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Xinjiang is a wonderful land today. It will be even better tomorrow -- Online conference "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" is successfully held in the UK

On 26 March, Chinese Embassy in the UK and Consulates General in Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast co-hosted with the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region an online conference “Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land”. Yang Xiaoguang, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. and Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the UK made the opening remarks. Chairman Shawkat Imin of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region made a keynote speech. Over 100 people attended the conference online, including Chinese Consul General to Manchester Zheng Xiyuan, Consul General to Edinburgh Ma Qiang, Consul General to Belfast Zhang Meifang, Director General of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (London) Winky So, guests from parliament, government, and business, science, education and culture community from various part of the UK, and foreign envoys and diplomats in London.

Eighteen media agencies including BBC, Sky News, Channel 4 News, ITV, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Economist, Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, CCTV, CGTN, China Daily, Guancha, AP, Phoenix Infonews, Nouvelles d'Europe, UK Chinese Times, and UK Chinese Journal attended the conference. CGTN and AP broadcast the conference live. Sky News broadcast a video clip of the ongoing conference.

Chairman Shawkat Imin gave a keynote speech in which he said, “Since the 18th CPC National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xinjiang has upheld a people-centered development philosophy, and made unprecedented achievements in economic and social development and improvement in people’s life”.

First, the overall situation of Xinjiang has been continuously improved. Xinjiang has maximized its effort to protect the essential human rights of people of all ethnic groups from terrorism and extremism. Till now, Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist incident for more than four consecutive years.

Second, Xinjiang has achieved high quality economic development. During the 13th Five Year Plan period, the GDP of Xinjiang rose from 930.68 billion yuan to 1.3797 trillion yuan. In 2020, the per capita disposable income for urban residents of Xinjiang registered 34,838 yuan, 2.41 times that of 2010.

Third, Xinjiang has achieved a complete victory in poverty alleviation. At present, 3.0649 million rural impoverished people under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty, and 3,666 poor villages and 35 poor counties have shaken off poverty.

Fourth, ethnic unity has been solidified. The rights of people of all ethnic groups to equal participation in state affairs have been protected. So have the rights of various ethnic groups to use and develop their own spoken and written languages. The customs of ethnic minorities are respected and Xinjiang has attached great importance to the preservation and protection of the fine cultural traditions of all ethnic groups.

Fifth, religious harmony is maintained. Xinjiang has fully implemented the Party’s policy of religious freedom and protected normal religious activities and demands of believers in accordance with the law.

Sixth, people’s livelihood has been improved. More than 70% of the public fund goes to improving people’s livelihood. The development of Xinjiang benefits people of all ethnic group in the region.

Chairman Shawkat Imin pointed out that recently, some people with ulterior motives keep spreading all sorts of rumors about Xinjiang which are totally untrue. They are only interested in creating the so-called Xinjiang issue to undermine the security and stability in Xinjiang and hold back China’s development. “We strongly condemn and firmly oppose this”, he said. The efforts of the government of Xinjiang are open, aboveboard and honest for the benefit of the people of all ethnic groups. Xinjiang welcomes visitors and hopes they will learn more about the region.

Chargé d’Affaires and Minister Yang Xiaoguang said in his opening remarks that for some time, certain forces bent on containing China have fabricated a large amount of “lies of the century” about Xinjiang and used these lies to demonize China and interfere in China’s internal affairs in order to serve their political agenda. Some countries even proposed the so-called “sanction” against China, which is strongly opposed and rejected by the Chinese side.

“China does not stir up trouble, but China is not afraid when others do. China never provokes confrontation with anyone, but if anyone is bent on confronting China, we are ready to keep them company”, Yang said.

About the real story of Xinjiang, Yang said that first of all, those living there should have a say, and the people of all ethnic groups in the region are best positioned to tell that. Secondly, seeing is believing -- China has been focusing on development at home, including in Xinjiang, and minding its own business; it has always put its people front and centre, making every effort to improve their life in all aspects and safeguard their rights and interests. It is hoped that people in the UK will overcome prejudice, reject the lies and refuse to spread them, and contribute to a better mutual understanding between the two countries and the sound development of the bilateral relations.

Mahmut Abduwali, Associate Professor of Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, gave a presentation on the population growth in the autonomous region. Hatip from Mosque in Shache County of Kashgar Prefecture talked about the protection of the freedom of religious belief. A graduate trainee of vocational education and training center described his experience of getting rid of extremist ideas, mastering vocational skills and getting back to a normal life through training. Uighur migrant workers, women and parents of boarding school students told touching stories of their own which reflect how people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are united and as close to each other as members of one big family.

Officials in charge of relevant departments in Xinjiang, Chargé d’Affaires Yang and representatives of the acadimia, religious community and ordinary citizens from Xinjiang also answered questions from participants and media attending the conference on Xinjiang’s human rights protection, freedom of religion, vocational education and training centers, cotton production and China’s announcement of sanctions on relevant individuals and entities from the UK.

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