By Gifty Arthur
The Chinese government, has asked that claims by the Donald Trump administration and the Western media suggesting that, it is visiting terror on minority groups in Xinjiang, a province of China, in its fight against terrorism, be disregard.
According to China, the US with backing from the Western media, have been peddling falsehood and presenting distorted information about happenings in that part of China in their attempt to paint the Chinese government bad, so that it will turn its attention on it to cause mayhem like it has done elsewhere.
At a media bringing last Wednesday in Accra, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang, said they have had to set the record straight, because of how in the past certain stories have been concocted and twisted just to achieve certain goals.
The Chinese Ambassador not mincing words said, the much reported cases of attacks in Xinjiang, were terrorists and extremists attacks just like it has been happening in other place across the globe.
He said, those reports by the West were not only “hypocritical”, “baseless” but smacks of “double standards”.
Mr Wang, who was convinced the US has an agenda against China said, it was untrue claims by Western media that China is targeting and terrorizing certain minority groups in Xinjiang.
He continued by saying that, claim that the Chinese government, has built concentration camps, where these people mainly Muslims are attacked, were all unfounded.
“China opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism, and opposes double standards on fighting terrorism. It opposes linking terrorism and extremism with specific countries, ethnic groups or religions.
“It advocates comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and root causes, with the dual purpose of striking at terrorist activities and eliminating poverty so that there will be no room for terrorism to breed,” Mr Wang told the media.
The attacks in Xinjiang, were led by East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a group declared by the UN as a terrorist group.
Though their activities resulted in the death of hundreds and injuries to thousands, the Ambassador argued that since 2016, no such attack, has been recorded declaring Xinjiang as “peaceful” and “safe”.
According to reports, to combat the threat of the ETIM spreading its tentacles, the Chinese government intensified its crackdown on the group and built training camps in the area to deradicalise people who were coerced, incited, or induced into participating in carrying out the terror attacks.
But despite these efforts, China, has been accused of being repressive, prompting a Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, to urge Congress to pass a bill to counter China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang.
In the view of Mr Wang, the West is on a course to discredit China.
“Counterterrorism and de-radicalisation in Xinjiang, has always been conducted in accordance with law.
“Currently, China’s anti-terrorism law system is composed of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the Criminal Procedure Law of China amongst other international conventions,” Mr Wang said.
Dismissing claims of concentration camps, where these terrorist groups are said to be kept to for severe punishment, Mr Wang said there was no such camp in the first place.
He went on to say that what they had were Vocational Education and Training Centers where they trained, arrested terrorists and extremists and equipped them with different types of vocation according to the Chine laws to become better individuals.
The Ambassador, who could not tell how many of such people were kept in these centres said as at now, nobody is being held there.
“Xinjiang is a key battlefield in the fight against terrorism and extremism in China. For some time Xinjiang has been plagued by terrorism and religious extremism, which pose a serious threat to the lives of the people in the region”, he said.
Mr Wang continued “Addressing both the symptoms and root causes and integrating preventative measures and a forceful response, Xinjiang has established vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law to prevent the breeding and spread of terrorism and religious extremism, effectively curbing the frequent terrorist incidents and protecting the rights to life, health, and development of the people of all ethnic groups. Worthwhile results have been achieved”.
Terrorism and extremism have a long history in Xinjiang. Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks in the US, the “East Turkistan” forces inside and outside China have stepped up their collaboration as terrorism and extremism spread around the globe, trying desperately to establish “East Turkistan” through “Jihad” (holy war).
Between 1990 and the end of 2016 separatists, religious extremists and terrorists plotted and carried out several thousand acts of terrorism such as bombings, assassinations, poisoning, arson, assaults, and riots in Xinjiang.
Many innocent people were killed and several hundred police officers died in the line of duty. The property losses incurred were enormous. In the face of these real threats, Xinjiang has taken resolute action to fight terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law.
There have been no violent terrorist cases and incidents for three consecutive years in Xinjiang. The spread of extremism has been effectively contained, public security has notably improved, and people of all ethnic groups are able to live and work in peace with a much stronger sense of gain, happiness and security.