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FM debunks rumors about Xinjiang with facts

Updated: Sep 25,2019 03:10 PM    Xinhua

NEW YORK — State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi debunked rumors about China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region with truths and facts when giving a speech on Sept 24.

The government of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has recently taken a series of preventative measures against terrorism, Wang said while addressing a dinner co-hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations, the US-China Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Council on Foreign Relations.

This is purely China's internal affair, yet, it has been deliberately distorted and attacked by some anti-China forces in the world, he said.

Giving some facts about Xinjiang, Wang said that the Chinese government has all along attached importance to the region's stability and development and to preserving its religion and culture.

In the past 64 years since the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region was established, the local economy has grown by some 200 times, and tens of thousands of local people have been lifted out of poverty, he said.

Nowadays, on average there is a mosque for every 530 Muslim people in Xinjiang, a rate which is higher than that of many Muslim countries, said Wang, after expounding the fact that both the numbers of religious sites and clerical personnel in Xinjiang have increased tenfold compared with several decades ago.

However, people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang suffer greatly from extremism and terrorism, said the state councilor.

There have been several thousand cases of violent terrorism there since the 1990s, claiming the lives of several thousand innocent people and injuring many others, he said.

The 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, he added.

The measures taken in Xinjiang in recent years have a clear-cut purpose, which is to prevent extremism and terrorism at their root, Wang said, noting that these measures are consistent with Chinese law and common approaches advocated in the global community.

According to the United Nations (UN) Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, poverty, unemployment, the absence of alternative employment opportunities and low levels of education, along with the distortion and exploitation by violent extremist groups of religious beliefs, are the main causes of violent extremism, said Wang.

The UN Plan of Action suggests early engagement and complementing the actions to counter violent extremism with preventive measures, and that is precisely what has been done in Xinjiang, he said, adding that visible progress has been made based on the fact that there has not been a single case of violent terrorism in the past three years.

Referring to the education and training centers in Xinjiang, Wang said these centers are schools that help the people free themselves from the influence of extremism and terrorism, and acquire professional skills.

This year, China has invited nearly 1,000 personnel from the diplomatic, media and academic circles of Western countries, including the United States, to Xinjiang, Wang said.

After visiting the education centers and other places there, the impression they share is that the situation on the ground is far different from what some Western forces and media have reported, he said.

Not long ago, 50 countries, in a co-signed letter to the president of the Human Rights Council, expressed support for China's position on Xinjiang-related issues, the top Chinese diplomat continued.

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, he said, adding that among these co-signatories, nearly 30 countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Rumors find no foothold among the fair-minded and pale in the face of facts, Wang said.

China's measures in Xinjiang are all being taken to ensure the safety and happiness of the 25 million people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and for contributing a greater share to the international fight against terrorism, he said.

China is fully open and above-board and is confident that no vile smears will have any effect, Wang said.

China is ready to present a true picture of Xinjiang to friends and people from other countries in the hope that no one will be misled or deceived by the rumors, he said.