Paramilitary policemen walk past Erdaoqiao Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, in this file photo dated November 17, 2013. REUTERS/Rooney Chen/Files(reuters_tickers)
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang will offer rewards of up to 5 million yuan (543,929 pound) for tip offs about terrorist attacks, the government there said on Monday, in the latest stability move by authorities.
Hundreds of people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang in the past few years. The government blames the violence on Islamist militants who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan for minority Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language and hail from Xinjiang.
Exiles and rights groups though say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive government policies than being organised by any cohesive militant group. China strongly denies abusing anyone's rights in Xinjiang.
The rewards, starting at 200,000 yuan, are for tips about attacks, kidnappings, murders and other terrorist acts, the Xinjiang government's news portal, Tianshan Net, said.
People can also apply for other perks, such as priority admission to schools and work promotions, it added.
Tips will be treated in confidence and steps taken to ensure tipsters and their families do not suffer any form of revenge attacks.
Xinjiang has previously offered varying levels of rewards for such tips, and since 2014, about 10,000 people have offered information to the authorities on terrorist activities, the news site added.
Other provinces and regions in China and government departments also offer rewards for such counter-terrorism tips, including the Internet regulator, which gave out 2 million yuan of rewards last year.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina; Editing by Himani Sarkar)