Former Sri Lanka Navy chief: Xinjiang is on the right track
Posted on September 22nd, 2019

Dialogue with Yang Rui Courtesy CGTN

“Your doing is working,” said Jayanath Colombage, former chief of the Sri Lanka Navy and director of the Pathfinder Foundation’s Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives, when attending International Seminar on Counterterrorism, De-radicalization and Human Rights Protection held in Urumqi, China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, early this September.

“We were here in Xinjiang for the last two or three days and given an exposure of Islam teaching institute, vocational training institute, and to meet people. And we were quite free to talk to them and did talk to them. And I think China is on the right track because there is no terrorist incident in the past three years especially in Xinjiang,” Jayanath Colombage added.

From the trade hub of the ancient Silk Road to the popular travel destination with beautiful scenery and profound cultural heritage, Xinjiang has always been the mysterious land in our mind. Unfortunately, terrorism and religious extremism had cast a long shadow over the region.

During the International Seminar on Counterterrorism, De-radicalization and Human Rights Protection held in Urumqi, Xinjiang, in recent days, experts from many countries discussed and exchange views on counterterrorism and human rights, and visit various parts of Xinjiang to see the efforts and results in the fight against terrorism and extremism, the development of human rights protection in the region, and students at Kashgar Vocational Skills Education and Training Center.01:28

Fighting terrorism and extremism are difficult tasks faced by the entire world. As for Xinjiang, separatism is the hotbed in which terrorism and extremism take root.

Never in Chinese history has Xinjiang been referred to as “East Turkistan,” and there has never been any state known as “East Turkistan.” At the turn of the 20th century, separatists and religious extremists in and outside China, inheriting the so-called theories of “Pan-Turkism” and “Pan-Islamism” created by former colonialists in an attempt to split China and control Xinjiang.

Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks in the U.S., separatist, terrorist and extremist forces stepped up their collaboration to launch terrorist attacks in Xinjiang as terrorism and extremism spread around the globe.

With numerous efforts of de-radicalization and eradicating terrorism, Xinjiang’s economic growth hit a new record and attracted lots of tourists recently. 

According to the white paper on the Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang released by China’s State Council Information Office this March, in 2018, tourism in Xinjiang grew rapidly: Tourists from inside and outside China numbered over 150 million, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent; foreign tourists totaled 2.4032 million, a year-on-year increase of 10.78 percent; tourist spending totaled 252.2 billion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 41.6 percent.

“De-radicalization is a process not started in China. It has come from outside through social media and people-to-people contact. Now they want a separate state. I mean this idea is going against the flow and the trend. They want to cut out a separate state for themselves. For what? Who will benefit from a separate state? Is the economy going better (to be separated) than being part of China?” Jayanath Colombage emphasized.

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