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China Voice: A soft touch in anti-terror fight

English.news.cn   2014-05-27 19:40:09

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- As well as tough counter-terrorism moves, measures to improve quality of life by securing jobs and education should also be adopted as a soft but fundamental touch to address the threat.

In the wake of a series of bloody terror attacks, the top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) unveiled a policy package on governing the country's far-western region of Xinjiang on Monday.

Creating jobs is top of the agenda while balancing the geographical spread of education is labelled a "priority."

The CPC leadership vowed to ensure that at least one person from zero-employment families is offered a job and free senior high school education in southern Xinjiang. Chinese children are generally entitled to nine years of free education, covering primary and junior high schools.

The two focuses are well chosen.

Terrorist attacks in Xinjiang in recent years were initiated by an extreme minority who have their own unique features. However, the perpetrators also share similarities -- for example, youth, poverty, unemployment or little educational background.

Xinjiang police busted 23 terrorist and religious extremist groups and caught over 200 suspects earlier this month. Many of the suspects were in their 20s and 30s, people who consumed terrorist propaganda videos and audio online and via storage devices and learned how to make explosives.

All the 11 terrorist suspects wanted by Xinjiang police in July last year were educated to junior high school-level or below.

Police authorities said many such suspects seized in recent years had been encouraged by video and audio products provided by terrorist groups in the periphery of China.

A lack of education among the young could easily lead them to misinterpret Islamic teachings, leave them vulnerable to instigation by extremists, and make it difficult for them to find jobs to lift them out of hardship.

The anti-terrorist fight entails both the "hard" and "soft" touch.

On the one hand, China vowed a harsh crackdown and preemptive strategy against terrorist attacks. The country has announced a year-long anti-terror operation nationwide, with Xinjiang as the "main battlefield."

On the other, the government has urged efforts to ensure better lives and more balanced development for residents from all ethnic groups in the autonomous region. They must have livelihoods and a promising future to enjoy.

Despite double-digit economic growth in recent years, Xinjiang, which accounts for one-sixth of China's territory, still lags behind economically and has problems of imbalance in wealth and development.

The CPC leadership vowed special measures on Monday to boost development in southern Xinjiang, an area mainly inhabited by Muslim Uygur people that has been frequently attacked by terrorists and extremists.

The leadership also said China will stick to the opening-up strategy in Xinjiang to build it into a core zone of the proposed Silk Road Economic Belt.

The policies, including those on employment and education, outlined on Monday should be carefully carried out so as to better equip the young to dispel hostility and promote social justice, and leave absolutely no chance for penetration by overseas terrorist forces.

Editor: Yang Yi
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