(Essential question) Looking at China's Xinjiang from the pain of France, where is the difficulty of preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization?

  China News Service, Beijing, February 4th, title: Looking at China's Xinjiang from the pain of France, where is the difficulty of preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization?

  Author Chen Dingding Hou Ying

  While "curfews," "the third wave of epidemics," and "the third closure of the country" have become popular online searches in France, discussions on the "charter of republican values" have not yet ended.

  In November 2020, after a number of terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in France, French President Macron issued an "Ultimatum" to the French Muslim Faith Committee (CMCF), requiring all its members to agree to one within two weeks. The Charter of Values ​​of the French Republic" and pledged to end "all political Islamic acts" and "commit to end any foreign interference."

Up to now, three of the eight constituent groups of the CMCF have not yet signed the charter dedicated to "eradicating extremism."

Data map: On September 25, 2020 local time, a knife attack occurred in the French capital Paris.

The attack took place near the original headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

The picture shows the scene of the attack is heavily guarded, French riot police and military police patrolling with guns.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Yang

France's series of measures aimed at preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization

  From the series of terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo in 2005 to the brutal murder of teacher Samuel Paty on the street by extremists in 2020, France has seen many terrorist attacks closely related to religious separatism in recent years. .

The Macron government responded strongly to this. In addition to asking the CMCF to sign the above charter, it also focused on promoting the establishment of an Imam committee "loyal to France", and required such associations to cultivate France's own Muslims, like the Physician Society or the Bar Association Religious leader.

  These policy measures include a wide range of bills aimed at preventing the spread of extreme Islamism.

For example, restricting certain religions to run family schools, and imposing more severe penalties on those who intimidate public officials on religious grounds; enacting new laws to give immigrant children an ID number to ensure that they attend public schools.

Muslim parents who violate the law may face up to 6 months in prison and huge fines; enact an Internet communication law prohibiting the sharing of personal information, because the recent terrorist attacks stemmed from social media allowing those criminals to find the victim’s identity information .

  In fact, related projects are already underway and are expected to be launched at the end of the first quarter of 2021. However, due to a series of terrorist attacks, the Macron government is speeding up this policy.

If the relevant legislation is passed, anyone who puts pressure on civil servants and public service providers in the name of ideology or religious extremism to deviate from France’s “secularism” values ​​of separation of church and state will constitute a criminal offence.

  Since October last year, Macron's condemnation of Islamism as a whole has seriously deteriorated the relationship between France and the Islamic world, but he still resisted the "encirclement and suppression" of nearly half of the UN member states and forcibly launched the "loyalty to France" plan.

During this period, it was not only more than 50 Islamic countries that accused Macron, but also those Western Christian countries that advertised "equality and fraternity." For example, the Irish Times said, "Macron helped push the far-right trend into the heart of Europe." "Foreign Policy" criticized that "Macron is not worried about Islam, he is most worried about Le Pen..." A series of comments by English-speaking world media such as the New York Times and the Financial Times triggered Macron. Strong backlash from the government.

Data map: French President Macron

  Macron said that when I saw several newspapers whose values ​​were the same as ours, they legalized this kind of violence, and said that the core of the problem is that France is racist and Islamophobic. I cannot help but say these. The basic principles have been lost.

He even directly called Ben Smith, the media columnist of the New York Times, accusing the English media of “legitimizing violence”, preferring to do a high-level elite “bias” analysis, indulging in the analysis of the concept of racism, and even expressing opinions. Discussing the roots of terrorism is unwilling to express solidarity with his troubled republic (France), even for a moment.

  For a long time, France has had a unique position in European and international human rights affairs. Its drafting of the "Separatist Law" and "Loyal to France" plan is also an attempt to prevent terrorism and de-radicalization.

Although the specific model of this initiative is still controversial, it still provides countries with some reference in anti-religious radicalization.

Fighting terrorism and de-radicalization is a worldwide problem

  Since the beginning of the new century, terrorist attacks have occurred frequently and spread globally.

Experts generally believe that the rise of terrorism is not due to the differences between different civilizations, but the imbalance of global development, the disparity between the rich and the poor, and the insufficient tolerance of global governance.

In particular, marginalized groups who have been in a state of poverty and backwardness for a long time can easily become targets for terrorists to recruit and use.

The violent terrorist attacks in Europe are entangled with many historical and practical issues such as refugee flows, immigration policies, and Middle East diplomacy. In recent years, they have faced violent threats of religious extremism that are difficult to eliminate.

  The transnational and networked characteristics of contemporary international terrorism make it difficult for a single country to effectively respond to terrorist attacks.

Terrorist activities are characterized by asymmetrical nature, which means that it is difficult for any country to predict who is the subject of terrorist threats, when and where and what kind of terrorist attacks will occur. What people can recognize is only the origin and inducement of terrorism. .

If only military strikes are carried out and the root causes of terrorism are ignored and the breeding grounds are not eradicated, then terrorist activities will only increase unabated and intensify.

  Globalization and the openness of modern countries have provided great convenience for terrorists to carry out terrorist attacks, and it is very difficult to track their movements.

Even though many suspects of terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States are on the blacklists of national counter-terrorism agencies, as long as they do not have sufficient evidence, law enforcement agencies cannot launch substantive actions against criminal suspects.

Data map: A terrorist attack on the police occurred on December 28, 2020 local time in Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic of Russia.

Image source: ICphoto

  In addition, the advanced media and the informationization of the world provide advanced technical support for terrorists to contact, plan, and organize terrorist attacks.

Currently, online social media enables extreme terrorist organizations to promote their ideology more conveniently, train terrorists, and influence a larger population in a short period of time.

The fierce competition in the media industry has led to the hype and dissemination of terrorist incidents, which objectively plays a role in expanding the influence of terrorism.

  The complexity and global nature of modern financial markets provide a platform for terrorist organizations to raise funds, launder money, and allocate funds for activities.

The proliferation of guns provides facilities for terrorists to carry out violent attacks.

The proliferation of weapons in politically turbulent areas and Western countries’ loose policies on gun management have made it easy for terrorists to obtain weapons and equipment to launch attacks.

  Religious extremism and narrow nationalism gave terrorism a "legal" basis, and the latter became a polarized and concentrated manifestation of the former.

Since the changes in the Middle East took place, global anti-terrorism has entered a new stage in history.

In the face of the realistic challenges of religious extremism emerging worldwide, no country can survive alone.

Therefore, based on the global anti-terrorism needs, the international community should pay attention to the use of multiple methods, focus on both the symptoms and the root causes, and further strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation.

Preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization should uphold uniform standards

  The international community does not yet have a unified definition of terrorism. Western countries headed by the United States have consistently adhered to double standards on counter-terrorism issues. This has seriously hampered the international community’s counter-terrorism process and is one of the important reasons for the poor global counter-terrorism effectiveness.

The United States, out of consideration of national interests, has instrumented the issue of counter-terrorism. It not only wants to eliminate anti-American international terrorist forces, but also wants to use the national separatism and terrorist forces of other countries to contain other major powers, and also wants to take the opportunity of counter-terrorism to advance its global hegemony.

For example, the U.S. attitude towards the Chechen issue in Russia and the issue of China’s "East Turkistan"—if it violates U.S. interests, it is called terrorism. Terrorists who harm the interests of other countries often use human rights, democracy, and other excuses to justify them, even Provide asylum and funding.

  Judging from the practice of various countries, preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization have become the main methods of combating terrorism.

  The "Terrorist Identity Data Processing Environment" database managed by the National Counter-Control Center of the United States is not only a watch list, but also an information database of known or potential terrorists considered by the United States government to identify terrorists, suspects and terrorist activities. People who are related, or have some connection with suspected terrorists under certain circumstances, are collected and stored in different categories. According to this list, certain people are restricted from entering and leaving the United States or traveling by airliner within the country.

  The United Kingdom has adopted diversified counter-terrorism measures, covering areas such as fund monitoring, immigration qualification review, dangerous goods management, aviation and nuclear industry safety.

Among the controversial "control orders" include measures such as electronic wiretapping, restrictions on Internet access, restrictions on the use of electronic communication methods, prohibition of meeting with others, prohibition of going out at night, and complete prohibition of leaving the residence.

Data map: On January 7, 2020 local time, France commemorated the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack of "Charlie Hebdo".

Photo by China News Agency reporter Li Yang

  France’s 2012 Anti-Terrorism Act stipulates that if a French citizen receives extremist ideas abroad, even if he did not grow up in France and did not violate the law in France, he can still be sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and a huge amount for terrorism. fine.

The bill stipulates that law enforcement agencies can conduct telephone monitoring of suspicious individuals and analyze their online records.

In 2016, France also announced that it would set up "de-radicalization centers" in 12 regions across the country, with the purpose of helping its citizens affected by extremist ideas return to normal life.

  Germany passed new regulations on the management of citizens’ personal identity documents in 2015. Religious extremists suspected of threatening German security will be restricted from leaving the country and their existing identity cards will be confiscated to prevent them from contacting foreign terrorist organizations.

  Canada has also continuously increased its intelligence collection and sharing efforts to prevent the occurrence of terrorist incidents.

Its Intelligence-led Policing strategy enables terrorists to be dismantled before they carry out terrorist actions. It focuses on the collection, analysis, and sharing of basic terrorist information, and promptly activates anti-terrorism early warning mechanisms instead of waiting for terrorist events. occur.

  As the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia has also established the world’s earliest "de-extremism" education center, providing probation and guidance to those affected by extremist ideas, proposing to return to "moderate Islam", and actively holding a forum for dialogue between religion and civilization And other activities to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation between different civilizations; at the same time, it condemns extremists’ misinterpretation of Islamic teachings and encourages religious tolerance.

China’s practice in Xinjiang is not fundamentally different from France and other Western countries

  Regrettably, the long-term hype of the so-called "China detaining more than 1 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang" and other issues by the US and Western media is completely misinterpretation and slander.

In fact, China’s practice in Xinjiang is essentially no different from France and other Western countries. They are all active explorations for preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. The purpose is to prevent dysfunction, cure diseases and save people, and to maximize the protection of the people. Basic human rights, including the right to survival and development, are protected from terrorism and extremism.

This is also the responsibility and obligation of a government to its own people.

Data map: In a garment factory in the Textile Industrial Park of Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang, technically trained workers skillfully sew outer pants.

(The graphic is irrelevant) Photo by Zhu Jingchao

  The so-called "re-education camps" in Xinjiang that some countries and the media say are actually vocational education and training centers aimed at eliminating extremism, and all of their trainees have closed their courses and gradually found jobs with the help of the local government.

The relevant measures taken by the Chinese government in Xinjiang have nothing to do with human rights or religion. They are about the effective preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures taken to combat terrorism and take precautions.

As stated in July 2019, when the permanent ambassadors of Russia, Pakistan and other 37 countries in Geneva jointly wrote to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, China has successfully explored preventive counter-terrorism measures such as the establishment of education and training centers in Xinjiang and other regions. Integrating the protection of human rights with the fight against terror and violent extremism deserves support and appreciation.

The Western call of the education and training center as the so-called "re-education camp" is completely slanderous. Xinjiang’s experience in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization should have been shared and learned by the international community.

  Terrorism is not only the source of turmoil, but also the result of underdevelopment.

Facts have proved that the elimination of terrorism requires not only the elimination of terrorists, but also the elimination of the social soil where terrorism breeds.

Achieving the balance of global development and comprehensive national governance is the ultimate cure for terrorism.

Human beings must transcend differences in social systems, development stages, and cultural traditions, and all countries must uphold uniform standards on preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization, so that there can be win-win cooperation.


  (Chen Dingding is a professor at the School of International Relations/Overseas Chinese Institute of Jinan University, Hou Ying is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of International Relations/Overseas Chinese Institute of Jinan University)