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Education, training programs in Xinjiang yield positive results: official

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The education and training programs in Xinjiang have yielded positive results, an official of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said at a press conference in Beijing Monday.

The programs saved to the greatest extent trainees with a history of terrorism, religious extremism or criminal behaviors, eliminated the ground and conditions for terrorism and religious extremism and protected the citizens' basic right to be free from the harm of terrorism and religious extremism, said Xu Hairong, Party chief of Urumqi, the regional capital.

"People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have truly felt that without the education and training, the current peaceful days would not be possible," Xu said.

Foreign officials, diplomats, journalists and those in the religious circle who have visited education and training centers also agreed that Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts meet the purpose and principles of the United Nations on defeating terrorism and protecting basic human rights, Xu said.

Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the regional government, said trainees have all graduated after participating in education and training programs of standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills and deradicalization at the centers in Xinjiang.

With the help of the government, they have achieved stable employment, improved their quality of life and been living a happy life, he said.

For the next step, Xinjiang will offer regular and open education and training to village officials, Party members in rural areas, farmers and herdsmen and unemployed middle school graduates who have the willingness and need for such education, Shohrat Zakir said.

The education and training will be carried out based on principles under which trainees' wishes and independent choices are respected, he said, adding that attendees are free to join or quit programs at any time. Training programs will be tailored to meet trainees' needs, and the periods of programs will vary based on the courses, the official said.