The facts about the Uyghur people’s life in Xinjiang should not be ignored
Embassy of The People’s Republic of China
We have noted that recently certain people in South Africa have followed BBC’s program on Xinjiang and were misled by its one-sided story. Some even went so far as to level groundless accusations against China on some South African media by comparing the situation of Uyghur people in Xinjiang to the so-called “ethnic cleansing”. It is really shocking and unacceptable.
Obviously, they are choosing to believe in some of the misinformation provided by the BBC program, while ignoring the fact, that during the program, H.E. Mr Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK questioned the authenticity and integrity of the video and refuted with iron-clad facts such fabricated lies as forced sterilization, abortion and family planning against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government has protected the legitimate rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, and in particular, have given preferential treatment to the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities in terms of population policy over the years. In the four decades between 1978 and 2018, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang increased from 5.55 million to 11.68 million, rising by more than two folds. We wonder where the unwarranted accusation of “ethnic cleansing” came from.
The vocational education and training centers, established in accordance with law in Xinjiang, are useful measures and positive explorations for preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization, and are anything but the so-called “concentration camps”.
The purpose of the centres is to eradicate the root cause of terrorism and religious extremism and prevent the escalation of violent and terrorist activities.
The only criterion for the centres to select trainees is whether they had illegal or criminal acts of terrorism and religious extremism, which is not targeted at any specific region, ethnic group or religion. There is no such thing as “suppression of ethnic minorities” or “persecution of Muslims”.
The claim that “the vocational education and training centres detained one million Uyghurs” is also a sheer lie. This sensational rumour was first fabricated and spread by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a political non-governmental organization supported by the US government.
This organization, based on interviews with just eight Uyghurs and rough estimates, concluded that one tenth of the 20 million people in Xinjiang are detained in the so-called re-education camps. Such a shoddy manipulation is a farce full of political bias.
The Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have suffered a lot from extremism and terrorism over the past two decades.
Since the 1990s, instigated by the Western anti-China forces, some ethnic separatists, religious extremists, and violent terrorists both in and outside China have masterminded and engaged in thousands of violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing thousands of innocent people.
The bloody crimes committed by terrorists have not only undermined Xinjiang’s stability and harmony, but also trampled on the basic human rights of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
In the face of the threats posed by terrorism and extremism, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government are committed to addressing both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism and giving equal priority to fighting and preventing terrorism.
We crack down on all illegal, violent and terrorist crimes in accordance with the law to safeguard social stability in Xinjiang and create favourable environments for Xinjiang’s development.
Facts have proved that the establishment of vocational education and training centres is an important innovative measure taken by the Chinese government to prevent and eradicate extremism, as well as an important endeavor to eliminate the breeding ground for terrorism and religious extremism.
Up to now, there has been no violent terrorist case in Xinjiang for three consecutive years. Xinjiang enjoys social stability, economic prosperity and ethnic unity. The people in Xinjiang live and work in peace and contentment and are no longer worried about being threatened by terrorist attacks.
In fact, over the past 65 years since the founding of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, its economic aggregate has increased by more than 80 times and hundreds of thousands of people have been lifted out of poverty.
In 2019, Xinjiang received more than 200 million domestic and foreign tourists. In the first half of 2020, nearly 75% of Xinjiang’s fiscal expenditure was spent on people's livelihood, totaling 200.61 billion RMB (1RMB=2.3 Rand), and 4.446 billion RMB of micro-credit loans were granted to 139 000 impoverished households. Xinjiang’s economy is growing steadily and its unemployment rate was just 5% in June.
The government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region protects the freedom of religious belief of people of all ethnic groups in accordance with law, and it is entirely up to the people in Xinjiang to choose whether they are religious or not.
There are now 24 400 mosques in Xinjiang, a tenfold increase from 40 years ago. On average, there is one mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang. This proportion is higher than that of many Muslim countries.
The total number of mosques in Xinjiang is more than twice that of the United States (about 2000 mosques), Britain (1 750 mosques), France (2 500 mosques) and Germany (3 000 mosques) combined.
Since 1996, the government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region has organized charter flights for more than 50,000 Muslims to make pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
It is the same old story for certain people to repeatedly hype up the Uyghur people’s situation in Xinjiang. In disregard of facts, they viciously attacked the Chinese government’s policies on Xinjiang’s governance and human rights situation in Xinjiang.
They tried to stigmatize Xinjiang’s anti-terrorism, anti-separatism and de-radicalization efforts and applied double standards on the issue of anti-terrorism.
Their real intention is to disrupt the unity of China’s ethnic groups, undermine prosperity and stability in Xinjiang, sabotage China’s sovereignty and security, and contain China’s development.
The wise does not buy rumours, and seeing is believing. Not long ago, we published a series of articles on the website of Independent Media Group (please find the attached links below), which give a full picture of the truth of the Xinjiang-related issues.
It is our sincere hope that South African friends who really care about Xinjiang shall give these articles a read and not be deceived and misled by rumours.
We also welcome more South African friends to visit Xinjiang when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, to get first-hand experience of a true, open, prosperous, stable and beautiful Xinjiang.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.