Beijing — Vocational training is being used "to the greatest extent" in China’s far-western Xinjiang region to ensure militant activities are "eliminated before they occur", according to a senior Communist Party official. The state media interview with Shohrat Zakir, the number two party official and most senior ethnic Uighur in Xinjiang, is China’s most detailed defence yet of its policies in the region, which is home to a large Muslim population. Reports of mass detentions and strict surveillance of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have prompted the US to consider sanctions against officials and firms linked to alleged human rights abuses. After initially issuing blanket denials, Chinese officials have in recent weeks said they are not enforcing arbitrary detention and political re-education across a network of secret camps. Rather, some citizens guilty of minor offences have been sent to vocational centres to provide job opportunities. The measures have helped to prevent violent ...

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