Interfaith harmony is mainstream in Xinjiang: comment

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/17 23:03:41

Ethnic groups celebrate 2017 Spring Festival together in Aksu, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, as part of the unity campaign. Photo: IC

A Communist Party of China (CPC) journal recently said that believing in only one religion undermines the social stability of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

A commentary published in the Qiushi Journal, which is affiliated to the CPC Central Committee, on Monday said multiple regions and ethnic groups have co-existed in Xinjiang's history, with one or two major religions, but others existed simultaneously. Interfaith harmony has been the mainstream between different religions.

However, "three forces" have come and denied the situation, insisting that the Uyghur people only should believe in Islam, not other religions, the article said.

It says any incitement to believe in only one religion has ulterior motives.

"The three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang deny the history of multi-religious harmony and of exchanges between Xinjiang and other parts of China in order to forcibly fabricate the region's separation from China," Shen Guiping, an expert on religion at the Beijing-based Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"These religious radicals are attempting to infiltrate Xinjiang and incite terrorism under the cover of religion," Shen said.

Xinjiang's regional government last week revised its anti-extremism regulation to allow local governments to set up institutions to provide people affected by extremist thoughts with vocational skills training and psychological counseling.

The new regulation provides a detailed definition of extremist activities, security precautions, and government responsibilities as well as counter measures.

"Over the past five years, no violent terrorist attacks have taken place after Chinese authorities intensified counter-terrorism efforts by establishing a national counter-terror team. A majority of terrorist attempts in Xinjiang have been foiled," Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Xinjiang has benefitted from the Chinese government's policies on the issue. Tourism boomed in 2017 when the region saw more than 100 million trips by domestic and overseas tourists, or a year-on-year growth of 32.4 percent, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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