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Xinjiang official hails regional human rights progress at UN
2019-06-28 source:Chinadaily
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A foreign diplomat chats with an elementary school student in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on June 18 during a trip by diplomats to learn about social development. YU TAO/XINHUA
China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has made remarkable achievements in protecting human rights and providing vocational training to "educate and save" people influenced by religious extremism, a senior Xinjiang official told a United Nations session in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

Arken Tuniyaz, an ethnic Uygur and vice-chairman of the region, spoke to some 500 representatives at the ongoing 41st UN Human Rights Council session.

He said that from the 1990s to 2016, ethnic separatism, religious extremism and violent terrorism had been working from bases inside and outside China to plan and carry out incidents of terror and violence in Xinjiang, which caused enormous damage to society.

Placing the fundamental interests of the people of all ethnic groups first on its agenda, Xinjiang has cracked down on violent terrorist crimes, taken preventive counterterrorism measures and sought to address the root causes of extremism.

"By setting up vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law, we aim to educate and save those who were influenced by religious extremism and committed minor offenses," he said.

This will prevent them from becoming victims of terrorism and extremism and protect the basic human rights of the citizens, he added.

According to Arken, after more than two years of practice, vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang have scored remarkable achievements.

"The trainees have gradually broken away from the spiritual control of terrorism and extremism and got to know what is legal and what is not. They have gained access to modern knowledge and information, learned basic practical skills and secured stable employment," he said.

"Now, many trainees have graduated from the centers and live a happy life," he said.

China is ready to discuss measures against terrorism and extremism with all parties on the basis of equality and mutual respect, the official said.

He also invited UN human rights officials to "make on-the-spot investigations in Xinjiang, and gain a personal experience of a beautiful, true and hospitable Xinjiang."

In the past three years, not a single violent terrorist attack has occurred in Xinjiang, he added.