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March 15, 2019

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Stop slandering and smearing Xinjiang

It’s nothing but an absurdity to call vocational education and training centers in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region “internment camps.”

Training centers are basically boarding schools where trainees learn the law and skills that will help them earn a decent living.

At such centers, free accommodation and Muslim food are offered, and trainees go home on a regular basis. Their freedom, ethnic language, customs and religious beliefs are respected.

The establishment of the training centers is part of the region’s de-extremism efforts in accordance with China’s anti-terrorism law, criminal law and the Constitution, as well as local laws of the autonomous region.

A dozen foreign delegations of diplomats, religious figures and journalists have visited multiple training centers since the end of last year. What they saw at the centers shows that some Western media reports of alleged abuse of trainees and restriction of their freedom are complete lies.

Since the 1990s, the “three evil forces” of terrorism, extremism and separatism in China and abroad have plotted, organized and conducted thousands of violent terrorist attacks including bombings, assassinations, poisoning, arson, assaults, unrest and riots, causing the deaths of a large number of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, including Uygur people.

The horrific crimes of terrorists have not only severely undermined the stable and peaceful order and the atmosphere of solidarity and progress of Xinjiang, but also trampled on the essential human rights of people of all ethnic groups in the region, such as their rights to life, health, property and development.

Thanks to efforts of the government and the people, peace has returned to the region, home to 23 million people from 55 ethnic groups. There has not been a single terrorist attack there in over two years.

This is solid proof of the effectiveness of Xinjiang’s fight against terrorism, including de-extremism efforts through the operation of training centers.

As a result, people of Xinjiang have been protected from the inhuman, atrocious and horrific violence of terrorists. In every sense, the measure protects and promotes people’s basic rights to life and development. Calling it a human rights violation is utter nonsense.

Sustained security and stability have benefited Xinjiang’s development. A whopping 3 million Chinese and foreign tourists visited the region during this year’s Spring Festival holiday, and barely anyone feared for their personal safety. The region of amazing nature and diverse culture hosted 150 million tourists last year, up 40 percent from 2017.

In the meantime, Xinjiang is keeping pace with the rest of the nation in building a moderately prosperous society.

With help from the central government and other Chinese regions, the landlocked region lifted 537,000 people out of poverty last year. A similar number of residents gained access to clean drinking water. Several hundred more villages were connected to broadband Internet. Xinjiang’s per capita disposable income reached 21,500 yuan (US$3,204) last year, an increase of 7.6 percent annually, higher than the national average of 6.5 percent.

It is high time for the slandering and smearing of Xinjiang to stop. Terrorism is the common enemy of the human being. It is wiser and better to eliminate the root of terrorism than merely eliminate terrorists with guns and missiles. Applying double standards in fighting terrorism is immoral and unacceptable.


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