China / Society

Rule of law is 'key to Xinjiang terror fight'

By Cui Jia in Urumqi (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-26 07:37

Regional leadership promises to educate people about their rights

Combating extremism and terrorism in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will rely on the rule of law, and more regulations will be drafted to deal with the complicated situation there, according to officials.

A resolution announced after a three-day meeting of the region's leadership stated that it is necessary to educate people about the law.

Mutalif Wubuli, commissioner of southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture, said, "In Kashgar, many people still believe religion is above the law.

"They'd rather believe everything the religious extremists say than any law, and the extremists, terrorists and separatists use this to manipulate people to carry out terrorist attacks to achieve their goals.

"The government desperately needs to educate people about the law and to let them know about their rights and responsibilities."

Measures to be taken include pushing forward efforts to draft regulations that promote ethnic unity, and studying details of how to implement anti-terrorism laws.

During the meeting, which was held in Urumqi and ended on Tuesday, it was agreed that the rule of law should be used to combat extremism, terrorism and separatism "so that the region can achieve social stability and lasting peace".

The region will also improve legislation on eliminating religious extremism, on Internet management, and on cracking down on audio and video content containing terrorist and violent materials.

Yuergul Japar, deputy director of Xinjiang People's Congress, the regional legislature, said at the meeting, "We have been drafting the new religious affairs regulations based on the latest situation, which is unique to Xinjiang.

"Many people say they have difficulty in finding legal support when handling religious affairs because the regional regulation, which was passed 20 years ago, is clearly out of date."

She said lawmaking on religious affairs is a delicate and sensitive issue, requiring much debate and discussion. "We are speeding up the progress of getting them (new regulations) passed, because Xinjiang urgently needs this." The new regulation draft was submitted to the region's legislature for discussion on Tuesday.

The Muslim-populated region has experienced increased terrorist attacks, with religious extremism penetrating deeply.

Li Juan, president of the Xinjiang Police Academy, said at the meeting, "A majority of the terrorist attacks in Xinjiang are carried out by people under the influence of religious extremism.

"In 2014, Islamic State has also had some impact on Xinjiang, making the situation even more complicated."

Li said most of the measures already introduced to combat religious extremism are based on government directives, which have no legal effect. Law enforcers also sometimes handle religious issues inappropriately, causing conflict between the government and the local people.

"Xinjiang needs the rule of law more than other places in China," Li added.

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