Opinion

Prosperity calms once-restive Xinjiang


Published : 22 Jun 2021 04:15 PM | Updated : 25 Jun 2021 03:04 AM

Along with some foreign and Chinese journalists of China Media Group (CMG) from Beijing, I am now visiting Xinjiang. The official visit is aimed to learn the situation on the ground and let the world know the truth about the northwest region of China.

From June 19 to 21, the journalists have been to an Islamic Institute, Islamic Grand Bazaar, Tianshan Lake, China Color Cotton Corporation, Qifang Art Gallery, and Urumqi Vocational University in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

I am mesmerized to come across many under-construction projects including buildings, highways, railways, and subways in the provincial capital. I have realized that Urumqi has been going through a vast development spree for several years. 

Though Xinjiang is historically abundant with natural beauty and resources, It had to go through difficulties to come to the current stage of prosperity. Because once terrorism made the region restive. 

But the pragmatic leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has calmed the once-unstable Xinjiang with development, prosperity, and eradication of abject poverty. 

The successive leaders of the party applied carrot and stick policy to uproot extremism from the region. Under the policy, they, on the one hand, beefed up security measures and plugged the loopholes of laws and the justice system. On the other hand, they undertook initiatives to bring prosperity to terrorized Xinjiang. 

Analysts are of the view that the party has precisely figured out ignorance, unemployment, the distorted narrative of religions, and poverty as the salient reasons for terrorism. Accordingly, just as it has stopped violence with heavy hands, so has worked out pragmatic moves to deal with the reasons. 

I think that the CPC has undertaken multifaceted approaches to face the crisis with an extra focus on development and poverty eradication programs. The party unerringly planned to mainstream and engage people in the development process for preventing extremism. It has taken easy ways out of already-radicalized people. 

The party has established many vocational education and training centers across the restive region. Though Sinophobes brand them as concentration camps, in my opinion, the centers have been a role model for the world in eradicating terrorism. Because they are addressing both the symptoms and root causes of extremism. 

The centers have effectively eradicated the breeding ground for religious extremism by helping their trainees acquire better education and vocational skills, find employment, and increase their incomes, and most of all, safeguard social stability and long-term peace. 

They deliver a curriculum that includes standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills, and deradicalization. Based on local demand and employment opportunities, the courses have been designed to ensure the trainees are employable in the job market upon completing their studies. 

Since trainees have fallen under the influence and control of religious extremism to a greater or lesser extent, the centers have integrated deradicalization into the whole process of education and training. Thus the centers have built a large knowledge-based, skilled, and innovative workforce in Xinjiang. 

Every year from 2014 to 2019, the centers provided training sessions to an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers, allowing them to go on to find stable employment. During the period, the total number of people employed in Xinjiang rose from 11.35 million to 13.3 million, an increase of 17.2 percent. 

From 2018 to 2019, a total of 155,000 people from registered poor households have found employment outside their hometowns. Thus the centers have contributed to a steady increase in the income of residents and workers. 

From 2014 to 2019, the per capita disposable income of urban residents in Xinjiang increased by 8.6 percent. The rural residents have witnessed an average annual nominal growth of their income of 8.9 percent. 

The world has already learned that Xinjiang has bidden farewell to absolute poverty. People now have stable access to education, medical care, and other civil amenities in the region. 

The CPC has undertaken a series of major decisions and arrangements that have put Xinjiang in a special position to ensure its steady and sound economic development over time. 

The top priority was given to the needs of the people and allocated over 70 percent of the regional budget expenditure for ensuring and improving people’s livelihood. For the same reason, the party has also promoted major livelihood programs relating to employment, education, healthcare, and social security. 

The regional government has mobilized more than 1.12 million civil servants to establish kin-like relations with 1.69 million households of those in poverty. They have wholeheartedly helped people solve difficulties in production and life. The central government has injected more than 40 billion yuan into poverty alleviation projects in Xinjiang last year alone. 

In my eyes, as a result of the assimilation of people into the mainstream of society, the development process and eradication of absolute poverty, peace, and stability have been restored in Xinjiang. Since 2015, the region has witnessed not a single incident of religious violence. 

The extremists have gradually lost their grounds as people are now more interested in earning money and living happy, peaceful, and prosperous lives instead of resorting to violence and insecurity. Thus prosperity has calmed once-restive Xinjiang. But Sinophobes are, out of jealousy, running fake news of human rights violations, forced labor and birth control, genocide, and Muslim oppression in the region.  

-     Md Enamul Hassan is a news editor and broadcast journalist at China Media Group (CMG) in Beijing, China.