Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China Releases White Paper Defending Crackdown on Islamic Militants in Xinjiang Province

Chinese security guards patrol the area

(Photo : PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) Chinese security guards patrol the area where an explosion killed 16 policemen in Xinjiang's famed Silk Road city of Kashgar in China's far northwestern, mainly Muslim Xinjiang region on August 4, 2008.

The Chinese government has justified its decision to crack down on Islamic militants in Xinjiang Province in a recently released white paper, which states that China will not allow any religious organization or person to interfere with the nation's religious affairs.

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The government report described the crackdown on Islamic militants as a just and fair act, initiated with the intention to safeguard the interests of the country and its people.

The white paper, titled Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang, says that the militants spread radical and extremist ideologies using religion with the intent of establishing theocracy in the area.

The document claims that the freedom of religious beliefs in the Xinjiang province cannot be matched by any other country or area. The paper also points out that the citizens of the People's Republic of China have always enjoyed the freedom to follow any religion of their choice.

However, the Chinese government has made it clear that it will not support religious extremism as it is "anti-human, anti-society, anti-civilization, and anti-religion." The paper says that religious circles should have a positive role in the society such as promoting economic development and social stability.

The white paper comes after Hafiz Saeed, leader of Pakistan-based terrorist organizations Jamat-ud-Dawa and Lakshar-e-Taiba, criticized China over its crackdown on Uyghur Islamic militants in Xinjiang.

Xinjiang, which has more than 10 million Uyghur Muslims of Turkic origin, has experienced several terrorist attacks over the years, for which Beijing holds the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement responsible.

The province is in a state of turmoil. Xinjiang shares its borders with the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, and Tajikistan. 

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