Xinjiang revises its antiextremism regulation
Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Tuesday revised its anti-extremism regulation to allow local governments to set up institutions to provide people affected by extremist thoughts with vocational skills training and psychological counseling.
The amended regulation, approved by the 13th Standing Committee of The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’s People’s Congress, was released on the website of the Standing Committee of People’s Congress in Xinjiang on Tuesday. The regulation
is now in effect.
The new regulation provides a detailed definition of extremist activities, security precautions, and government responsibilities as well as counter-measures. The new regulation also allows local governments to hand out harsher penalties for extremist activities.
The revised regulation includes new clauses, allowing local governments to set up education, skills training and psychological counseling institutions for people who have been affected by extremist thoughts.
The institutions will offer instruction on Putonghua, laws, regulations and vocational skills training. They will also provide counter-terrorism training, and psychological counseling to people affected by extremist thoughts to help them return to society and their family.
Administrative departments have been established that will be responsible for organizing and coordinating the institutions to promote the legalization and standardization of the “education transformation system,” said the regulation.
Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the amendment to the regulation shows China is developing a legal framework for its anti-extremism efforts.
Zhu said that “the changes mark the deepening of the legalization and standardization of antiextremism work in Xinjiang.”
Existing vocational training centers in Xinjiang were set up to train unemployed and disadvantaged youth, but were used by some people to spread extremist ideas, Xiong Kunxin, an expert of ethnic studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Most of those who took part in terror attacks in Xinjiang in recent years were unemployed young people, so providing education opportunities and de-extremism counseling will benefit regional stability, Xiong noted.
As part of China’s objective to eliminate absolute poverty by 2020 and create a “moderately prosperous society,” the Xinjiang’s regional government is determined to help 22 impoverished counties eradicate poverty.
The regional government says it has helped more than 60,000 unemployed people in the most poverty-stricken southern part of the region find jobs in the first half of 2018.
According to the regulation, extremism is defined as behavior that interferes with the religious freedom of others as well as public cultural activities, wearing badges that promote extremism or destroying public property.
People who violate the regulation will be punished in accordance with China’s CounterTerrorism Law, Public Security Administration Punishments Law and Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism regulations The amended regulation deletes previous clauses that detail the level of punishment given to different violations and their seriousness. Previously, if the circumstances were relatively minor, violators would be criticized by the public security department.
The amendment now allows authorities to give offenders harsher punishment, said Xiong, noting that this shows the Xinjiang regional government’s resolve in dealing with extremism in the region.
Zhu said that while other countries have criticized Xinjiang’s anti-extremism measures, extremist activities and radical movements are on the rise in their own countries.