Foreign visitors dance with local Uyghur people at a restaurant in Kashi, Northwest China‘s Uyghur Autonomous Region on Thursday. Photo: Xie Wenting/GT
Xinjiang, as a core area of the Economic Belt, is enjoying the best period of prosperity and development in its history under the Initiative, which is undoubtedly the biggest achievement in the region‘s fight against terrorism as well as the best answer to the protection of human rights in China, a senior Chinese official said.
Jiang Jianguo, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said that in the fight against terrorism and extremism, Northwest China‘s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region had set up vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law to eliminate terrorism and religious extremism, and that these centers are a “useful experience,” all about the “protection of human rights.” These comments were made at the opening ceremony of the International Seminar on Counter-terrorism, De-radicalization and Human Rights Protection on Friday.
Jiang noted that the fight against terrorism and extremism is a shared responsibility of the international community. He called on the international community to build consensus and make greater efforts to this process.
Scholars and experts from 17 countries, including China, Serbia, Sri Lanka, France, Italy and Pakistan as well as a reprensentative from UN Human Rights Council participated in Friday‘s seminar, , where they shared thoughts and experiences concerning the fight against terrorism and religious extremism, as the threat of terrorism and extremism intensifies worldwide.
Christian Mestre, a professor at the University of Strasbourg in France, told the Global Times that his visit to Xinjiang to attend the seminar was a “discovery” trip.
After seeing what the government has done in Xinjiang to counter terrorism, Mestre hoped that “France and other European countries could take the answers given by Xinjiang.”
Opposing double standards
Shohrat Zakir, Chairman of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, said on Friday that for nearly three years there has not been a single case of terrorist crime, nor have there been underground preaching activities that illegally spread religious-extremist ideas. Criminal and public security cases have also dropped significantly in number.
Statistics showed that at least 1,127 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide in 2018 alone, causing the deaths of more than 13,000 people and incalculable property damage.
Before Friday‘s seminar, experts and scholars visited a counter-terrorism exhibition in Urumqi and a vocational education and training center in Kashi, southern Xinjiang, where they were able to receive first-hand knowledge about the counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang.
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Predrag Markovic, director of the Institute for Contemporary History in Serbia and vice president of the Socialist Party of Serbia, told the Global Times that “some Western countries criticize China for the counter-terrorism policies in Xinjiang, but let us ask what the US would do if hundreds of Americans die in terrorist attacks? We already have the answer: they scorched two or three countries.”
He noted that China has a peaceful policy of educating and employing people. “They are building a new society [to counter terrorism],” said Markovic.
Markovic stressed at the seminar that the US has coercively introduced “human rights” in many countries.
“The noble concept of human rights is often misused as a tool for an imperialist struggle for global domination. In the West, many scholars and politicians have tried to monopolize the concept of human rights,” he said.
“Whenever the human rights concept clashed with some American interests, they tended to forget this praiseworthy principle,” he said.
“In the struggle for human rights and against terrorism we do not need commands from a single headquarter in Washington DC. We need a mutual support from equal brothers in arms,” he said at the seminar.
An example for the world
Jiang listed four principles in the global fight against terrorism and extremism. The first is to uphold common standards and oppose double standards; the second is to take measures according to local conditions on the basis of international law; the third is to protect human rights and the fourth is to uphold unity and cooperation.
Shu Hongshui, deputy dean of anti-terrorism law department at the Northwest University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times that China had chosen to host a seminar at this time partly because China has made outstanding achievements in the counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang. “Also, it‘s a response to some misunderstandings and attacks from abroad. This move could win more support from the international community as we are providing ‘China lessons‘ for the global counter-terrorism and de-radicalization work,” Shu said.
Yalini Saranya, program officer at Bandaranaike Center for International Studies in Sri Lanka, told the Global Times that the vocational education and training center is a good model and mechanism to combat terrorism. “It can be a good lesson for Sri Lanka to learn from China, as we have [been struggling for] so many years to counter terrorism, but it doesn′t work perfectly,” she said.
After visiting a vocational education and training center in Kashi, Saranya told the Global Times that, “I don′t think there is any violation of human rights here, because I see all the students enjoying themselves; they are not upset at all.”
“And when they graduate from the center, they will be offered jobs by many companies. I think it‘s also a good thing for the economic growth,” she added.
Compared with other countries, “China‘s counter-terrorism act is set as the best example,” she said.
Newspaper headline: Foreign scholars’ Xinjiang visit dispels Western bias