VI. Experience in Countering Extremism
Over the years, in response to the threats posed by terrorism and extremism, and in order to prevent them from breeding and expanding, and to guarantee individual safety and social stability, many countries have explored measures based on their own conditions, and gained experience in effectively combating terrorism and extremism.
Some countries have established "deradicalization centers" to educate victims of extremist teachings and reverse their thinking. These centers rehabilitate the trainees through individual or collective sports activities and psychological counseling, and discussions on religion and secularity, and enable them to re-assimilate into society through skills and vocational training.
Some countries have set up education and transformation centers. They divide extremists into three categories: those who recognize their error, latent criminals, and active criminals, and try to remove them from extremist influences with the assistance of their families and communities, together with measures like psychological intervention and economic aid.
Some countries educate and transform terrorists and potential terrorists in both prisons and communities, and deradicalize those involved in terrorist-related offences through the process of identification, assessment, rehabilitation, reeducation, return to society and follow-up.
Some countries denounce the erroneous interpretation of Islamic doctrine by extremists, encourage religious inclusiveness, advocate "moderate Islam", and set up education centers to transform those influenced by extremist thinking in two phases – centralized control and return to society.
Some countries have launched transformation and disengagement programs, compelling individuals with terrorist connections and suspected terrorist returnees to participate in training, and setting up isolation centers for extremists to prevent them from spreading extreme views to other detainees.
Some countries have taken measures in communities to intervene in the spread of extremism at its earliest stages, and mobilized society to prevent terrorist and extremist activities by taking timely action against any inclination on the part of young people to join extremist organizations.
Xinjiang's practice of educating and rehabilitating the victims of terrorist and religious extremist teachings through vocational education and training centers is similar to efforts by other countries and regions, with the same goals of dealing with the problem at source and protecting people's basic human rights.
Xinjiang's vocational education and training programs have achieved notable results, and contributed experience to international actions against terrorism and extremism.
– Fighting extremism in accordance with local conditions. In its vocational education and training, Xinjiang has learned from experience of other countries, and striven to achieve real results in line with the actual conditions of the autonomous region. In countering terrorism and extremism, Xinjiang draws on the experience of other countries, and provides people influenced by terrorist and religious extremist teachings with education in standard spoken and written Chinese, an understanding of the law, and training in vocational skills. These efforts have eradicated extremist thoughts, delivered widely recognized results, helped to safeguard social stability in the region, and protected the environment for the healthy development of religions.
– Putting prevention first while taking firm action on terrorism and extremism. In its fight against terrorism and extremism, Xinjiang has consistently adopted the policy of addressing both the symptoms and root causes. On the one hand, Xinjiang strikes hard at terrorist and extremist forces, and on the other hand, it gives prevention a high priority, sparing no effort to educate and rehabilitate the large number of people who have committed only minor offences under the influence of terrorism and religious extremism. Xinjiang adopts an approach of rehabilitation rather than punishment and compassion rather than rejection to free them of religious extremist thinking. It teaches them laws and standard spoken and written Chinese, so that they can become educated individuals with vocational skills – useful individuals and individuals of value to society.
– Promoting the rule of law. It is an essential requirement of developing socialism with Chinese characteristics to build a socialist country governed by the rule of law. In the process of promoting vocational education and training and eliminating the environment for breeding terrorism and religious extremism, Xinjiang promotes the rule of law, upholds the authority of the Constitution and laws, adopts appropriate legal thinking and measures to deal with problems, and confines all its efforts within the legal framework. The deradicalization work of the vocational education and training centers is always based on facts and laws, without targeting any specific region, ethnic group or religion.
– Respecting and protecting human rights. The vocational education and training efforts in Xinjiang protect people's basic human rights, and at the same time rehabilitate as far as possible those who have committed unlawful or criminal offences under the influence of religious extremist teachings. The centers place the trainees first, manage them in line with regulations like schools, provide people-centered services, strictly prohibit any form of humiliation or mistreatment, and guarantee their personal freedom. In the centers, the trainees receive high-quality education and training in diverse skills, and their right to education is fully safeguarded.
– The government must take on the responsibility and achieve tangible results. It is the bounden duty of a responsible government to protect its people's lives, health, property, and other basic rights, and provide a safe, stable and harmonious living environment. Governments at all levels in Xinjiang, bearing their responsibility to the people in mind, are engaged in a host of patient, careful and extremely hard efforts to educate and rehabilitate victims of terrorist and religious extremist teachings. Success in vocational education and training promotes justice, safeguards people's dignity and presents a positive image of government.