Vocational centers in Xinjiang will disappear when society no longer needs them: official

By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/12 22:23:40

Education centers to counter ‘three forces’

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. Photo: Xinhua

A top official from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Tuesday denied claims that there are over 1 million people in its education and vocational training centers, saying that "in general, trainees in the centers will be fewer and fewer and, one day, the centers will disappear when society no longer needs them." 

Shohrat Zakir, chairman of Xinjiang regional government, said on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session on Tuesday that the education and training center is set up based on the needs, and the number of trainees will lessen.

Zakir said that Xinjiang is a victim of terrorism and extremism and the education and training centers aim to fundamentally eliminate the environment for terrorism and extremism. 

The Xinjiang region strictly abides by laws and regulations. In its counter-terrorism and de-extremization work, it is not targeting specific ethnic groups or specific religions. Instead, it is targeting the three forces of violent terrorist crimes, extremism and separatism, he stressed. 

Zakir said the education centers are never the "concentration centers" or "re-education camps" claimed by overseas media. Instead, They are like boarding schools where trainees enjoy free food and accommodations, learn languages, study laws and acquire skills. 

The centers protect the students' dignity, prohibits any form of insult against them, and protects their personal freedom. Trainees can go home regularly and ask for leave at any time like boarding schools, he said. 

At the same time, according to the regulations on religious affairs, missionary teaching and establishing religious organizations are banned in the centers, but the trainees can engage in religious activities after graduation.

Speaking to reporters, Zakir hailed the benefits the centers have brought to trainees.  

For example, many trainees have realized that learning Putonghua will broaden their access to information and knowledge. Previously, they rejected learning Putonghua under the influence of extremism in the guise of religion.  

Meanwhile, Zakir noted that many of their trainees graduated and sought a job. "They can earn about 2,000 yuan per month and the salary will be increased after they become more skilled,"he said, adding that, they now have a strong desire to get rid of poverty through hard work and are more confident in their future.

"Through learning, the vast majority of trainees can clearly understand what terrorism and extremism are and the bottom line of the law. Their ability to resist extremism has also significantly improved," Zakir said.
Newspaper headline: Education centers to counter ‘three forces’


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