URUMQI, China - Memetuhut Memetrozi, co-founder of the terrorist East Turkestan Islamic Movement, has urged young people not to be tricked by religious extremists or to become one, as he once did.
The 41-year-old made the remarks during his latest confession, according to a transcript released by Xinjiang No 1 Prison on Tuesday.
He is currently serving a life sentence for secession in the prison in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
He was sent back to China in 2003 by the Pakistani intelligence service and charged with ETIM involvement by the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court on Feb 21, 2005.
The group seeks the independence of "East Turkestan" and is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in China as well as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
China said the ETIM was behind the suicide attack in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square on Oct 28, 2013.
Two people were killed and another 40 injured when Usmen Hasan; his mother, Kuwanhan Reyim; and his wife, Gulkiz Gini, all from Xinjiang, drove a jeep into a crowd after crashing into a guardrail on the Jinshui Bridge, which spans the Forbidden City moat.
Memetuhut said he was born in southern Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture, and both his parents were farmers.
As he grew up, he become increasingly curious about Islam, and when his parents could no longer answer all his questions, he became determined to learn about Islam abroad.
Sponsored by his parents, Memetuhut travelled around Central Asia.
At the end of 1992, he enrolled in an Arab-run school in Pakistan.
It was there he was contacted by some young religious extremists because he was so eager to learn about Islam.
The extremists showed him books and videos about religious extremism.
Such thoughts in his head were like bugs that grew bigger and bigger until they took control of his mind and body, said Memetuhut, who began to promote jihad, or "holy war", to Uygur young people at the time.
In the summer of 1993, he and some other young Uygurs who were also under the influence of religious extremism travelled to Afghanistan and joined a camp where they were trained to carry out terrorist attacks.
After a year of training, Memetuhut returned to Pakistan and enrolled in International Islamic University's law department.
While he was trying to get a master's degree in international relations and politics, he continued spreading religious extremism.
Between the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997, Memetuhut met Hasan Mahsum from southern Xinjiang's Kashgar prefecture, who constantly criticised China's ethnic and religious policies, which made Memetuhut determined to have Xinjiang secede from China.
At the end of 1997, they founded the ETIM, and Hasan became the chairman of the terrorist group, according to the Ministry of Public Security. Hasan, a terrorist wanted by Chinese and international police, was killed in an anti-terrorism mission in Pakistan in 2003.
ETIM is particularly effective at recruiting young Uygur men by twisting the Quran's message to achieve a political goal, Memetuhut said.
He said he lost his mind after being sucked in by religious extremism and warned young people to stay away from it and religious extremists who pose as religious leaders.
Memetuhut said he no longer wants anything to do with the ETIM, which targets innocent people, including the elderly, children and even members who want to quit.
As the co-founder of the terrorist group, he said he has to apologise to those who were hurt because of the violence it has caused.