URUMQI — A new chapter of life has begun for Wutkul Ablimit after he completed his studies at a local vocational education and training center in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
“Earlier, my friends and family were very concerned about my attitude and behavior, so they persuaded me to go to the county vocational education and training center. I decided to give it a try and went there voluntarily,” said the 28-year-old man from Kashgar’s Shache County, adding that in retrospect, he deems it the right decision.
The center provided lessons of standard spoken and written Mandarin, legal knowledge, and skill training, and aimed to eliminate radical ideas.
“I learned about e-commerce at the center. I put some of my own products online, and interested customers began to reach out. I even opened a brick-and-mortar shop there and employed two assistants,” he said.
That small shop also heralded a romantic inning for Wutkul Ablimit, as he fell in love with one of the assistants and the two got married. The couple now has a baby and they live a very happy life.
After graduating from the vocational education center, Wutkul Ablimit and his wife set up a factory that manufactures plastic buckets, generating annual sales of about 3 million yuan (about 472,000 U.S. dollars).
The establishment of vocational education and training centers was a measure Xinjiang adopted to tackle the menace of terrorism and radicalization. By October 2019, all trainees had completed their studies. Like Wutkul Ablimit, they have embraced a new dawn as well, with most of them securing stable employment.
Shache dwellers live and work happily today, but seven years ago, locals were reeling under fear and despair.
A terrorist attack on July 28, 2014 in Ailixihu Town, about 30 kilometers away from Wutkul Ablimit’s home, left 37 innocent people dead.
The local police immediately swung into action following the gruesome incident. Nurmemet Wubul, head of the town, was one of the police officers on the front line.
He said that many people at that time had extreme religious ideas and lacked proper education. They were living a gloomy life under the coercion of religious extremism — they could not sing, dance, or work for their own happiness, which induced a disastrous situation.
“However, a series of concerted efforts to maintain stability and the central government’s policies for governing Xinjiang have proved effective here and across Xinjiang,” Nurmemet Wubul said.
The hard-won peace in Shache County embodies Xinjiang’s progress in good governance, with no terrorist incidents reported in the region in the past five years.
“I want to expand my business, earn more money and create more job opportunities. I’d like to have more children, maybe a second or third,” Wutkul Ablimit said.