The president urged all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to "show mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and appreciation among themselves, and learn and help each other," so that they could be united together "like seeds of a pomegranate.""The more separatists attempt to sabotage our ethnic unity, the more we should try to reinforce it," the president said, adding that unity is the "lifeline" for people of all ethnic backgrounds.
Calling for "meticulous" religious work, Xi stressed that there should be a focus on helping religion adapt to a socialist society and ensuring the role of religious figures and believers in boosting economic and social development."Focus on fostering a team of patriotic clergy and boosting the general quality of people in the religious circle so as to ensure that the leadership of religious organizations is firmly in the hands of people who love the country as well as religion," he said.
Chinese policies and never-ending crackdowns, especially since the 2009 riots, have created a climate in which some Uyghurs are more likely to heed twisted, pseudo-religious ideologies that advocate killing innocents to send a political message. But even if we accept the Chinese position that religious extremism, leading to terrorism, is mainly an exogenous force, why then campaign domestically against features of Uyghur culture, nonreligious as well as religious, that have been part of Uyghur life and Xinjiang’s social landscape since long before the Taliban and al-Qaeda emerged elsewhere? Why then the repeated gratuitous insults against Uyghur culture — false claims that Uyghur is a primitive language, thoughtless dismantling of Uyghur-language education,suspicion and persecution of private Uyghur-language instruction, compulsion of government workers to eat during Ramadan, prohibition of doppa caps and scarves?I suspect that the Chinese leadership and some Chinese scholars who advise them are uncomfortable with Uyghur cultural uniqueness. They increasingly feel that this distinctiveness is itself a source of the problem.