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Vocational Training Centres in Xinjiang Effective in Containing Terrorism: China

Representative image.

Representative image.

There have been reports that Chinese authorities are holding up hundreds of thousands of Muslims in high-security detention camps in Xinjiang without trial as part of counter-terror measures.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: December 15, 2019, 7:18 PM IST
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New Delhi: In the wake of renewed global focus on the plight of Muslims in Xinjiang, China has said there has been no crackdown on the basis of religion and that vocational training centres set up in the province were aimed at countering terrorism, extremism and radicalisation.

Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong said Xinjiang has been a victim of terrorism and religious extremism since the 1990s and there has been remarkable decrease in terrorist activities in the region in last three years due counter-terror measures like setting up of the training centres.

There have been reports that Chinese authorities are holding up hundreds of thousands of Muslims in high-security detention camps in Xinjiang without trial as part of counter-terror measures.

When asked about it, Weidong claimed there are no detention centres in Xinjiang and that vocational education and training facilities have been set up as per provisions of the law with an aim to eliminate the root cause for terrorism and religious extremism.

"In terms of preventive counter-terrorism, the vocational education and training centres have made remarkable achievements.

"There has been a remarkable decrease in violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang. In the past three years, not a single violent terrorist case has taken place in Xinjiang," he said.

A recent media report based on certain leaked documents said China has been systematically brainwashing hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the high-security detention centres.

He said the region now enjoys a good situation of economic development, social stability, ethnic unity and religious harmony, asserting the approaches of training centres are supported by 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

He said the vocational educational centres provided useful experience and successful examples for the international efforts to combat terrorism and de-radicalisation.

"The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy freedom of religious belief, the right to use their own spoken and written languages and to practice their own cultural traditions," Weidong said.

"The number of mosques in Xinjiang has increased from more than 2,000 in the early years of the reform and opening-up to 24,400 today, with an average of one mosque for every 530 Muslims, and the clerical staff has increased from 3,000 to over 29,000," he added.

Weidong said since the end of 2018, over 1,000 people including foreign diplomatic envoys to China, representatives of international organizations and news media have visited Xinjiang and witnessed the "achievements" in countering terrorism and radicalization.

Talking about the overall situation in Xinjiang, he said the region is witnessing rapid development and has become a gateway for China to open up on its western frontier.

"In 2018, Xinjiang received 150 million domestic and overseas tourists, and over 200 million in the first 10 months of this year. Since 2014, more than 2.38 million people have been lifted out of poverty in Xinjiang," said Weidong.

He said forces promoting terrorism and extremism have committed thousands of violent and terrorist cases in Xinjiang and other places, resulting in the loss of numerous innocent lives and the death of hundreds of public security officers.

"The vocational education and training programme conducted in Xinjiang are in line with the law and aims to eliminate the root cause for terrorism and religious extremism," he said.

"Innocent people are vulnerable to extreme religious ideology mainly because of poverty, backwardness, unemployment, and insecurity in life.

"Xinjiang has set up vocational education and training centres in order to root out extreme thoughts, enhance awareness for the rule of law, improve vocational skills and create employment opportunities," he said.

He claimed that the training centres maintain that counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation should not be linked to specific region or ethnicity.

"The trainees' freedom of movement, personal dignity, customs, religious belief and other legitimate rights and interests are fully respected and protected," he said.

The envoy said the vocational centres are established in accordance with the law, including the counter-terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China.

"This approach is fully in line with the spirit and purpose of the United Nations counter-terrorism initiatives," he said adding more than 20 countries in the world have also adopted similar compulsory programmes for suspects of violent terrorists.
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