A trainee in a training center in Kashi, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, takes an apparel design class in February. Photo: Liu Xin/ GT

 

A media group from Indonesia and Malaysia talks to trainees in an education and vocational training center in Hotan, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in February. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

China on Friday released a white paper on the vocational education and training work in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, clarifying the legal basis for the training centers and hailing the centers’ contribution to global counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. 

There are six chapters in the white paper: urgent needs for education and training, law-based education and training, content of education and training, protection of trainees’ basic rights, remarkable results in education and training, and experience in countering extremism.

The release marks the third white paper on Xinjiang this year. The SCIO released a white paper on The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang on March 18 and a white paper on Historical Matters Concerning Xinjiang on July 21.

“China released the white papers to provide a full picture to the international community on its Xinjiang policies amid attempts of some Western media and anti-China forces to use this issue to stir trouble and contain China,” Qian Jinyu, executive dean of the Human Rights Institution of Northwest University of Political Science and Law in Shaanxi Province, told the Global Times. 

The recent white paper revealed the spirit of innovation and that the rule of law has been fully implemented into China’s policies in Xinjiang, Qian said. 

Xu Jianying, a research fellow at the Institute of China’s Borderlands of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that one of the most key points showed in Friday’s white paper is the legal basis for organizing the training centers. The Chinese government, for the first time, gives an open and positive explanation on the legal basis of the training centers, which will further promote China’s policies in Xinjiang. 

“The white paper also shows China’s responsible attitude toward its work on anti-terrorism and de-radicalization,” Xu said.


A trainee practices her manicure skills and a foreign reporter is willing to be her volunteer at a training center in Kashi, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in February. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

Trainees take a hairdressing course at a training center in the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in February. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

Legal basis 

Terrorism and extremism have long existed in Xinjiang. Incomplete statistics show that from 1990 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of terrorist attacks, including explosion, assassination, arson and riots, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers and causing immeasurable damage to property.

The white paper said the training centers are in accordance with the laws. It listed the legal basis – including  the Counterterrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Measures of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Implementing the Counterterrorism Law of the PRC and the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on De-radicalization.

The white paper clarified the three categories of trainees at the centers and explained in detail the legal procedures of how the centers run.    

At present, the trainees at the centers fall into three categories:

People who were incited, coerced or induced into participating in terrorist or extremist activities, or people who participated in terrorist or extremist activities in circumstances that were not serious enough to constitute a crime.

People who were incited, coerced or induced into participating in terrorist or extremist activities, or people who participated in terrorist or extremist activities that posed a real danger but did not cause actual harm, whose subjective culpability was not deep, who made confessions of their crimes and were contrite about their past actions and thus can be exempted from punishment in accordance with the law, and who have demonstrated the willingness to receive training.

People who were convicted and received prison sentence for terrorist or extremist crimes and after serving their sentences, have been assessed as still posing potential threats to society, and who have been ordered by people’s courts to receive education at the centers in accordance with the law.

Qian noted the importance of educating laws for women as many married female trainees have little knowledge of their basic rights. 

“Some men in Xinjiang used to divorce their wives after they said “Talaq” three times to the wife [Triple Talaq, a type of instant divorce in Islam]. Women were beaten by their husbands. After learning about the law, they know their rights are protected while they’re married,” Qian said.

The training centers also help these women improve the economic status of their families. With the vocational skills they have learned, they can earn respect from their husbands, Qian said.  

Refuting rumors 

For a long time, Western media and anti-China forces have continued hyping China’s human rights “violations,” “mistreating” trainees at the centers, and even “depriving” them of using their own ethnic language.

Xu Jianying told the Global Times that the white paper also addresses concerns from the international community. 

Against the background that extremism has been effectively contained in Xinjiang, and no violent attacks have happened in the region for nearly three years, the white paper offers facts about Xinjiang which would help the world better understand the policies.  

The white paper reiterated that the basic human rights of the trainees have been protected and the training center programs are aimed to rescue those who have been influenced by extremism and that it has never targeted certain ethnic groups, religion, or regions. 

Under the premise of respecting ethnic groups’ rights to use their own language, lectures on the standard Chinese have been given to trainees to help them obtain the language skills so that they can learn science and cultural knowledge, professional skills, get jobs, communicate with people from other ethnic groups and fit into modern life, according to the white paper. 

The training centers fully respect and protect the customs and habits of trainees hailing from different ethnic groups as well as their rights to use their own language. Rules in the centers, curriculum as well as recipes are written in standard Chinese and the languages of the ethnic groups. The centers offer various and nutritious halal food.

The white paper also noted the trainees’ freedom of religious belief has always been respected. According to China’s laws, no religious activities should be organized outside religious institutions and venues. Trainees are not allowed to attend religious activities in the centers, but they can enjoy their religious freedom at home.

According to the UN’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, poverty, unemployment, lack of job opportunities and low education levels as well as violent extremist groups using religion, differences between ethnic groups, and other reasons have helped create violent extremism. 

The plan also suggests broadening responses, engaging earlier, and addressing the influences of violent extremism to counter terrorism. Preventive measures are also needed to complement the countering of violent extremism.

Great achievements

The training centers have helped rescue people from extremism, safeguard the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups, and provide protection from the scourge of terrorism and extremism. 

Thanks to these preventive measures, Xinjiang has experienced changes in its social environment. A healthy atmosphere is spreading, while evil influences are declining. Citizens’ awareness of the laws has been enhanced. 

The white paper also noted that over 40 groups of diplomats, UN officials, members of political parties from other countries and organizations and foreign journalists have visited Xinjiang since December 2018. Many of them have written stories about their experiences at the centers and recognized the achievements of Xinjiang’s de-radicalization work, including the training centers. 

Some countries and organizations or individuals apply double standards in view of de-radicalization work, which is actually an indulgence to terrorism and goes against morality and justice.

Newspaper headline: Xinjiang training centers contribute to global counter-terrorism, de-radicalization: white paper