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China defends way it curbs terror

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A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s counter-terror and de-radicalisation efforts in its far western region of Xinjiang should be applauded for creating a new method of tackling the problem, a senior diplomat told foreign envoys last week.

China is stepping up its diplomatic outreach over controversial camps in the heavily Muslim region, inviting more foreign diplomats to visit as it seeks to head off criticism from Muslim-majority nations and at the United Nations.

The government says the camps are re-education and training facilities, and have been highly successful in stopping attacks previously blamed on Islamist militants and separatists, but rights groups say they are internment camps.

Chinese officials briefed diplomats from more than 80 countries and international organisations in Beijing on Friday about Xinjiang, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

The diplomats said China’s explanation had helped them understand Xinjiang, that what China was doing there was important for the rest of the world in combating terror, and that the “successful experience in Xinjiang was worth studying and drawing on,” the ministry added.

It did not say which countries’ representatives had made the comments.

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