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Virtual Side Event "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" Successfully Held in the United Nations

2021/09/29

On September 29, the Permanent Mission of China to the UN and the government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region co-hosted a virtual event titled "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land". Chairperson of the Standing Committee of People's Congress in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Shawkat Imin delivered a keynote speech. Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Committee of People's Congress in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Li Xuejun and other officials attended the event. Ambassador Zhang Jun, permanent representative of China to the UN, attended and addressed the event. Ambassador Dai Bing moderated the event. Around 120 people, including ambassadors, diplomats, UN officials, Chinese and foreign media and NGO representatives attended the event. The event was broadcast live by UN Web TV and watched by nearly 1,000 people.

Chairperson Shawkat Imin briefed the audience on Xinjiang's overall development. He highlighted Xinjiang's social stability, high-quality economic growth, full victory in poverty alleviation, notable improvement in people's livelihood, greater solidarity among all ethnic groups and harmony among different religions. There has not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang for more than four years. Tourism has become a highlight for Xinjiang's high-quality economic growth. A historic resolution has been brought about for absolute poverty in Xinjiang, as the remaining three million poor population in rural Xinjiang has all been lifted out of poverty. Xinjiang earnestly protects the rights of people from all ethnic groups to equally participate in the administration of state affairs, fully implements the Party's policy on the freedom of religious belief, and protects the normal religious activities and needs of believers. Putting people's interests first, Xinjiang spends more than 70 percent of its annual general public budget expenditures on protecting and improving people's livelihood, so that people of all ethnic groups can better benefit from development.

Shawkat Imin said that some anti-China forces have been shamelessly stigmatizing Xinjiang in total disregard of the fact that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are living a happy life. They even cooked up the lie of the century about so-called genocide in Xinjiang. Their aim is to sabotage Xinjiang's security and stability and hinder China's development. This is strongly opposed and resolutely rejected by people in Xinjiang.

In his remarks, Ambassador Zhang Jun said that in recent years, Xinjiang enjoys social stability and growing economy. People of all ethnic groups enjoy better lives with their human rights better protected. The counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures taken by Xinjiang comply with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, and draw from western countries' practices. They are totally legal and legitimate. A few western countries chose to turn a blind eye when people in Xinjiang suffered from terrorist attacks, yet start to fabricate lies of the century when Xinjiang's development has entered the best period in history. Everybody knows that they hype up the Xinjiang question and apply double standards, because they desperately want to smear Xinjiang, undermine the local industries and stir up trouble for China's development.

Ambassador Zhang stressed that facts and truths on Xinjiang's development are there for everyone to see. More than 1,000 diplomats, journalists and religious figures from over 100 countries have visited Xinjiang upon invitation, and they were all deeply impressed by Xinjiang's robust development. He said he hopes that through this event, people will hear the real voice from Xinjiang, see the real scenes from Xinjiang, and get to know a real Xinjiang. The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome friends around the world to visit Xinjiang after the pandemic, to see with your own eyes a beautiful and thriving Xinjiang, and the secure and happy life of the local people.

The event also invited representatives of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and foreigner living in the region to share their stories. A young Uygur women named Dilqamar Tursun recalled how she was injured and amputated by terrorist attack and how her father's hair went white overnight due to such tragedy. Participants of the event were deeply touched by her story and felt happy for her as she has successfully moved on and formed a happy family. Belgian entrepreneur Decombel Danny Camiel talked about his work in the cotton industry over the past 16 years. He said that he has dealt with cotton farmers in Xinjiang for more than a decade, and has never found any "forced labor" or violations of human rights. Abdureqip Tumulniyaz, President of Xinjiang Islamic Association and Principal of Xinjiang Islamic Institute, gave a graphic presentation of Xinjiang's protection of freedom of religious belief. Former trainees of the vocational education and training center Abaydulla Omar and Dilnar Qahar talked about how they got rid of extremist ideas and mastered labor skills through education, and how one started his own business in e-commerce and the other found a job as museum guide. Based on her own experience, Parida Turdi, a female entrepreneur from Kashgar Prefecture, talked about Xinjiang's protection of women's reproductive rights and promotion of maternal and children health. The event played a theme video called "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" and other videos reflecting Xinjiang's religious protection, violent terrorism incidents and development of the cotton industry.

In their statements, ambassadors and representatives from countries including Pakistan, Russia, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Iran, Morocco and Syria said that the rich content and lively presentation of the event will help the outside better understand a real, beautiful Xinjiang. They spoke highly of Xinjiang's development, its human rights progress, and the harmonious co-existence between different ethnic groups. They said that Xinjiang's development is an epitome of a thriving China. China's development achievements and experience merit more attention and respect and its best practices should be learned. All countries should support multilateralism and each country has the right to choose its own development path. Some diplomats recalled their postings in China and China's huge progress they witnessed. Ambassadors from Kiribati and many other countries said that this live event has helped them see a beautiful, tranquil and thriving Xinjiang. A few western politicians and media should face up to the reality in Xinjiang, and stop fabricating lies to others and to themselves.

Officials from Xinjiang also had exchange of views with the guests on issues including poverty alleviation, the role of women, the protection of heritage and counter-terrorism cooperation.

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