Efforts to combat extremism defended

Updated: 2016-06-03 07:27

By China Daily(China Daily)

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A government white paper defended on Thursday China's efforts in fighting religious extremism, saying it is a just act to safeguard the fundamental interests of the country and the people.

In the name of religion, extremists spread radical and extremist views and use such means to try to establish a theocracy, the paper said.

Religious extremism is by nature "anti-human, anti-society, anti-civilization and anti-religion", according to the white paper, titled Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang.

It tackles the protection of religious belief in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in seven parts.

Religious extremism betrays and distorts religious doctrines, deludes and deceives the public - particularly young people, according to the white paper. It transforms some people into extremists and terrorists, said the document, issued by the State Council Information Office.

Under international influences, religious extremism has grown and spread in Xinjiang in recent years.

The white paper states that it has become a real danger that undermines national unity and ethnic solidarity, sabotages religious and social harmony, impairs social stability and peace in Xinjiang, and endangers the lives and property of people from all ethnic groups.

Religious extremists have planned and carried out a series of severe and violent terrorist attacks in China, killing or injuring religious personnel, believers and other innocent people, according to the white paper.

Shewket Imin, an official with the Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China, said at a news conference that the key to combating extremism lies in local communities, where problems tend to form.

Another official attending the news conference was asked about Ilham Tohti - a Uygur teacher imprisoned for life in 2014 for separatism - and said the sentence was based on the facts.

Jerla Isamudinhe, vice-governor of the Xinjiang regional government, said, "The judgment did not target any particular ethnic group or religion."

The white paper said that normal religious activities in Xinjiang are protected by law, religious organizations are responsible for coordinating internal religious affairs, and the government should not interfere.

"No Xinjiang citizen has been punished because of his or her rightful religious beliefs," it said.

Xi Yanchun, spokeswoman for the information office, said the religious circle in Xinjiang has played a great role in maintaining regional safety, promoting the local economy and providing better services.