China calls for a ‘people’s war’ against fanatics as it warns that Islamic extremism is spreading through the country

China is hardening its rhetoric on Islam, with top officials making repeated warnings about the spectre of global religious extremism seeping into the country.

A top Communist party official from a Muslim dominant region on Sunday warned political leaders gathered in Beijing that China is becoming destabilised by the ‘international anti-terror situation’.

Over the past year, Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed the party to ‘sinicise’ the country’s ethnic and religious minorities, while regional leaders in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region have ramped up surveillance measures, police patrols and demonstrations amid an uptick in violence blamed on Islamic separatists.