China celebrates four years without a violent terrorist incident

There have been no terrorist attacks in China for the past four years, the public security ministry said on Thursday.

“Our battle against terrorism has continued to do well, and there have been no violent terrorist incidents for four consecutive years,” spokesman Li Guozhong told a press conference held to review the ministry’s work and achievements between 2013 and 2020.

“The present situation is stable and harmonious as people enjoy security and a good living and work environment,” he said.

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That state had been achieved as a result of a “high pressure approach” to fighting terrorism and the “successful implementation of the leadership’s new era governance strategy in Xinjiang”, he said.

A guard tower and barbed wire fences are seen around a Xinjiang facility in 2018.  China has been accused of oppressive behaviour towards the area’s Uygurs and other Muslim populations, including placing them in internment camps. Photo: AP

Li said the focus of the ministry’s work over the past seven years had been “safeguarding the security of the regime and the [political] system”.

The ministry had “fought against infiltrations and subversion by foreign powers, as well as all kinds of political risks both online and offline”, he said, without giving any details.

He also described religious groups like Falun Gong as cults, saying Chinese authorities had increased efforts to “convert” their members through re-education.

Xinjiang ‘genocide’ claims are ‘fake news’, Chinese foreign minister says

Li did not mention the internment camps in Xinjiang, but it was about four years ago when Beijing began sending large numbers of Uygurs and Kazakhs to them.

Human rights groups have said more than 1.5 million Uygurs and Kazakhs were sent to the camps between 2017 and 2019, and accused China of serious abuses within their walls.

Beijing has repeatedly denied such allegations. In a white paper last year, it said nearly 1.3 million people in Xinjiang received “vocational training” every year between 2014 and 2019.

As the international backlash caused by the re-education camps in Xinjiang has intensified, Beijing has stepped up its defence by stressing the need to crack down on terrorist activities in the region.

But many Western nations have openly criticised China’s treatment of Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang with some going so far as to accuse Beijing of genocide.

Last month, the US, Canada, European Union and Britain imposed sanctions on various Chinese officials for their alleged links to human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Beijing retaliated with sanctions against American, Canadian and European officials and academics.

Beijing then hit out at fashion retailers like H&M and industry bodies like the Better Cotton Initiative for their comments about the use of forced labour in Xinjiang.

Leading Japanese ketchup producer Kagome has stopped importing tomatoes from Xinjiang.

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