China rubbishes Western charges of human rights violations in Xinjiang

Dubai - Officials say reports of re-education camps in Xinjiang and detentions are a fabrication

A journalist flips through a book titled The truth about Xinjiang during a press conference in Beijing.
A journalist flips through a book titled The truth about Xinjiang during a press conference in Beijing.

By Team KT

Published: Wed 30 Dec 2020, 3:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Dec 2020, 3:25 PM

China has rebutted criticisms and allegations of human rights violations in its Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, and asserted that long-term stability and prosperity of the region is important to China’s reform and development.

Rubbishing the claims in Western media, officials from the region said that claims of “forced labour” and “re-education camps” run by government agencies are “pure slander,” China Daily reported.

Xu Guixiang, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee, said at a news briefing last week that the “forced labour” story is ridiculous, and that workers from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang choose their jobs of their own free will and sign voluntary employment contracts in accordance with the law.

Guixiang said that some Western forces had ignored the real facts and hyped up the “forced labour” issue under the pretext of safeguarding human rights, “which in fact violates the basic labour rights of the Uyghur people and intends to deprive them of their right to pursue a better life through employment,” reported the state-run newspaper.

Elijan Anayit, a spokesman for the information office of the regional government, also denied reports that “re-education camps” in Xinjiang have “detained” over 1 million Uyghur people and said that this is a fabrication.

“There are no such re-education camps,” he said, adding that the vocational education and training centres are a useful and positive way to counter separatism and prevent terrorism.

Trainees at the centres all graduated in October last year after participating in education and training programmes of standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills and deradicalisation.

Ablajan Ablat, a former trainee at the vocational education and training centre in Aksu prefecture, spoke of how he benefitted through studying at the centre. He said he improved his spoken and written Chinese, mastered the skill of automobile maintenance and recognised the harm of religious extremism. Religious extremism uses people like him to cause conflicts between Muslims and other ethnic groups and stir up hatred, he said.

Noting that his time at the centre was a turning point and a new beginning for him, Ablajan Ablat said that the government and the teachers had saved him.

Now he owns an automobile maintenance shop and earns over 10,000 yuan a month, and he works as a translator for businessmen purchasing local agricultural products during the autumn harvest, which earns him about 30,000 yuan a year.

Elaborating on the overall development and improvement of people’s living standard in the Xinjiang region, Guixiang said in recent years, the overall situation has seen remarkable changes.

“Xinjiang now enjoys steady and sound economic growth, constant improvement of people’s livelihood and steady progress in all undertakings. The sense of fulfillment, happiness and security has been on the rise across Xinjiang,” the official said at a press briefing held in Beijing on December 21. He said frequent terrorist and violent activities have been the thing of past. “No single case of violent terrorism has been occurred in Xinjiang for the past four years.

“The number of criminal cases, public security cases, cases of endangering public security and public safety incidents has fallen significantly.”

Highlighting the economic development of the region in the recent years, Guixiang said that from 2014 to 2019, the GDP in Xinjiang rose from 919.59 billion yuan to 1.35 trillion yuan, with an annual growth rate of 7.2 per cent. He said 1.69 million rural houses and 1.56 million government-subsidised housing projects in cities and towns have been constructed.

“The so-called Xinjiang-related issues are not at all about ethnicity, religion, or human rights, instead they are about anti-violence, anti-terrorism, anti-separatism and deradicalisation. These issues have been properly handled in Xinjiang based on facts, truth and justice. We resolutely defend the achievements of Xinjiang’s stability and development, all ethnic groups’ fundamental interests, and national security,” said the official.

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