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Wang Yi on facts and truth regarding Xinjiang

2019/09/25

On September 24th local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended a dinner co-hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations, US-China Business Council, US Chamber of Commerce and Council on Foreign Relations in New York. In his keynote speech delivered at this event, Wang Yi talked specifically about facts and truth on Xinjiang.

Wang said that the government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region has recently taken a series of preventive measures against terrorism. This is purely China’s internal affair, yet it has been deliberately discredited and attacked by some anti-China forces in the world. So what is the truth concerning this matter?

The truth is that the Chinese government has all along attached importance to Xinjiang’s stability and development, to preserving its religion and culture. In the past 64 years since the region was established, the local economy has grown by 80 times and tens of thousands of local people have been lifted out of poverty. There are now over 28,000 religious sites in Xinjiang, and close to 30,000 clerical personnel. Both figures have increased by ten folds compared with several decades ago. Nowadays, every 530 Muslim people in Xinjiang have a mosque on average, which is higher than many Muslim countries.

The truth is that people of different ethnicities in Xinjiang suffered deeply from extremism and terrorism for almost two decades. There had been several thousand cases of violent terrorism there since the 1990s, and several thousand innocent people were killed or injured. These attacks took a heavy toll on the life and property of the local people and their freedom of religious belief and other fundamental human rights.

The truth is the measures taken in Xinjiang in recent years have a clear-cut purpose. That is to prevent extremism and terrorism at their root. These measures are consistent with Chinese law and common approaches advocated in the global community. According to the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, poverty, unemployment, the absence of alternative employment opportunities and low levels of education are the background causes of violent extremism along with the distortion and exploitation by violent extremist groups of religious beliefs. The Plan of Action suggests early engagement and complementing the actions to counter violent extremism with preventive measures. That is precisely what Xinjiang has done. Visible progress has been made: there has not been a single case of violent terrorism in the past three years.

The truth is the education and training centers in Xinjiang are schools that help the people concerned free themselves from the influence of extremism and terrorism, and acquire professional skills. The centers are anything but horrific “concentration camps”. This year, we have invited nearly 1,000 personnel from the diplomatic, media and academic circles of western countries, including the United States to Xinjiang. They have seen the education centers first hand, and visited other places there. The impression they share is that the situation on the ground is far different from what some western forces and media reported. Not long ago, some 50 countries, in a co-signed letter to President of the Human Rights Council, expressed support for China’s position on the Xinjiang-related issues. They pointed out the education and training centers and other measures in Xinjiang have effectively prevented extremism and terrorism, and the basic human rights in Xinjiang have been safeguarded. Among these co-signatories, nearly 30 countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Rumors find no market among the fair-minded and pale in face of facts. Our measures in Xinjiang are all for the safety and happiness of the 25 million people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, for contributing a greater share to the international fight against terrorism. We are fully open and above-board, and are confident that no vile smears will have any effect. We hope to present a true picture of Xinjiang to friends present tonight and people from other countries. You are welcome to visit Xinjiang and see for yourselves the development there, and we hope that no one will be misled or deceived by the rumors.

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