Chairman of the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Shohrat Zakir, claimed that the Chinese government's policies in the region have led to the containment of religious extremism, has brought peace and led to economic growth in Xinjiang.
Speaking to Xinhua, Zakir, while talking about counter-terrorism and the vocational education and training program initiated by the Chinese government in the region, also claimed that the government created policies for the region as a response to the United Nations General Assembly's resolution on Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which entails "addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, while preventing and combating terrorism".
Furthermore, Zakir highlighted that only people who have been "instigated, coerced, or lured into terrorist or extremist activities, or people who only committed minor offenses when involved in terrorist and extremist activities" are made to go through the vocational training at "vocational education institutions".
An agreement is signed with the trainees, following which free programs are conducted. Certificates of completion are issued after the said trainees meet required standards. The program aim at making the trainees employable, according to the chairman. The program entails "learning the country's common language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, along with de-extermination education."
Zakir quoted the trainees while explaining that the centers help in giving them a new perspective and a basic pay that makes them realize "that life can be so colorful". He also described the amenities provided at the institutions at length, while outlining China's efforts in stabilizing Xinjiang.
He further said, "In the past 21 months, no violent terrorist attacks have occurred and the number of criminal cases, including those endangering public security, has dropped significantly."
Zakir also highlighted the four prefectures in Southern Xinjiang and stated that the region has a long way to go in eradicating terrorism. "The four prefectures in southern Xinjiang were threatened by terrorism and seriously influenced by the spread of religious extremism in the past. Some residents there have a limited command of the country's common language and a limited sense and knowledge of the law. They often have difficulties in finding employment due to limited vocational skills. This has led to a low material-basis for residents to live and work there, making them vulnerable to the instigation and coercion of terrorism and extremism. There is still a long way to go for southern Xinjiang to eradicate the environment and soil of terrorism and religious extremism."
Zakir resolutely believes that these policies are a step in the right direction. "We have laid a good foundation for completely solving the deeply-rooted problems that affect the region's long-term stability," he exclaimed during the interview with Xinhua.
In 2009, ethnic riots that broke out here resulted in hundreds of deaths, and some radical Uighurs had carried out terrorist attacks in recent years. Chinese officials have claimed that in order to suppress the threat of Uighur separatism and extremism, the government needs to crack down not only on those Uighurs who show signs of having been radicalized but on a significant swath of the population.