IV. Striking at Terrorism and Extremism in Accordance with the Law
It is important to stick to the principles of rule of law and a law-based approach in combatting terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang. The situation is severe and complex; members of all ethnic groups are insistent in their demands that violent and terrorist crimes be punished, and that their lives and property should be protected. Therefore, in accordance with the law, the local government strikes at all sorts of violent and terrorist activities that violate human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic unity, and split the country.
Counterterrorism and de-radicalization in Xinjiang has always been conducted in accordance with the law. Currently, China's anti-terrorism law system is composed of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China, the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, the National Security Law of the People's Republic of China, the Counterterrorism Law of the People's Republic of China, the Regulations on Religious Affairs, and the Opinions on Certain Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Terrorism and Extremism jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice.
In view of local reality and in accordance with the Legislation Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, Xinjiang has accelerated the enactment of local regulations, including the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Religious Affairs, the Measures of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Implementing the Counterterrorism Law of the People's Republic of China, and the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on De-radicalization. These laws and regulations are powerful legal instruments to contain and combat terrorism and extremism. In line with the above-mentioned laws and regulations, the local government upholds the principles of protecting lawful activities, curbing illegal actions, containing extremism, resisting infiltration, and preventing and punishing crimes. The local government fully respects and safeguards civil rights including freedom of religious belief. It protects lawful religious activities, fulfills the reasonable religious demands of believers, protects the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations, strikes severely at all forms of terrorism, and forbids violations of the law and crimes such as spreading extremism, inciting ethnic hatred, and dividing the country by means of religion. Since 2014, Xinjiang has destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities, and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials.
With facts as the basis and the law as the criterion, judicial organs in Xinjiang adopt a policy that strikes the right balance between compassion and severity. Ringleaders, core members, and major offenders who are held accountable for organizing, planning and implementing violent, terrorist and religious extremist crimes are severely punished in accordance with the law; repeat offenders – those who have previously received administrative and criminal punishment or have been exempt from criminal punishment after committing violent, terrorist and religious extremist crimes are found committing the same crimes again – are severely punished in accordance with the law; minor offenders who have pled guilty are sentenced leniently in accordance with the law; juvenile offenders, deluded offenders and coerced offenders are sentenced leniently in accordance with the law; offenders who have voluntarily surrendered themselves or who have helped in cracking the cases are sentenced leniently or have their prison terms reduced in accordance with the law. Punishment is used effectively to reform the offenders and prevent crimes. While they make sure real criminals are punished, judicial organs in Xinjiang protect the defendants' right to defense and the right to use their own language in litigation to guarantee procedural justice and protect basic civil rights.
Law-based de-radicalization has been launched in Xinjiang to deal with illegal religious activities, illegal religious publicity materials, and illegal spread of religions through the internet, which has effectively curbed the breeding and spread of religious extremism. Religious extremism's interference in administration, judicial affairs, education, marriage and medical services has been eradicated; school enrollment rate has increased significantly and continues to rise; the public has become more aware of the dangers of religious extremism. At the same time, lawful religious activities have been protected more effectively through the promulgation and amendment of local regulations concerning religious affairs, including the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Religious Affairs. These local regulations specify the rights and interests of religious groups, religious staff, and venues for religious activities, and draw a clear line between lawful and illegal religious activities, providing legal guarantees for people of all ethnic groups to engage in lawful religious activities. In recent years, in particularly, mosques in Xinjiang have been equipped with running water, electricity, natural gas, radio and television facilities and libraries. Roads leading to mosques have been paved to make access easier. Bathing equipment and flushing toilets have been installed in Juma mosques. Other facilities newly installed or added to mosques include medical services, LED screens, computers, electric fans or air conditioners, fire-fighting equipment, drinking water facilities, shoe coverings or automatic dispenser of shoe coverings, and lockers. All this has greatly improved the conditions of venues for religious activities and better satisfy the reasonable religious demands of believers.
Our law-based de-radicalization effort and the fight against terrorism are a just cause that has met the expectations for safety of people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Through such effort, we have maintained social harmony and stability.