Education, employment set to boost security in Xinjiang

Updated: 2014-05-28 00:43

By GAO BO in Urumqi (China Daily)

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The central government's decision to crack down on terrorists and improve livelihoods in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will help bring security and prosperity, residents and analysts said.

Urumqi resident Zhao Jiepei, 28, mother of a 3-year-old boy, is confident the measures can help. "I think everyone like me wants their children to live in a stable and developed society," she said.

Adiljan Ablat, a professor of politics and public management at Xinjiang University, said, "The separatists, who seek independence for a so-called Eastern Turkestan, believe that once they gradually influence young people, they can achieve their goal of separating from China."

Ma Pinyan, a senior anti-terrorism researcher in Xinjiang, praised the government's efforts to make employment the top priority in improving livelihoods, including helping at least one person in unemployed families.

"If young people have jobs and better educational quality, they will live better lives and have the ability to distinguish what is bad," he said.

This year, the regional government has earmarked 900 million yuan ($150 million) to support 195 programs covering ethnic handicrafts, farm produce, Uygur medicine and the clothing industry.

A statement from a meeting of China's top leaders on Monday said stability in Xinjiang is strategically vital to China's reform and development as well as national security.

To achieve security and development in the region, the government promised to vigorously fight terrorism and religious extremism and to improve livelihoods and the region's economy.

An attack on Thursday at a morning market in Urumqi, the regional capital, left 39 innocent victims dead and 94 injured.

On Monday, police in the region captured a five-member terrorist group in Hotan and discovered 1.8 metric tons of materials for explosive devices, the regional information office said.

Police said the group, led by Abuliz Dawut, planned to carry out a terror attack in Hotan similar to that in Urumqi.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the East Turkestan Islamic Movement was increasing its influence in Xinjiang through frequent terrorist attacks in the region.

"The terrorist activities must be suppressed with great efforts," he said. "But it will take time."

The local disciplinary body has punished 65 officials who have not effectively carried out anti-terror policies since 2013.