China’s policies in Xinjiang, home to Uighurs and other Muslim-majority ethnic groups, have been a major point of division with the United States (US) and other Western countries over alleged human rights abuses.
(Read: US Security Adviser: Something Closer to Genocide in China’s Xinjiang )
“We cannot be complacent at this time, because the threats are still out there,” said Xu Guixiang, deputy director general of the publicity department of the Xinjiang Communist Party, as reported by Channel News Asia.
Analysts say China has detained more than a million people in Xinjiang, forcing many to give up at least elements of their beliefs and traditions. Chinese officials have praised the success of their efforts to deradicalise the population and provide job training, saying the region has not experienced a terrorist attack in four years.
Xu did not immediately answer whether the security measures would be relaxed or not, but said that four years of terrorism-free absence meant there was no threat or danger at all.
He said his party was exploring ways to achieve sustainable stability in multi-ethnic border areas such as Xinjiang, a region in China’s far west about 2,400 km from Beijing.
(Also read: Volkswagen: No Forced Labor at the Xinjiang Factory )
“We need to think more about the root causes of problems, including the social and landmarks that lead to extremism and terrorism,” he said.
Xu repeated Beijing’s stern denial of alleged forced labor, in which vocational training graduates are allegedly forced to work in factories, both in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China.
He said 117,000 people had worked in other parts of China since 2014 through a program that allowed them to develop skills and leave agriculture for higher paying factory jobs.