Xinjiang puts priority on preventive anti-terrorism to protect human rights: White Paper

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/18 14:12:09

Foreign journalists interview students at Kashgar vocational education and training center in Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Jan. 13, 2019. A media group consisting of people from six countries praised the development and stability of Xinjiang after visiting the region. The Silk Road Celebrity China Tour was held from Jan. 9 to 16 in Xinjiang, with 12 media representatives from Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka visiting locals and a vocational training center. (Xinhua/Yu Tao)

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has put priority on preventive anti-terrorism and taken multiple measures, including setting up training centers and improving residents' livelihoods, to protect people from the harm of terrorism and extremism, according to a White Paper released on Monday. 

The paper, titled "The Fight against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang," was released by the State Council Information Office.

Terrorist and extremist forces in Xinjiang, driven by the goal of separatism, have engaged in damaging activities, which have severely undermined local stability, and greatly harmed the lives and security of property of local residents, according to the white paper. 

"Terrorism and extremism promote zero tolerance among different religions, cultures and societies. It challenges the justice and dignity of humans, destroying peace and security and severely harm human rights and sustainable development," read the white paper. 

It points out that echoing the UN's resolutions on "addressing the conditions conductive to the spread of terrorism" and "preventing and combating terrorism," China's Xinjiang has taken measures using practical situations - harshly cracking down on terrorist crimes while at the same time improving people's livelihoods, strengthening education on laws, setting up vocational education and training centers in accordance with laws and other measures. 

Preventive efforts

"How to prevent terrorist activities before they happen remains the biggest problem for the international community, since no punishment after a terrorist attack could make up for the huge casualties and loss of property," Li Wei, a Beijing-based anti-terrorism expert, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The white paper said that Xinjiang has included de-extremism education in its daily courses in training centers. "By learning national laws and regulations, ethnic policies and religious knowledge, trainees can realize that religious extremism totally deviates from religious doctrines… They can understand the essence and harm of terrorism and extremism and finally get rid of their control and influence," read the white paper. 

Li said Xinjiang's ongoing de-extremism measures have proved to be effective since they help protect local residents' right to life and the right to development, which are basic human rights. And "by giving people who have been influenced by extremism a new chance in the training centers, their human rights have also been protected," Li said.  

There are three kinds of trainees in the training centers - those who were incited, forced and lured to join terrorist and extremist activities or slightly involving these activities but have not committed crimes; those who have taken part in terrorist and extremist activities but not yet caused serious consequences and have voluntarily gone to the centers; and those who have been sentenced for terrorist or extremist crimes and released from prison, but are still deemed as dangerous to society, according to the white paper.

There has been no terrorist attack in Xinjiang for more than 24 months, which is an achievement brought about by the current de-extremism efforts in the region, according to Xinjiang officials reached by the Global Times.

"Xinjiang's ongoing measures can offer some experience to the international community on combating extremism. However, hindered by long-term bias, some Western countries will not acknowledge Xinjiang's achievements," Li said. 

"The West has adopted double standards on, for example, defining terrorist attacks - what happens in their own countries are terrorist attacks but similar cases in developing countries, including China, are protests against local governments' policies on ethnic groups," Li noted, saying the double standards would affect global efforts to combat terrorism. 

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