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China Daily Website  

China respects religious freedom, but fights extremism: white paper

Updated: 2015-09-24 11:47

BEIJING - China respects and protects the religious belief freedom of people in Xinjiang, but will firmly curb religious extremism in line with the law, a government white paper said Thursday.

"Suppressing religious extremism in accordance with the law is a just move that protects the fundamental interests of the state and the people, including Muslims," said the white paper featuring ethnic equality, unity and development in Xinjiang.

Religious extremists advocate extreme ideas, incite religious hatred and resentment against other religions, and undermine Xinjiang's religious harmony and ethnic unity. They also deny the traditional Islam in Xinjiang, distort and contravene Islamic theology, causing damage to its internal harmony and jeopardizing the fundamental interests of Muslims, it said.

With such heretical ideas as "the shahid (martyr) engaged in jihad (holy war) can live in the garden of Paradise," the religious extremism has turned some individuals, especially the young people, into extremists and even terrorists who are manipulated to frequently perform acts of violence and terrorism and kill innocent people of all ethnic groups, even their fellow Islamic clerics and Muslims, the white paper said.

The autonomous region has always pursued the policy of freedom of religious belief, protecting normal religious activities while strengthening fight against extremism to ensure the people's safety, it stressed.

There are 24,400 mosques with 28,600 clerical personnel in Xinjiang. The central government has allocated over 10 million yuan ($1.6 mln dollars) for maintaining or repairing a number of key mosques and religious sites since the 1980s, the white paper listed.

The Xinjiang Islamic Institute has trained 634 students since its founding in 1987, and since 2001 has held 132 training sessions for 28,665 clerical personnel, it added. By 2014, more than 1.76 million copies of religious classics, books, and magazines, including the Quran, had been published in Uygur and various languages.


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