“Four Battles”: Hotspots and Difficulties of Xinjiang Issue
Terrorism is a malignant tumor in today’s world. The brutal killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable and unforgivable for any mankind and society . On March 15, the terrorist attacks in two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand killed 50 people; On April 21, the eight suicide bombing attacks in Sri Lanka including its capital city of Colombo left at least 253 people dead. The international community has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks.
Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has not seen any violent terrorist cases for 29 consecutive months, and the local civilians have enjoyed peace for 29 months. However, fighting against terrorism in Xinjiang is a long-term, arduous task. The “four battles” between China and nationalist separatists, religious extremists and terrorists are the major obstructions to “cooling down” the “hotspots” and “overcoming” the “difficulties” on the Xinjiang issue.
First, the battle for sovereignty. Xinjiang has long been an inseparable part of Chinese territory, and China has complete sovereignty over and every right to govern Xinjiang, but things don’t always occur as people wish. There are always some people in Xinjiang and abroad hankering after “Pan-Turkism” and “Pan-Islamism”, having the “dream of independence” to split Xinjiang from China and seeking to establish the “East Turkistan” through “Jihad”. In the face of the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, any central government wouldn’t appease or connive such acts, but resolutely fight them in accordance with the law.
Second, the battle for the will of the people. The battle mainly targets the youth, which, in essence, vie for the future. The extremist forces distort the religious doctrines, incite people “not to obey anyone but Allah” and proclaim themselves as the spokesmen of “Allah”. They, with weird thinking and acts, deny and reject all forms of secular cultures.
Third, the battle for peace. Islam is neither an indigenous belief of the Uygurs and other ethnic groups, nor the sole one of the Uygur people, and in addition to that, Islam is not a religion that advocates violence, hatred and terror. Buddhism was introduced into Xinjiang a thousand years earlier than Islam, and held its place as a major religion a thousand years earlier than Islam. Around the first century BC Buddhism was introduced into Xinjiang and gradually became a major religion. In the late ninth and early 10th century, Islam was introduced into southern Xinjiang. Through the religious war and other compulsory means, it replaced Buddhism as the major religion of Xinjiang in the early 16th century.
Fourth, the battle for public opinion. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on September 8, 2006, and explicitly stated that “any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in support of terrorist acts is brought to justice … and that such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations.” However, for a long time, some countries and media have worn “colored spectacles” and pursued “double standards”.
On March 1, 2014, eight knife-wielding Xinjiang terrorists attacked passengers at the Kunming Railway Station, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, leaving 31 dead and 141 injured. Some major international media declined to use “terrorists”, “terrorism” and “terrorist attack” to define the nature of the case, but collectively “went blind” and “lost hearing”, and they intentionally or unintentionally obscured the bloodiness in the attack and sympathized the terrorists, using words in their news reports like “radicals”, “simple weapons”, “Uygur-Han conflicts”, “stabbed and wounded the people”.
The Western’s attention on Xinjiang has never weakened, and one of the latest focuses is the “vocational education and training centers”. To bring residents influenced by extremism back to normal life, France announced to establish de-radicalization centers in 12 regions across the country; the United Kingdom published its counter-terrorism strategy and emphasized early intervention; and the United States also tried the way of rectification in communities. China uses the experience of the Western countries in counter-terrorism and establishes the vocational education and training centers with the goal of educating and rehabilitating people guilty of minor crimes or law-breaking and helping them seek reemployment. However, China’s acts are defamed by some countries and “politically accused” of establishing “concentration camp”, “infringing upon human rights”, “religious persecution” and “illegal imprisoning Muslim”, and etc.
Of course, the work of the Xinjiang vocational education and training centers is not perfect now. In terms of the content of courses, more should be added to the current “studying standard spoken and written Chinese language, studying the law, studying vocational skills and de-radicalization”. They should offer the lecture on the outstanding traditional culture of China and its Xinjiang every week. Such lectures would not only help foster the national consciousness, civic awareness and legal consciousness of the trainees, but also enhance their cultural, mental and emotional identity. If everyone is proud of the big family of the Chinese nation consciously and voluntarily, the heresy of ethnic separation, extremist religion and violent terrorism would not be able to find a foothold easily.
Although there is neither perfect humanity and society nor a perfect system and political party, the mankind always holds eternal thirst for and pursue of the truth, the goodness and the beauty. Adhering to express one’s appeals in a peace rather than violent way and coexist of different culture and religions are the bottom line of human civilization. It should also be the consensus of all mankind.