China says it expects new attacks by separatists seeking independence for the traditionally Turkic Muslim region of Xinjiang after deadly ethnic violence there last year, AP reported.
Despite massive pressure from security forces, separatists will continue to refine their methods and seek opportunities, the region's governor, Nur Bekri, told reporters Sunday.
"They will not easily accept failure. They will step up their separate attempts and change their ways and means to make new trouble for us," Bekri said.
Speaking at a rare news conference on the sidelines of the national legislative session in Beijing, Bekri repeated China's claims that deadly July riots in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, were orchestrated by overseas activists for the rights of Uighurs, historically Xinjiang's majority ethnic group, many of whom resent heavy-handed Chinese rule.
China has provided little direct evidence to back up the accusation, and those activists have denied involvement in the violence, saying they believe in a peaceful struggle for greater Uighur rights.
Nearly 200 people were killed and 1,600 wounded in the riots, according to the government, in the worst ethnic unrest in China in decades.
Bekri said 198 people have been tried in 97 separate cases related to the rioting, and the final figure would likely be higher. Several dozen death sentences have been handed down in those cases but Bekri did not say how many people have been executed.
Chinese authorities cut Internet, international calls and text messaging services in Xinjiang, saying they were used to stir up and coordinate protests. Bekri said access has been restored to 31 approved Web sites, but offered no indication of when restrictions would be lifted.
Uighur activists say the Urumqi riots, which were followed by retaliatory attacks by members of China's majority Han ethnic group, were the result of decades of pent up frustration with Chinese rule.
Many Uighurs say Han migrants have flooded into the region and receive most of the benefits of government programs and Xinjiang's mineral wealth. The government also enforces strict controls over Uighur culture and religion, and high-ranking Communist Party officials who wield real political power in Xinjiang are mainly Han.
"Nur Bekri and the Xinjiang delegation have no real authority and don't represent Uighurs," said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress.
"Uighurs want self-determination, but you can tell from the delegation's words that they're not really interested in discussing the real issues," Raxit said.
Some Uighurs opposed to Chinese rule have waged a low-intensity campaign of bombings and assassinations against Chinese officials. The latest wave of attacks came in 2008 to coincide with the Beijing Olympics, targeting government offices and military police, and authorities claim to have foiled an alleged attempt to blow up a Beijing-bound plane with liquid explosives.
The Urumqi violence came more than a year after ethnic riots spread through Tibet's capital, Lhasa, and Tibetan inhabited regions of western China - underscoring what many called the inadequacies of China's policies toward ethnic minorities.
Speaking at a separate news conference just before Bekri's, Tibet's China-appointed governor Padma Choling renewed verbal attacks on Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing accused of inspiring the uprising.
"The Dalai's lies to the world and media have adversely affected Tibet's development," he said.
The governor also sought to deflect criticism over government restrictions on Tibetan Buddhism, saying a boy who disappeared after being named the religion's second-highest figure by the Dalai Lama is living with his family somewhere in Tibet.
"As far as I know, his family and he are now living a very good life in Tibet," Padma Choling said, referring to the boy, Gendun Choekyi Nyima. "He and his family are reluctant to be disturbed, they want to live an ordinary life."
Gendun Choekyi Nyima, 20, was named the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama in 1995 by the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's highest figure.
Chinese officials selected another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the Panchen, but he is not generally recognized as such by many Tibetans.
China's decision to overrule the Dalai Lama was seen as a move to diminish his influence over Tibetans and strengthen central government control over the deeply religious region that it says has been a part of China for centuries.
Communist troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled into exile nine years later amid a popular uprising against Chinese rule.