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December 5, 2019

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China condemns US approval of Xinjiang bill

CHINA yesterday reiterated its strong condemnation to the US House’s approval of a bill targeting its far west Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, clarifying that Xinjiang’s problems are related to terrorism and separatism rather than human rights or ethnic minorities. It said accusation from the US exposed its double standard and its attempt to contain China which will never succeed.

The act would tighten export controls on technology that could be used to “suppress individual privacy, freedom of movement and other basic human rights.”

The Uygur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019 was passed on Tuesday, which serves as a revamped version of a bill in September by the upper chamber of Congress in September. The US’s latest move on Xinjiang came just a week after US President Donald Trump decided to sign Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang summoned William Klein, acting charge d’affaires of the US Embassy in China, yesterday to lodge stern representations and strong protest against the approval of the bill.

The passage of the bill, according to Qin, is not only a serious violation of international law and basic rules of international relations, but also a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

China strongly condemns and firmly opposes the bill, said Qin. He urged the US to stop playing a double standard and stop meddling in China’s internal affairs.

Qin reiterated China’s unwavering determination in defending its national sovereignty, security and interests, adding that any attempts to drive a wedge between different ethnic groups in China, harm Xinjiang’s prosperity and stability, and efforts to contain China’s development are doomed to fail.

Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, blasted the groundless accusation made by some US politicians on Xinjiang’s vocational training centers, stressing the move was welcomed by people in Xinjiang and well recognized by the international community.

According to Hua, conducting education and training centers in Xinjiang is a response to UN’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism which proposes to provide education and opportunities to those who are influenced by violent groups and extremism.

Hua blasted the US of playing double standard by denigrating China’s great contribution to counterterrorism and positive comments on Xinjiang’s development from the international community while turning a blind eye on its own human rights problem.

Hua warned that “for all wrong actions and words that harm China’s national interests, the proper price must be paid,” reiterating that China has the capability to defend it national sovereignty and interests.

Hua made similar remarks earlier yesterday shortly after the passage of the US bill, saying it is “a malicious attack on the Chinese government’s policy towards Xinjiang,” which deliberately denigrates China’s human rights situation and wantonly smears China’s efforts to eliminate terrorism and combat extremism.

“This is not only a serious violation of international law and basic rules of international relations, but also a grave interference in China’s internal affairs. We deliver our strong indignation and firm opposition against the bill,” said Hua.

The problems in Xinjiang has nothing to do with human rights, ethnic groups or religion, but anti-terrorism and anti-separatism, Hua pointed out. “There was a time when Xinjiang was disturbed by extreme acts and terrorist activities, yet the Xinjiang local government has been combating such behaviors in accordance with the law since.”

According to a white paper released in March by China’s State Council Information Office, Xinjiang has destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities, and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials since 2014.

People’s religious freedom is also protected. Based on data released by the government, there are roughly 200 million believers in the country, among whom over 20 million are Muslims, 380,000 clergy, 5,500 registered religious groups, and 140,000 registry offices. Xinjiang alone has 24,400 mosques.

The foreign ministry spokesperson also cited comments from the international community. According to the official, over 1,000 people from different countries and countries, international organizations, religious groups or just independent scholars have visited Xinjiang since the end of last year, who have praised the region’s efforts in anti-terrorism and anti-terrorism.

The People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region also expressed strong condemnation of and firm opposition to the bill’s passage.

From 1990 to the end of 2016, separatists, religious extremists and terrorists carried out several thousand acts of terrorism in Xinjiang. Many innocent people were killed and the property losses incurred were enormous, the statement said.

To eradicate terrorism and extremism at the root, Xinjiang established vocational education and training centers for people influenced by religious extremism or those who have committed minor crimes. The centers deliver a curriculum that includes standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, and vocational skills.

“The education and training courses are an effective measure to prevent terrorism and extremism,” said the statement, adding that such efforts are by no means so-called “ethnic suppression” or “illegal detention,” and the centers are far from being so-called “concentration camps.”

The statement also noted that the vocational education and training work has yielded positive results, citing considerable growth in the regional economy, income among residents, and tourism revenue.

“No terrorist incidents have occurred in Xinjiang for three years, the spread of extremism has been effectively curbed, and the social order has been greatly improved,” it said.

A senior anti-terrorism official also slammed “re-education camps” allegations by the US, stressing that those are “vocational training centers” that are in response to the threat of religious extremism.

“Those training centers were designed to help with employment while eliminating extremism,” Liu Yuejin, head of China’s national anti-terrorism leading group office.

Officials have stated that the government has gradually downsized the training programs since the beginning of this year, “as the counter-terrorism situation improves.”


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