Kashgar gives top priority to education
Updated: 2013-03-13 07:12
By Cui Jia (China Daily)
Education has become the top priority for Kashgar, a prefecture in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
This is despite the area, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, still being under pressure from terrorists, separatists and extremists, the prefecture's commissioner said.
Banners regarding maintaining social stability on the streets of Kashgar deliver the message of Xinjiang people to those who constantly want to sabotage the peaceful life of others, said Mutalif Wubuli, who is also a deputy from the Xinjiang delegation to the 12th National People's Congress.
He showed a China Daily reporter a video clip of firework displays during this year's Spring Festival that he recorded on his mobile phone.
"More than 10,000 people gathered in the city center of Kashgar to watch fireworks that day. What we were worried about was not violent attacks but a stampede caused by the massive crowd."
He said that although terrorism and violence remain rare in Kashgar prefecture, they can have a potential impact worldwide.
Last March in Kashgar, Abdukerim Mamut was found guilty of running a terrorist organization, leading terrorist attacks and murder. He was sentenced to death.
On the morning of Feb 28, 2012, he called the members together at his house, handed out knives and axes and gave instructions on an attack to be carried out later that day.
At 6 pm, the group went to a crowded pedestrian street in Yecheng county near Kashgar and attacked people with the knives and axes. Thirteen people were killed and 16 injured, two of whom later died. Police went to the scene, arrested Abdukerim and shot seven terrorists dead.
"Less-educated young people are manipulated easier by reading and watching material that spreads extreme beliefs by misinterpreting the Quran, so education is the key to Kashgar's stability," Mutalif said.
The senior high school entry rate level in Kashgar rose from 43 percent in 2010 to 63 percent in 2012. Mutalif expects the figure to reach 90 percent by 2015.
He also pledges to provide more learning materials and supply more information on mobile devices in ethnic languages, such as Uygur, because more than 90 percent of Kashgar's residents are Uygur.
Nayim Yasen, an NPC deputy from the Xinjiang delegation and president of Xinjiang High Court, said: "We've seen lots of illegal material containing extreme religious thoughts transported from provinces like Guangdong, Gansu, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and even abroad, so it requires nationwide efforts to stop its production and transportation.
"Meanwhile, there is a shortage of reading and multimedia materials in ethnic languages in many fields in Xinjiang."
Mutalif joined the Twitter-like micro blog Sina Weibo last year to keep in touch with grassroots people and learn about the most discussed current issues. He has received many complaints and forwarded them to relevant departments.
"More important, I want people to monitor my behavior through Weibo. I post my picture on it so people can recognize and report me if they ever spot me in luxury entertainment places. Of course, I would never go," he said.
(China Daily 03/13/2013 page6)