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Inside Xinjiang: Unveil the truth of vocational education, training centers

As the chaos in Afghanistan gathers worldwide attention, scenes of desperate people trying to cling to American military planes at the Kabul airport to find a way out of the country are heartbreaking.

In the meantime, many US politicians turned a blind eye to what happened in Afghanistan, a tragedy caused by the US, and continued to spread lies and rumors about China in the name of so-called democracy and human rights.

As former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Florida Republican Mike Waltz recently published a signed article, falsely accusing China of oppressing 1.4 billion people and genocide against millions of Uygurs, these politicians never stopped their efforts to stigmatize China with lies.

This is what some Western anti-China forces have been doing in recent years, as they constantly targeted the vocational education and training centers in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. They made up numerous ridiculous lies and even labeled Xinjiang’s anti-terrorism and de-radicalization measures as so-called “genocide.”

A People’s Daily reporter went to Aksu and Kashgar in Xinjiang to interview several former trainees of vocational education and training centers there.

Mamatimin Mamut, a former trainee, has opened a shop selling fruit and nuts in Shule county in Kashgar, earning about 5,000 yuan ($770) a month. But when he recalled the old turbulent times when violence broke out frequently, he said he once dared not go out for three days and the fruits in his shop became rotten

“We saw what happened in society at that time. I don't want to live like that,” said Tursonaye Turson, another former trainee.

Against such a backdrop, the Chinese government set up vocational education and training centers to combat terrorism and extremism while teaching standard Chinese language, legal knowledge and vocational skills. Going to the vocational education and training centers was an effective way for locals to avoid becoming the victims of terrorism and extremism.

Turson Junius, also a former trainee, said the vocational education and training center was like a university. He learned e-commerce, which also helped him start a media company in Aksu. He said he has bought 300 square meters of office space, which is being renovated, and several businesses are in full swing.

Mamut couldn’t afford to pay for his son’s college tuition in 2017. But after going to the vocational education and training centers, he “mastered some techniques and now earns good wages and lives well.

The vocational education and training centers greatly impacted many locals’ lives. And looking at international practices, setting up such institutes is not an isolated case. As early as April 2019, the Guardian reported that the British government had set up a Desistance and Disengagement Program (DDP) to rehabilitate suspects of terrorism and deter crime. There shouldn’t be double standards in counter-terrorism when judging such institutes.

The video sheds light on the real-life stories of some former trainees of vocational education and training centers while giving the microphone to the locals in Xinjiang.

Click on the video for more details.

(Produced by Han Xiaomeng, Zhao Dantong, Ni Tao, Qiao Wai, Cao Lei, Zhang Shixuan, Pei Randi, Bai Yuanqi, Zhu Yurou and Aerdake. Interns Wang Yushuo and Xiong Xinyi also contributed to the story.)