing the lengths to which the nation should go to protect the development and stability of the region in western China, where terrorist acts blamed on indigenous Muslim Uighurs have shaken the whole country.
The two-day meeting was held a week after a bombing in a market in Urumqi, the regional capital, killed 34 people and injured 94.
Xi stressed a focus on respect for religion, and helping religious faith serve the socialist aims of the government. He noted the principal ways of easing religious tension include protecting legal religious activities, deterring those regarded as illegal, and a crackdown on crime.
He urged "fostering a team of patriotic clergy" to ensure "the leadership of religious organizations is firmly in the hands of people who love their country as well as religion."
Meanwhile, in western China, a mass trial was held on Wednesday for 55 people accused of murder, separatism, and terrorist activities.