During the ongoing session of the Ninth National People’s Congress, Abulait Abudurexit, chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has been a popular figure among the press. On March 8, Abudurexit gave a small press conference in the office of the Xinjiang regional government in Beijing, briefing reporters on the economic development and social stability in Xinjiang, the northwest area of China that borders Mongolia in the northeast; Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirghiszstan, and Tadzhikistan in the west; and Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India in the southwest. The first in a two-part series, Abudrexit focuses on anti-terrorism.
Since the last century -- with changes in the domestic and world situation -- terrorist activities by domestic and overseas reactionary elements have been complicated and changeable, and Xinjiang has made remarkable achievements in fighting against violence and terrorism -- and will continue to do so under the current new situation, said Abulait Abudurexit, chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in a small gathering of reporters in the Xinjiang regional government office in Beijing.
Abuderexit fielded several question from reporters about terrorist activities in Xinjiang, especially following last year’s terrorist attacks on the United States and their aftermath.
Abudurexit said separatists in Xinjiang at home or abroad get both material and financial support from some extreme terror organizations abroad, and violent actions that have taken place in Xinjiang received financial aid from overseas.
"During the US anti-terror war in Afghanistan, we did find some separatists in Xinjiang who joined some training programs abroad. Chinese police had caught some terrorists who returned to Xinjiang secretly after receiving training in the terrorist camps of Afghanistan and some other countries. The police of those countries concerned had also extradited and handed some of those terrorists to China."
China is a country based on rule of law, and all violent actions that harmed the national security and people’s interests should be punished according to law, he added.
Abulait Abudurexit said that the paper on "East Turkistan" terrorist forces issued by the State Council Information Office has made it clear that various terrorist activities have been under way in Xinjiang since the 1950s. Incomplete statistics show that from 1990 to 2001, the "East Turkistan" terrorist forces inside and outside Chinese territory were responsible for over 200 terrorist incidents in Xinjiang, resulting in the deaths of 162 people of all ethnic groups, including grass-roots officials and religious personnel, and injuries to more than 440 people.
But although small-scaled activities of violence and terror have never stopped, generally speaking Xinjiang enjoyed stability in 2001 without occurrence of major terrorist and violent incidents, Abudurexit said. Government at both the central and regional level have been fully aware of the complicity of the struggle against terrorism, and have therefore prepared for a long-term campaign, he added.
"Anti-terrorism is a war that takes time. Our cracking down on the 'East Turkistan' terrorist force is not against any ethnic group or any religion. Instead, it is to fight violence and criminal activities so as to better protect the common interests of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and guarantee normal proceedings of religious activities," Abudurexit said.
Tomorrow: Development of West China
(By Yan Xinxia, china.org.cn staff reporter, March 12, 2002)