Authorities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Wednesday started to hold a series of public lectures to rally mass support for the government's religious policies and to discourage illegal religious activities. The lecture campaign will be carried out throughout the year in every village and residential community in Xinjiang, a vast region featuring a large population of Uyghurs, or ethnic Chinese Muslims, officials said Wednesday. Lecture officials will elaborate on the government's religious policies and the danger of illegal religious activities, while lecturers from religious circles will advocate proper dress codes, patriotism and efforts to promote peace and discourage violence, local officials said said. While Uyghurs traditionally practice a moderate form of Islam, incidents of religious extremism have been on the rise, security experts said. Xokait Imin, a senior official from the Xinjiang regional government, said the latest campaign is aimed at promoting social harmony, patriotism and ethnic unity, as well as rallying unified support for developing the region.