China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has made remarkable achievements in protecting human rights and providing vocational training to "educate and save" people influenced by religious extremism, a senior Xinjiang official told a UN session here on Tuesday.
Aierken Tuniyazi, an ethnic Uygur and vice chairman of the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, spoke to an audience of some 500 representatives at the ongoing 41st UN Human Rights Council session inside the UN headquarters in Geneva.
He told the diplomats and UN officials that from the 1990s to 2016, the three forces (ethnic separatism, religious extremism, and violent terrorism) working from bases both inside and outside China have planned and staged a series of incidents of terror and violence in Xinjiang, causing enormous damage to the local society.
Placing the fundamental interests of the people of all ethnic groups first on its agenda, Xinjiang has cracked down on violent terrorist crimes, taken preventive counter-terrorism measures and sought to address the root causes of extremism.
"By setting up vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law, we aim to educate and save those who were influenced by religious extremism and committed minor offences," he said.
This will prevent them from becoming victims of terrorism and extremism and protect the basic human rights of the citizens, he added.
According to the official, after more than two years of practice, vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang have scored remarkable achievements.
"The trainees have gradually broken away from the spiritual control of terrorism and extremism and got to know what is legal and what is not. They have gained access to modern knowledge and information, learned basic practical skills and secured stable employment," he said.
"Now, many trainees have graduated from the centers and lived a happy life," he said.
The Chinese side is ready to communicate and discuss with all parties on the basis of equality and mutual respect over the issue of counter-terrorism and de-extremization work, the official said.
He also invited UN human rights officials to "make on-the-spot investigations in Xinjiang, and gain a personal experience of a beautiful, true and hospitable Xinjiang."
In the past three years, not a single case of violent terrorist attack occurred in Xinjiang, he added.