Anti-terrorism efforts stressed in white paper on Xinjiang

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/18 22:58:40 Last Updated: 2019/3/18 23:52:40

Western double standards upset global efforts to fight terrorism


Delegates visit a traditional musical instruments shop in Kashi, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, February 17, 2019. Senior diplomats from permanent missions of eight countries to the United Nations Office at Geneva visited Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from February 16 to 19 at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Xinhua

Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government has prioritized 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. 

It stresses that Xinjiang has been an inseparable part of Chinese territory, tells the origin and development of terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang and the current anti-terrorism and de-extremism measures. 

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, security and property of local residents, according to the paper. 

"Terrorism and extremism jeopardize human rights and sustainable development as they propagate intolerance between different religions, cultures and societies, challenge human justice and dignity, and do great harm to peace and security," the paper reads. 

It points out that echoing the UN resolutions on "addressing the conditions conductive to the spread of terrorism" and "preventing and combating terrorism," China's Xinjiang has taken measures - 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.

Preventative efforts

"How to prevent terrorist activities before they happen remains the biggest problem for the international community, as 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. 

Establishing vocational education and training centers is one of the preventative measures. 

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, according to the white paper. 

Li also said Xinjiang's ongoing de-extremism measures have proved effective as they help protect local residents' right to life and 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. 

Xu Jianying, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography, noted that Xinjiang's de-extremism measures, drawn from previous experience, fit the local situation. 

For example, Xinjiang combines de-extremism efforts with measures to improve residents' livelihoods. 

By offering vocational training in the centers, residents could find a job after graduation, enhance life and consolidate the anti-terrorism foundation, according to Xu. 

There has been no terrorist attack in Xinjiang for more than two years, which is an achievement brought about by 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 happened in their own countries are terrorist attacks but similar cases in developing countries, including China, are protests against local government policies on ethnic groups," Li noted, saying the double standards would affect global efforts to combat terrorism. 

"There is no doubt that Xinjiang's fight against terrorism and extremism is an important component of the global struggle, and has made an important contribution to the latter," read the white paper. It also called for countries to abandon double standards. 

Many foreign diplomats and media have been invited to visit Xinjiang and they were impressed by the achievements of the region's de-extremism. 

Nugroho Fery Yudho, a reporter from Indonesia, told the Global Times during his visit to Xinjiang in February that "I admire the Chinese government's courage to explore its own way on de-extremism… Some countries rely on international organizations or other countries for de-extremism, which seemed to achieve little."

Facts on Xinjiang

The white paper also listed incomplete data and cases of thousands of terrorist attacks, launched by separatists, terrorist and extremist forces in Xinjiang, which killed a large number of innocent people and hundreds of police officers and caused immeasurable damage to property.

Terrorists and extremists in Xinjiang also killed people from the religious field. 

The white paper noted that on November 6, 1997, a terrorist group under the command of the "East Turkistan" organization stationed abroad shot and killed Senior Mullah Younusi Sidike, member of the China Islamic Association, president of Aksu Islamic Association and imam of the Great Mosque of Baicheng County, on his way to the mosque for worship. 

On July 30, 2014, the 74-year-old Senior Mullah Juma Tayier, vice president of Xinjiang Islamic Association and imam of the Id Kah Mosque, was brutally killed by three terrorists on his way home after morning Fajr prayer.

The data, rarely released to the public out of concern at causing panic, has been gradually opened to domestic and overseas media recently, to show the world the previous suffering of Xinjiang from terrorism and extremism, an official from the Xinjiang publicity department, told the Global Times.

"These facts showed clearly why we are making efforts at eradicating extremism in Xinjiang currently," he said.

Since 2014, Xinjiang has destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities, and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials, according to the white paper.

While seeking the way of de-extremism, Xinjiang has insisted on not linking terrorism to a certain place, religion and ethnic group. 

Mijuti Mehmoti, principal of a training center in Kashi, told the Global Times that Xinjiang's current de-extremism measures, including the training centers, are not targeting a certain ethnic group or religion but to help those being influenced by extremism.

Xinjiang fully respects and safeguards residents' rights including freedom of religion, protects legal religious activities and meets the demands of religious groups, according to the white paper.

It fights terrorism and crimes which spread hatred among different ethnic groups and split the country under the disguise of religion, read the white paper.

The white paper also noted that Xinjiang's anti-terrorism and de-extremism measures are implemented in accordance with national laws and regulations. 

Aside from abiding by the national law systems on counter-terrorism, Xinjiang has also put forward regional regulations including regulations on managing religious affairs and regional de-extremism regulations, to offer legislative authority on cracking down on terrorism and extremism. 

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