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Better Xinjiang security boosts safety, tourism: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-10 21:11
Women dressed in colorful outfits perform at the 27th Silk Road Turpan Grape Festival in Turpan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Sept 3, 2018. [Photo provided to]

Should there be tight security that leaves no space for extremism and terrorism or lax security in the name of freedom? This is a question that has become pertinent to many countries today given the risks of terrorist attacks. In the United States and Europe, citizens have chosen the former. Likewise in China.

Not least in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region where most residents - along with the majority of Chinese people in other parts of China - have put safety first. However, it seems those working for Human Rights Watch disagree.

That explains why, despite tourists who have visited the region saying they felt safe, it has called for sanctions on China, pointing a finger at the government's strict security measures in the region.

Tightened security, which has greatly squeezed the room for possible attacks by terrorists and extremists without restricting people's freedom of religious belief, has undoubtedly contributed to the boom in tourism in the region. Tourism has reached a historical high with 50 million tourists visiting the region so far this year. It should go without saying that the boom in tourism is bringing real benefits to the local economy and local residents.

For local residents of various ethnicities who want nothing else but a peaceful life, there is no reason for them not to welcome the tight security given the previous violent incidents in the region.

There may be tightened security checks in such key areas as airports or railway stations. It is quite possible and natural that some who are suspected of being involved in terrorist or extremist activities should be detained subject to further investigation.

However, if one looks through a microscope, it is not difficult to enlarge a minor defect into a big problem while ignoring the big picture.

This is what Human Rights Watch has done. As an onlooker, it does not and will never know the security concerns of the majority of Xinjiang residents, and neither does it appreciate how extremism and terrorism have disrupted the normal lives of local residents and harmed the local economy.

Tight security is the right and only choice for the government to rid Xinjiang of extremism and terrorism. The region's booming tourism industry and reviving economy are testament to that.

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