Xinjiang on the road to modern governance
The rapid development of science and technology since the beginning of this century, big data in particular, has helped countries to strengthen their social governance. Many countries are using big data to explore the best ways to govern society and promote national security. China, too, has been using big data to conduct trials on comprehensive governance, fighting terrorism and maintaining stability in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region with tangible results.
After the defeat of the Islamic State group, the remaining terrorists fled Syria and Iraq and sought refuge in other places, including Xinjiang. This has posed a severe challenge to local security departments, prompting them to use modern technologies to improve governance.
Over the past few years, local governments in Xinjiang have used modern technologies to strengthen social governance and establish an integrated real-time platform to supervise, manage and respond to social security needs. The platform, together with multiple mobile terminals and communication networks, enables quick collection of information on criminal suspects and identifying security hazards.
The platform also helps the authorities to efficiently manage emergencies. For instance, police in Xinjiang can arrive at the scene of an incident in two to three minutes after getting information, which is a revolutionary development compared with other regions in the country, even overseas.
Given the situation in Xinjiang, it can be safely said that incorporating modern technologies, especially big data, into Xinjiang's social governance has been rewarding, not least because no terrorist cases have been reported in the past two years. The fact that the application of big data to ensure all criminals are held accountable has also deterred extremists.
In a word, advanced technology has played an important role in social governance in Xinjiang.
Yet certain countries, including the United States, ignore the significant progress made in Xinjiang's anti-terrorism campaign, perhaps because they prefer to see turmoil in the region. Claiming that China uses big data to violate the human rights of minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang, these countries have threatened to sanction Chinese technology companies that have taken part in Xinjiang's modern governance.
The US has no justification in criticizing China's social governance efforts, which focus on improving social security in order to protect the human rights of all its citizens.
Speaking of monitoring and spying on people, no country can rival the US. The Prism surveillance program exposed by former US National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden, and a recent report that the US has collected and studied information on social platforms across the world on an unprecedented scale show how the US has been violating human rights.
Contrary to the US' practice, China mainly applies big data irrespective of the nationality of those monitored in a bid to counter the threat posed by East Turkestan Islamic Movement terrorists. Besides, the global trend is to use advanced technology to improve social governance.
The US is once again resorting to double standard to criticize China and "blacklisting" its high-tech companies. The US uses the pretext of security and governance needs to spy on people across the globe. Yet it censures China's governance system and uses protectionist measures to "punish" Chinese companies.
China has accumulated rich experiences in governance. At a time when the world faces increasing unconventional security threats and Xinjiang has to combat terrorism and extremism, the Chinese government knows better than any other government how to counter the threat of terrorism.
Therefore, the US should abandon its hypocrisy and stop criticizing China. History will prove the modern form of governance in Xinjiang is good for the region.
The author is a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.