‘Four terrorism-free years, but threat can’t be ruled out’
A Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official signalled Monday that there would likely be no let-up in its crackdown in the remote Xinjiang region, but said the government’s focus is shifting more to addressing the roots of extremism.
China’s policies in Xinjiang — home to the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups — have become a major point of division with the U.S. and other Western nations over alleged human rights violations.
“We cannot be complacent at this moment, because the threats are still out there,” Xu Guixiang, deputy director-general of the Xinjiang Communist Party publicity department, said in an interview with AP.
Analysts say China has detained more than a million people in Xinjiang, forcing many to give up at least elements of their faith and traditions. Chinese officials tout the success of their effort to deradicalise the population and provide job training, saying the region has not had a terrorist attack in four years.
Mr. Xu did not directly answer whether or not security measures would be relaxed but said that “four years free of terrorism does not mean there is no threat or danger at all”. He said the party is exploring ways to achieve sustained stability in multi-ethnic border areas such as Xinjiang,
Mr. Xu repeated the government’s vehement denials of forced labor, in which vocational training graduates are allegedly pressured to work in factories both in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. He said that 117,000 people have gone to work in other parts of China since 2014 through programmes that have enabled them to develop skills and leave farms for higher-paying factory work.
Earlier Monday, Xu and other officials held a three-hour news conference in Beijing to refute persistent and mounting international criticism of the government’s actions in Xinjiang.
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