Xinjiang educates, reforms imprisoned extremists in religious thought

By Liu Xin in Urumqi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/23 22:58:39

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region educated religious extremists in prison, and invited religious experts to reform the extremists' thoughts, a Xinjiang-based expert said on Monday.

"Extremists in prison need to transform their thoughts. We have invited experts on religion to rectify their extremist thinking," Ma Pinyan, a research fellow at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Religious Studies, said on Monday.

Ma, also the Vice President of the Xinjiang Prison Association, told the Global Times that they also gave basic religion training to the prison guards.

"The prison guards and other management staff need to know about religions in order to properly educate these extremists," Ma said.

Ma added that they are still exploring a way to better educate extremists in prison since there were cases when the extremists spread their ideas in prison.

Kazakhstan's method of separating extremists from other prisoners may offer Xinjiang a different perspective, Ma noted.

La Disheng, former vice president of the Xinjiang Academy of Governance, said that religious extremism affected Xinjiang's ethnic unity.

"As a multi-ethnic region, Xinjiang has proven that prosperous development can only be achieved through ethnic unity, while ethnic conflicts and separatism may lead to disasters," La said.

Ma said that the region is working closely with relevant countries on fighting terrorist forces. "Xinjiang is working together with relevant countries to counter the East Turkestan terrorist forces," Ma said.

Ma noted that Xinjiang participates in multilateral cooperation and communicates with different societies to limit the space for religious extremism. 

Reportedly about 300 terrorists of East Turkestan Islamic Movement have gone to Syria or Afghanistan from Xinjiang to join ISIS. Some terrorists are attempting to return to China or plot violent activities, Ma said.

"The government has taken measures to stop these terrorists at the border and strengthened counter-terrorism education among the residents," Ma said.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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