Liu Yushu: Fight against extremism in Xinjiang includes improving lives of residents


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Liu Yushu: Fight against extremism in Xinjiang includes improving lives of residents


By Liu Yushu    Source:Global Times    Published: 2019-3-25

Some Western media outlets have been notoriously spreading rumors about Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for a long time. On March 18, China's State Council Information Office published a white paper titled "The Fight against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang," which shows how the country has tried to prevent separatist activities in Xinjiang.

Why are Western media's double standards on terror activities in China wrong? Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity.

Recently, 50 people were killed at two mosques in New Zealand - most of them gunned down by a white supremacist who apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to livestream the carnage on Facebook. The horror shocked the world. According to Global Terrorism Database, in 2017, there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world, which killed more than 26,400 people, including 8,075 perpetrators and 18,488 victims.

There is no doubt that Xinjiang's fight against terrorism and extremism is an important component of the global efforts. Terrorists who shatter peace in Xinjiang are no different from those who slaughter innocents in other countries.

Some Western media outlets try hard to create a distinction between terror attacks in Xinjiang and those in other continents. But people in Xinjiang cooperate with the local government in seeking safety and a better life.

Xinjiang has a diverse society and terrorists want to weaken the economy to build their own rule. Dr. Benedetta Berti, a world-famous foreign policy and security researcher, found that notorious terror groups such as IS are known for the violence they perpetrate - but that's not only what they do. They also attempt to win over people with social work: setting up schools and hospitals, offering safety and security, and filling the gaps left by weak governments. Understanding the broader working of these groups suggests new strategies for ending the violence.

These stories are exactly what terrorists want to replicate in Xinjiang. They are essentially separatists who want to displace the local government with their own rule. Down the ages, many ethnic groups have lived in multi-religious Xinjiang, frequently migrating and communicating with one another. History shows that the coexistence of multiple religions with one or two predominant ones has always been a basic characteristic of the region. Such multi-cultural harmony is a threat to terrorist groups who want to build a kingdom that only serves their own religion.

While combating terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law, Xinjiang has maintained social stability and promoted progress in the region, providing all ethnic groups a safe and stable environment to live and work in.

China is willing to share its experience of counterterrorism and deradicalization. Fighting terrorism and extremism is an arduous task. China has effectively implemented the United Nations General Assembly resolution concerning the United Nations Global Counter-terrorism Strategy (60/288) and has been working hard to change conditions that encourage the spread of terrorism.

Terrorism and religious extremism in Xinjiang dented people's lives. In recent years, Xinjiang has been implementing projects that create jobs and promote education, medical care, social security and other fields.

The white paper has data on Xinjiang's efforts to improve public well-being, such as implementing the plan of creating jobs for 100,000 laborers in southern Xinjiang in three years (2018-20) and the transfer of employment of 75,000 people belonging to families suffering extreme poverty. The white paper shows the creation of 1.4 million new urban jobs and the transfer of 8.3 million surplus rural laborers for employment in Xinjiang from 2016 to 2018. As the standard of living improves, the public will be more supportive of the government's counterterrorism effort.

Faced with the severe challenges of terrorism and extremism, no country can shy away from dealing with them. Only by strengthening our community of shared future and promoting exchanges and cooperation, can we effectively curb and combat terrorism and extremism in the interests of world peace and stability.

The author is a researcher of the Chongyang Institute for Finance Studies, Renmin University of China.