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Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks on issues relating to Xinjiang I

Question: A letter signed by religious leaders of different faiths highlighting the plight of the Uyghurs and other Muslims in China. What is the comment of the Chinese Embassy in the UK?

Embassy Spokesperson: The contents of the letter is sheer rumor and smear. We strongly deplore and oppose it.

The Chinese Government protects the lawful rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, big or small in population. Since the launch of China’s reform and opening-up drive in 1978, Xinjiang’s GDP has soared from RMB3.9 billion to RMB1200 billion in 2018. Its per-capita GDP has grown from RMB313 to RMB49000 in the same period. Between 1978 and 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang doubled, from 5.55 million to 11.68 million. From 2010 to 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang increased by 25.04%, and that is higher than the growth rate of the whole population in Xinjiang which is 13.99%. The so called genocide and forced sterilization is nothing but a lie.

That "nearly a million Uygurs in Xinjiang are detained" is a lie cooked up by an anti-China organization and an anti-China individual.The organization is the so-called "Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)" backed by the government of the United States. Armed with interviews with only eight people who are ethnic Uygurs and based on an extremely rough estimation, CHRD reached an absurd conclusion that 10% of the more than 20 million people in Xinjiang are detained at so-called "re-education camps".

The anti-China individual is called Adrian Zenz, a far-right fundamentalist funded by the government of the United States. He published an article on the journal Central Asian Survey, claiming that "Xinjiang's total re-education internment figure may be estimated at just over one million." According to The Grayzone, an independent news website, Zenz's conclusion is based on a single report by Istiqlal TV. This so-called "Uygur exile media organization" based in Turkey is far from being a media organization. Istiqlal TV is an organization that advocates separatism and extremism. And Zenz himself believes that he is "led by God" on a "mission" against China.

There are many rumours and lies about the vocational education and training centres in Xinjiang, calling them "concentration camps" or "re-education camps". The truth is they are none of these. They are useful and positive explorations of preventative and de-radicalisation measures.

The centres were established to address the root causes for extremism and prevent further escalation of violent terrorist activities. They are in line with the principles and the spirit embodied in a number of international documents on counter-terrorism, such as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In nature, they are no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK, the community corrections in the United States, or the de-radicalisation centres in France.

At the vocational education and training centres, those who have been led astray by extremist ideas or who have committed minor crimes could learn the common language, legal knowledge and vocational skills. Such education and training will strengthen their ability to break away and stay away from extremist ideas and master vocational skills, and help them to not only become law-abiding citizens but also find stable jobs, earn their own living and live a better life.

Xinjiang residents' religious activities and freedom of religious belief are protected by law. The fact is, there are 24,400 mosques in Xinjiang, which means there is on average one mosque for every 530 Muslims. This ratio is higher than that in some Muslim countries and also higher than the number of churches per Christian in England.The Jiami Mosque of Yecheng County and the Id Kah Mosque in Hotan prefecture, which were claimed to have been "dismantled", were in fact renovated and put to use again.

It is a common international practice to use modern scientific and technological products and big data to improve social governance, and the US is no exception. The installation of cameras in public places in accordance with law in Xinjiang doesn't target any specific ethnicity and it aims to improve social governance and prevent and fight crimes. This measure has been widely supported by people of all ethnic groups as it makes society safer.

Xinjiang is now witnessing sustained economic growth, social harmony and stability, improved wellbeing, and unprecedented cultural prosperity. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are leading a secure life, getting along with each other in harmony, and enjoying full rights to life and development. Their freedom of religious belief and normal religious activities are protected by law. Now is the best time in history for Xinjiang to achieve development.

Rumours will not write off China's progress in safeguarding human rights in Xinjiang. Attempts to disrupt Xinjiang's development and prosperity will never succeed. We hope that you will not believe the rumors or the deceptive words of anti-China elements and politicians.

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s remarks on issues relating to Xinjiang are available on the following website. It will help you get a more objective and comprehensive picture:

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