Editor’s note: Obidov Mukhammad Dalimovich, a journalist from Uzbekistan, recently paid a visit to a vocational education and training center in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region where he talked with interviewees and recorded his feelings of Xinjiang and the center. Excerpts:
In China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang is a hub that links the West and the East. Across the whole of Xinjiang, one can see mosques and prospering development brought by the reform measures the Chinese central government has launched, including reeducation projects for Uygur people.
In the center, I was told I can talk freely with anyone I met, even without an interpreter standing by, because of the linguistic similarity between our two languages. The center, denounced by some Westerners as a “prison”, “labor camp” or “detention camp”, is like a boarding school where trainees can learn to use computers, and practical skills such as hairdressing, gardening, restaurant management and cooking.
The trainees re-educated here have not violated Chinese laws, otherwise, they would have been sent to prison rather than this center. Almost all the trainees are those with extremist ideas, and the re-education they receive is to prevent their thinking from being misguided and stopping them from becoming terrorists. In so doing, the government has invested a large amount of funds.
In every county of Xinjiang, such kind of centers have been set up, creating livable living conditions for trainees, teaching them professional skills and knowledge of the law, as well as the Chinese language, and ridding them of extremist ideas. This is an inevitable and correct choice made by the Chinese government to ensure peace and progress in Xinjiang. One of the main reasons that young people become terrorists is because they feel their demands are not being met and they lack access to jobs and decent incomes.
Afghanistan has long been plagued by endless terrorist activities and even the United States admits its inability to stop armed conflicts in the chaos-torn country. Afghanistan does need peace, but peace is based on full employment, well-developed manufacturing and the paramount status of laws, all of which are lacking in today’s Afghanistan. China will in no case allow Xinjiang to evolve into the next Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.
The international society should not base its judgment about Xinjiang on Western media’s reports, which are not objective and have a false perception and understanding of Xinjiang.