KUALA LUMPUR: There have been no terror attacks in the past two years since China set up re-education centres in its western province of Xinjiang, said China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) deputy Yu Zhigang.
The centres have been a massive success in eliminating terrorism and extremism, he said.
“Every year, there are less and less offenders coming in and more and more leaving.
“During the same period, there has been no terror attack in Xinjiang and the crime rate has also decreased drastically,” he said as part of a dialogue session with a diplomatic delegation set up by the Chinese government at its embassy here yesterday.
The External Security Affairs Department deputy director-general of China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Wang Lixin, said she hoped the international community would look at the republic’s deradicalisation effort objectively and fairly.
“Where bad perception is concerned, we don’t have to offer an explanation as our actions are justifiable and we did nothing wrong.
‘’In fact, the people in Xinjiang are supportive of the government’s counter terrorism effort.
“Justice will prevail in everyone’s heart,’’ she added.
Xinjiang Law Society executive vice-president Zhang Xiucheng said the centres are a key part of the country’s strategy to eliminate terrorism.
“It is actually a more lenient way to combat terrorism than the ways practised by some Western countries where the offenders are locked up indefinitely.
“In China, the offenders first serve their sentence and are then evaluated by the courts.
“If they are found to be high risk, they are then sent to the re-education centres until they are deradicalised,” he said.
The centres, which have come under criticism and labelled by Western media as internment camps, actually focus on three aspects, said Zhang.
“They are taught about the law, the common language and given vocational training.
“This is to help them learn from their mistakes and provide them a way to hold down a job and re-enter society.
“We want them to have their own lives, reunite with their families and this is a creative method to achieve that,” he said.
China has come under criticism and international scrutiny over its alleged discriminatory treatment of the ethnic Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang including the Uyghurs.
Xinjiang is seen as a vital geopolitical region for China as not only is it the nation’s western gateway in its Belt and Road initiative, but the region is also rich in oil and valuable minerals.
It is currently the largest natural gas producing region for China.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has also pumped billions of yuan into the province, improving education, medical and logistical infrastructure, and creating jobs.
China’s United Front Work Department deputy director-general Zhang Baiqing said the CPC transfers 400 billion yuan every year to Xinjiang to support the development of its 19 cities.
Xinjiang People’s Political Consultative Congress vice-chairman Abudurekefu Tumuniyazi said however that some nations are “jealous” of China’s progress and are spreading rumours “about the so-called humanitarian violations in Xinjiang”.
“Maybe they do not want to see a stable China and resort to spreading distorted stories,’’ he said, adding that it was not right to comment before understanding something.
Abudurekefu, who is the vice-president of China Islamic Association, said the Chinese government has built over 40,000 mosques for the over 30 million Muslims nationwide.