The capital of China’s restive region of Xinjiang will recruit 3,000 former soldiers to help guard its residents, the Chinese government has said.
The soldiers will be carefully vetted to determine their political views. They will join the military and police forces that often patrol Urumqi.
The move comes amid a crackdown against the Uighur Muslim minority group.
China has blamed a spate of violent attacks in Xinjiang on Uighurs pushing for the region’s independence.
The BBC’s Celia Hatton says that tensions have been on the rise in Xinjiang, where 175 people have died so far this year in clashes between Uighurs and the Han Chinese majority, according to China’s state media.
This is a huge increase on the same period last year when 45 people were killed.
This is the first time former soldiers have been asked by China to guard Urumqi.
Those applying for the role must be under 30, have left the army within the past year and prove that they are “against separatism and illegal religious activities,” our correspondent says.
Xinjiang’s recruitment office told the BBC it is yet to receive many applications.