China issues white paper on anti-terrorism, human rights protection in Xinjiang
The State Council Information Office on Monday issued a white paper on the fight against terrorism and extremism and human rights protection in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government stands firmly against all forms of terrorism and extremism, and is relentless in striking hard, in accordance with the law, at any conduct advocating terrorism and extremism and any action that involves organizing, planning and carrying out terrorist activities, or infringing upon citizens' human rights, the white paper said.
For some time China's Xinjiang, under the combined influence of separatists, religious extremists and terrorists, has seen frequent incidents of terrorist attacks, which have been detrimental to the life and property of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and have trampled on people's dignity, it said.
A country under the rule of law, China respects and protects human rights in accordance with the principles of its Constitution, said the document.
China's fight against terrorism and extremism is an important part of the same battle being waged by the international community, the white paper said, adding that it is in keeping with the purposes and principles of the United Nations to combat terrorism and safeguard basic human rights.
In today's world, faced with the severe challenges of terrorism and extremism, no country can shy away from them, it said.
"Only by strengthening our community of shared future, abandoning double standards, enhancing political mutual trust, reaching strategic consensus, and promoting exchanges and cooperation, can we effectively curb and combat terrorism and extremism in the interests of world peace and stability," the white paper said.
An inseparable part
Xinjiang has long been an inseparable part of Chinese territory, said the white paper.
"It is indisputable that Xinjiang is an inseparable part of Chinese territory," said the white paper, titled "The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang."
Xinjiang, a multi-ethnic region since ancient times, constitutes an integral part of the Chinese nation, it said. "Xinjiang ethnic cultures are an inseparable part of Chinese civilization."
The white paper said the Uygur ethnic group came into being in the long process of migration and ethnic integration. "They are not descendants of the Turks."
It also said Xinjiang has long been a multi-religious region.
Beating the drum for separatist activities
Separatism is the hotbed in which terrorism and extremism take root in Xinjiang, said the white paper, titled "The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang."
For a long time, terrorist and extremist forces have been beating the drum for separatist activities by distorting, fabricating and falsifying the history of Xinjiang, exaggerating the cultural differences between ethnic groups, instigating isolation and hatred, and advocating religious extremism, it said.
The white paper said that since the founding of the People's Republic of China, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, worked together to build a better Xinjiang; they have maintained social stability, achieved economic growth and improved lives for the people.
The "East Turkistan" forces, however, have not resigned themselves to defeat. With the support of international anti-China forces, the "East Turkistan" forces have resorted to all means, fair or foul, to organize, plan and carry out acts of separatism and sabotage.
Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks in the United States, the "East Turkistan" forces inside and outside China have stepped up their collaboration as terrorism and extremism spread around the globe, trying desperately to establish "East Turkistan" through "Jihad" (holy war), the white paper said.
The white paper also noted that religious extremism under the banner of Islam runs counter to Islamic doctrines. "It is not Islam," the white paper said.
Terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang have brought enormous suffering to all ethnic groups in the region, said the white paper.
Terrorist and extremist forces in Xinjiang, driven by the goal of separatism, engaged in wildly sabotaging activities, said the white paper.
"This badly undermines local stability," it said.
Incomplete statistics show that from 1990 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, and causing immeasurable damage to property.
The white paper said the forces were engaged in killing ordinary people, assassinating religious leaders, endangering public security, attacking government organs, and planning riots.
"These inhuman, anti-social and barbaric acts have brought enormous suffering to all ethnic groups in Xinjiang," it said.
In accordance with the law
China has been striking at terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law, said the white paper.
It is important to stick to the principles of rule of law and a law-based approach in combatting terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang, said the white paper.
The situation is severe and complex; members of all ethnic groups are insistent in their demands that violent and terrorist crimes be punished, and that their lives and property be protected. Therefore, in accordance with the law, the local government strikes at all sorts of violent and terrorist activities that violate human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic unity, and split the country, according to the document.
Counterterrorism and de-radicalization in Xinjiang has always been conducted in accordance with the law, the white paper said.
The local government upholds the principles of protecting lawful activities, curbing illegal actions, containing extremism, resisting infiltration, and preventing and punishing crimes. The local government fully respects and safeguards civil rights including freedom of religious belief. It protects lawful religious activities, fulfills the reasonable religious demands of believers, protects the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations, strikes severely at all forms of terrorism, and forbids violations of the law and crimes such as spreading extremism, inciting ethnic hatred, and dividing the country by means of religion.
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, said the white paper.
With facts as the basis and the law as the criterion, judicial organs in Xinjiang adopt a policy that strikes the right balance between compassion and severity.
While they make sure real criminals are punished, judicial organs in Xinjiang protect the defendants' right to defense and the right to use their own language in litigation to guarantee procedural justice and protect basic civil rights.
Law-based de-radicalization has been launched in Xinjiang, which has effectively curbed the breeding and spread of religious extremism, according to the white paper.
The law-based de-radicalization effort and the fight against terrorism are a just cause that has met the expectations for safety of people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, the white paper said. "Through such effort, we have maintained social harmony and stability," it said.
Preventive counterterrorism approach
China has been giving top priority to a preventive counterterrorism approach, said the white 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, said the white paper.
Based on experience learned from the international community, China has been active in implementing the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly concerning the United Nations Global Counterterrorism Strategy (60/288), and has been working hard to wipe out the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and to prevent and combat terrorism, said the white paper.
Based on its own conditions, Xinjiang has been making intensive counterterrorism and de-radicalization efforts. Upholding the principle of fighting and preventing terrorism at the same time, the region has been taking aggressive action against violent terrorist crimes, and at the same time, addressing the problem at its source, the document said.
It has been making every effort to protect the fundamental human rights of citizens from violation by terrorism and extremism. Specific measures include improving public wellbeing, promoting knowledge of the law through education, and offering education and aid through vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law.
The white paper said Xinjiang has been actively providing help and aid through education.
Education and training centers have been established with the goal of educating and rehabilitating people guilty of minor crimes or law-breaking and eradicating the influence of terrorism and extremism, in order to prevent them from falling victim to terrorism and extremism, and to nip terrorist activities in the bud, it said.
Education and training centers are institutions established in accordance with the law, the white paper said.
Thanks to these preventive measures, Xinjiang has witnessed a marked change in the social environment in recent years and people have a much stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security, it added.