China revises anti-terror rules
BEIJING, Oct 10, (Agencies): Anti-terror efforts in controversial “reeducation centres” in China’s Xinjiang region will be governed by new standardised rules, as international criticism mounts over the detention of as many one million in the restive far west.
The revised rules, passed Tuesday, call on local governments to tackle terrorism by establishing “vocational education centres” that will carry out the “educational transformation of people who have been influenced by extremism.” The centres should teach Mandarin Chinese, legal concepts and vocational training, and carry out “thought education,” according to a copy of the rules posted on the regional government’s web site.
As many as a million people are believed to have been detained in extra-judicial detention centres in Xinjiang as authorities there seek to battle what they describe as religious extremism, separatism and terrorism. A previous version of the rules issued in March 2017 included a long list of prohibitions on religious behaviour including wearing long beards and veils. It also encouraged local governments to engage in “educational transformation”, a term critics have described as a euphemism for brainwashing.
The detentions have mostly focused on the region’s Muslim minorities, especially the Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group that make up around half of Xinjiang’s population of 22 million.
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities also launched a campaign against halal products in the name of fighting extremism in the capital of Xinjiang, the fractious northwest region where Muslims are facing a raft of religious restrictions.
Beijing has in recent years launched a security crackdown in Xinjiang against what it calls separatist elements, and a UN report has cited estimates that up to one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are held in extra-judicial, political re-education camps. Halal – Arabic for “permissible” – refers to a set of rules guiding Muslims on what is allowed according to the religion. It is frequently applied to food and drinks but also includes other personal hygiene products like toothpaste and cosmetics.