Xinjiang dou­bles ter­ror fight bud­get

At­tack­ers must be shown no mercy, de­clares top re­gional of­fi­cial

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CUI JIA and GAO BO in Urumqi

The Xinjiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion plans to dou­ble the bud­get for its pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau to fight ter­ror­ism this year, with a top re­gional of­fi­cial vow­ing no mercy for ter­ror­ists.

Po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers and ex­perts say more as­sis­tance for young peo­ple and the un­em­ployed in ru­ral ar­eas will help to pre­vent them from be­ing lured by re­li­gious ter­ror­ists.

The re­gion’s pub­lic se­cu­rity bureau will re­ceive 2 mil­lion yuan ($330,420) this year to com­bat ter­ror­ism, ac­cord­ing to the draft of the gov­ern­ment’s bud­get re­port re­leased at the an­nual ses­sion of Xinjiang Re­gional Peo­ple’s Congress, which started on Thurs­day.

This amount will be part of 6.1 bil­lion yuan — a 24 per­cent rise year-on-year — ear­marked for all pub­lic se­cu­rity forces, in­clud­ing armed po­lice.

De­spite a se­ries of ter­ror­ist at­tacks last year, se­cu­rity in the re­gion re­mains largely sta­ble, as au­thor­i­ties have stepped up their ef­forts in key ar­eas, Nur Bekri, chair­man of the Xinjiang re­gional gov­ern­ment, told law­mak­ers in his work re­port, de­liv­ered in the Uygur lan­guage.

Such mea­sures will be im­proved this year, es­pe­cially at the grass­roots level, he said.

“We must con­stantly strike hard against vi­o­lent ter­ror­ism, show­ing no mercy, in ac­cor­dance with the law, and main­tain­ing a high­handed pos­ture.

“The gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to curb the spread of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism as well as pre­vent se­vere vi­o­lent ter­ror­ist at­tacks,” he said.

Nur added that pre­vent­ing and elim­i­nat­ing re­li­gious ex­trem­ism has be­come an im­por­tant task for the re­gion as it strives to main­tain long-term sta­bil­ity.

Most ter­ror­ist at­tacks in 2013 took place in town­ships or vil­lages where lo­cal peo­ple have emerged as ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble tar­gets for re­li­gious ex­trem­ists.

Many of the at­tacks in­volved sui­cide and tar­geted lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing po­lice, said Ma Pinyan, a se­nior an­titer­ror­ism re­searcher and deputy di­rec­tor of the eth­nic and re­li­gious stud­ies center at Xinjiang Academy of So­cial Sciences. Ma said the spread of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism has led to more at­tacks, as po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions showed that most of the at­tack­ers were re­cruited and trained by ex­trem­ists. Ji­hadist flags were also found at crime scenes or at the ex­trem­ists’ hide­outs.

Gulis­tan Azez, a mem­ber of the Xinjiang Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence and deputy head of Yuepuhu town­ship in Xinjiang’s Kash­gar pre­fec­ture, said, “High school grad­u­ates who are un­der 28 and un­em­ployed are much more eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated by re­li­gious ex­trem­ism.

“To re­duce such a pos­si­bil­ity, we pro­vide vo­ca­tional train­ing and as­sist them to find jobs. We have to help young peo­ple be­fore they are tar­geted by re­li­gious ex­trem­ism.”

Abudukadeer Shawut, a po­lit­i­cal ad­viser and imam of China’s big­gest mosque, Id Kah in the city of Kash­gar, said: “Re­li­gious ex­trem­ists of­ten choose young peo­ple with lit­tle ed­u­ca­tion and no jobs as their tar­gets and use money to lure them.

“They of­ten re­cruit their forces in vil­lages where the ed­u­ca­tion level is low. We must let peo­ple, es­pe­cially young peo­ple, know what the real re­li­gion is and pre­vent them from fall­ing into this trap,” he said.

But peo­ple shouldn’t con­fuse re­li­gious ex­trem­ists with those who are not sat­is­fied with so­ci­ety, Abudukadeer said.

Some peo­ple may have neg­a­tive at­ti­tudes to­ward lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials or po­lice of­fi­cers who are rude. Con­tact the writer at cui­jia@ chi­ and gaobo@ chi­

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