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The 12th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues

On August 27, 2020, the Information Office of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region held the 12th press conference on Xinjiang-related issues.

Host of press conference: Deputy Head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Xinjiang Committee Xu Guixiang

Xu Guixiang: Dear friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to the 12th press conference on Xinjiang related issues.

The press conference invited the Spokesperson of the Information Office of the People’s Government of XUAR Elijan Anayit, the Director of the Education Department of XUAR Parhat Azim, the Director of the Ethnic Affairs Commission of XUAR Mehmut Usman, the Director of the Department of Human Resources and Social Security of XUAR Rehmanjan Dawut, the Director of the Health Commission of XUAR Mutalip Rozi. They will answer questions from you.

Our friends from the press, please raise your hands to ask questions. Before asking questions, please introduce the name of the news press you are in.

Reporter from China Global Television Network (CGTN)

Q1: On July 9, the US Departments of State and Treasury imposed sanctions on Public Security Department of Xinjiang and party and government officials in Xinjiang based on US domestic laws. On July 31, the US announced sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC, commonly known as Bingtuan) and its officials, citing the same reasons. What’s your response?

Xu Guixiang: This question goes to Elijan Anayit.

A: Xinjiang’s affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. Any external force, American politicians included, has no right and is in no position to interfere. The so called sanctions are a stark hegemonic act, which violates basic norms governing international relations, severely interferes in China’s internal affairs, and hurts the feelings of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. The carders and masses in Xinjiang firmly oppose and strongly condemn this.

Facts speak louder than words, and justice naturally inhabits man’s heart. Xinjiang has adhered to the vision of making development people-centered and continuously promoted projects that benefit people, focusing on employment, education, medical care, social security and housing. The living standards of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been improved year by year.By the end of 2020, all the poor rural population under the current standard in Xinjiang will be lifted out of poverty and together with the rest of the country, enter a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Xinjiang hasn’t seen a single violent, terrorist incident over the past three years and seven months. Extremism has been effectively reined. Public security has notably improved and people have a much stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. Today’s Xinjiang is at the best of prosperity and development that it has ever been. All ethnic groups live and work in peace and contentment, and they enjoy the rights to subsistence and development. In July 2019, ambassadors of over 50 countries to the UN Office at Geneva co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, applauding China’s respect and protection of human rights in its counter-terrorism and deradicalization efforts. In October 2019, at the Third Committee session of the 74th UNGA, more than 60 countries commended in their statements the tremendous human rights progress achieved in Xinjiang, China. On July 1, 2020, at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva, 46 countries in their joint statement commended the human rights progress and counter-terrorism and deradicalization efforts in Xinjiang, they supported China’s position on Xinjiang-related issues.

As an integral part of the region, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has made important contributions to promoting Xinjiang’s development, ethnic unity, social stability and border security, living in harmony with all ethnic groups as a friendly and supportive companion. In recent year, the XPCC has been vigorously advancing urbanization, new-type industrialization and agricultural modernization by tapping its strengths. While vigorously promoting economic development, XPCC has focused on improving people’s livelihood. In 2019, XPCC created 110,100 jobs and registered the per capita disposable income at 33,403 yuan and the registered urban unemployment rate at 2.51%, below the control target of 4%. By the end of 2019, all farms and poor population had been lifted out of poverty. Over one million workers and people have moved into new houses equipped with tap water, electricity, gas heating, and kitchen and bathroom facilities. Their production and living conditions have been improved substantially, and their happiness has been on the rise.

However, some politicians in the United States disregarded facts and distorted truth, wantonly attacking and slandered on the progress that Xinjiang has made under the pretext of human rights. This time, they spared no effort pushing for the passing of the so-called sanctions, openly defending and conniving terrorism and extremism, and supporting the three evil forces. These brutal moves further revealed the ill intention of the US to harm Xinjiang’s stability and contain its development. We hereby warn the US side that the so called “sanctions” are just a ridiculous farce and a disgusting trick, no one will be fooled. We have unwavering resolution to combat terrorism and extremism and maintain social stability and lasting peace. Any foreign force, who attempt to undermine Xinjiang’s stability and all ethnic groups’ prosperity will never succeed.

We urge the US side to immediately revoke the mistakes, and stop using dirty tricks towards Xinjiang-related issues. Otherwise, they just invite insult and must bear all the consequences arising therefrom.

Reporter from China Daily

Q2: Some overseas people think that Xinjiang discriminates its ethnic minorities and is wiping out their identities. What is your comment?

Xu Guixiang: This question goes to Mehmut Usman.

A: Xinjiang upholds the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional Ethnic Autonomy. Xinjiang fully implements the national ethnic policies. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy the same status and the same rights, and participate as equals in administering state affairs. The socialism ethnic relations featuring equality, unity, and harmonious have been developed and consolidated. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are as united as the seeds of a pomegranate holding together tightly. There is no such thing as discrimination and identity purge.

The customs on diet, festivals, weddings and funerals of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are protected in accordance with the law. The best traditions of all ethnic groups are protected and preserved. Many famous buildings representing the history and cultural heritages of the ethnic minorities including Uygur, Mongol, Hui and Xibo have been protected. The government protects ethnic people’s freedom to use and develop their own languages according to law. Ethnic minority languages are extensively used in such areas as judicature, administration, and public affairs. Cadres of ethnic groups are trained to provide support to the social and economic development in Xinjiang. Continue to promote the ethnic unity campaign. Since 2016, civil servants of all ethnic groups have been paired up with people as friends and relatives, helping them change mindset, brodening ways to increase their income, and solving their difficulties in employment, education and medical service. In the past three more years, the employees from the government-funded institutions have donated 987 million yuan, 51.12 million pieces of goods to the people, and done 18.77 million good deeds, harvesting positive response from the public.

Some American politicians show extraordinary care to the minorities in Xinjiang, but turn a deaf ear to their own pains such as racial hatred and discrimination. Reviewing the American history, it was full of exclusion, slaughtering and forced assimilation of the Native Americans, resulting in dramatic decreases of their population in the American society. Some media outlets even described American Indians as the disappearing ethnic group. According to a Pew Research Center survey titled Race in America 2019, systemic racial discrimination is reflected in poverty rate, housing, education, criminal offence, judicature and health care; more than four-in-ten say the country hasn’t made enough progress toward racial equality. Since the outbreak of COVID-19,African Americans have a COVID-19 infection rate five times that of white Americans, who also suffer far lower death rate comparing to their African American folks. Those American politicians are in no position to point fingers at Xinjiang and make irresponsible remarks.

Reporter from China News Service

Q3:There are media and agencies calling vocational education and training centers “concentration camps” that “detained one million Uygurs”. What’s your response?

Xu Guixiang: This question goes to Elijan Anayit.

A: The so called “vocational education and training centers are concentration camps where up to one million Uygurs are detained” is an outright nonsense. As we’ve stressed on multiple occasions, the vocational education and training centers, established in accordance with the law in Xinjiang, are no different in nature from the community corrections in the US, the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) in the UK, and deradicalization centers in France. All of them are useful measures and positive explorations for preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization, with the aim of eradicating extremism and preventing of violent terrorism from escalating. Shohrat Zakir, governor of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, announced in a news release on December 9,2019, that all trainees had graduated from the centers after completing their courses. They have found jobs and their quality of life has improved.

The basic principle of respecting and protecting human rights in accordance with China’s Constitution and laws is strictly observed in these centers to guarantee that the personal dignity of trainees is inviolable. Personal insult and maltreatment in any way is strictly prohibited. All trainees enjoy freedom of movement. The centers are run as boarding facilities and trainees can go home and ask for leave to tend to personal businesses. Trainees’ right to use their own spoken and written languages is fully protected. All rules, regulations, curriculum tables and menus are in the common language and languages of ethnic minorities. The customs and habits of different ethnic groups are fully respected and protected. Trainees can decide on their own whether to attend legitimate religious activities when they go home.The vocational education and training centers are well equipped with different kinds of living facilities. There are radios, TVs and air conditioners in the dormitories. Medical facilities in the centers are available to trainees, which provide health and treatment service. The centers also have sports venues for the trainees to play basketball, volleyball and table tennis, cultural venues such as reading room, computer room and projection room, and auditorium and outdoor stage. Ethnic singing and dancing show and sports game are often held in the centers. Trainees’ learning, living and recreational needs can be fully satisfied in the centers. Does this kind of “concentration camp” exist in the world? Calling the center “concentration camp” is too ridiculous.

The lies clamored by Western and US media outlets that the vocational education and training centers are concentration camps were already exposed by insightful people of the international community. Besides, many journalists who have been to the vocational education and training centers all gave fair reports. In January 2019, a journalist from Turkey said" the Western media reported negatively about the vocational education and training center. They said that concentration camps were built here and people were persecuted. I came with that kind of thought, but after I visited the centers, my prejudice was eliminated. All I saw was an educational center, where people get training and improve themselves. And they have become people with virtues. The atmosphere in the center was very good, which was helpful for them to reintegrate into society." As for the rumors created by the western and US media that millions of Uygurs were detained in the centers, it is totally nonsense. It is known that such horrible rumors were created and spread by Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an NGO supported by the US government. The NGO got to the conclusion that among the 20 million people of Xinjiang, 10% were detained in the reeducation camps based on the interviews of eight Uygurs. The Grayzone, an independent news website has published articles to expose this ridiculous conclusion. On July 25 this year, Max Blumenthal, an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, spoke at an international symposium “No to New Cold War” that many media reports alleging an astonishing number of a million Uygurs being detained are based on shaky source of information that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. I hope friends from the media could sharpen your eyes and do not be blinded.

Photo taken on August 27, 2020 shows the 12th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi,Xinjiang.(Xinji