Xinjiang’s education programs improve life chances for trainees, families

By Liu Xin in Hotan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/21 23:38:39

Western reports ‘inconsistent with what really happened’

Children of trainees attend class at a primary school affiliated to Hotan's education and training center. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

Extremism would cost their chances for a better life once they go astray further, said trainees at a vocational education and training program in Hotan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. They said the skills they have acquired will help in their efforts to pull themselves out of poverty.

A group of Global Times reporters visited a vocational education and training center in Hotan's Yutian county over the weekend. A sign outside the center reads, "Turn people who need jobs into people who have the necessary skills for the jobs."

 Hotan is one of the four areas in southern Xinjiang that have in the past struggled to combat terrorist activities and the spread of religious extremism.

At the center, factories producing footwear, local snacks and more have been  established and operating. Trainees who have performed well in courses such as the country's common language, national laws and vocational skills, as well as de-extremization education, can choose to work on the production lines, Yutian's deputy county chief Adil Abdueni told the Global Times.

Matkasim Tudi, a trainee at the center, now is also in charge of running a printing plant.

A worker poses next to a pile of iced sugar at a vocational education and training center in Hotan's Yutian county, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

He and some other trainees raised 4.5 million yuan (about $649,400) to purchase printing machines and started their businesses in July after moving into the plant, which was built by the local government, he told the Global Times.

He said that the plant has received 3.7 million yuan in orders since July, which mainly include printing notebooks for students. It will take three to four months to finish the orders.

Workers at the plant earn about 1,500 yuan a month, plus bonuses. Most of them give the money to their families since they have free room and board.

Trainees can get up to 600 yuan in subsidies and at least two days off a week during training, a manager surnamed Yuan from a footwear plant at the center told the Global Times.

A changed and better life

Officials reached by the Global Times in Hotan said that most of the trainees have at one time been coerced, lured or pushed into terrorist or extremist activities. Xinjiang prioritizes rehabilitation in accordance with the Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Anti-Terrorism Law and other relevant national laws and regulations.

Trainees can receive free vocational training to improve their command over the country's common language, national laws and regulations and vocational skills, among others.

"I was born in a religious family and was told that I was born to be a Muslim. I had little knowledge of laws before participating in the program. Distorted doctrines spread by religious extremists are against our laws," Eli Matusun told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The program was good timing for me, since we learned that extremism is the root of terrorism and violence and if we go further astray, we would become terrorists," he said.

Eli Matusun said that he hopes to learn more through the program and plans to start his own business in the future.

Workers work on a mobile phone assembly line. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

Matkurban, who is working at an electronic production plant, had attended a high school in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. But before he took the national college entrance examinations, his father - who had been influenced by extremism - asked him to drop out of school.

"He asked me to come back and learn religious doctrines and he said that he would not go to heaven if I didn't." Matkurban had to give up his dream of going on to medical school.

Just as he was at a loss in life, he joined the program. "I am interested in electronic production and want to learn more here," he said. "It's like being back in school."

The factories have also arranged dormitories for married trainees.

Rukeyam Abdukadir, who now works at a plant with her husband, said she can now dress however she likes and has improved standing in her family. Coming from a religious family, she had been forbidden from wearing anything except robes. She was also forbidden from working and even watching TV.

"I am the person who manages the family money now," she said.

In a school near a tea factory, teachers told the Global Times that some parents drop off their children for daycare before they go to work, and pick them up after work.

Trainees play volleyball at the training center. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT

Luo Hongmei, the Communist Party chief of the Yutian Educational Bureau, told the Global Times that previously some children's parents, influenced by religious extremism, cared little about their children and did not want to send them to schools.

"The children have become more open," Luo said. "We can always see their smiling faces. Their personal hygiene has improved. They have also performed well in study… All of these things lay a solid foundation for their future development."

The irresponsible reports made by some Western media outlets about the training program were "inconsistent with what really happened in Xinjiang," Adil Abdueni said.

"I was born in Yutian and I knew that influenced by religious extremism, many young people here did not go to school after finishing their primary schooling. They were easily harmed by religious extremism and finally went astray and ended up in stirring up terrorist attacks."

After joining vocational education and training programs, they can earn their own living and contribute to society, Abdueni said.
Newspaper headline: Education programs benefit Xinjiang


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