A white paper issued by China's State Council Information Office on Thursday lauded "great progress" in the protection of human rights of people of various ethnic groups in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
According to the white paper, titled "Human Rights in Xinjiang - Development and Progress," ethnic groups of Xinjiang were at the bottom of the social ladder and deprived of basic human rights before the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.
The founding of the PRC and the socialist system prepared a fundamental political prerequisite and laid the institutional basis for the people of Xinjiang's ethnic groups to enjoy such rights. The regional ethnic autonomy system, implemented in Xinjiang since 1955, offered further guarantee to Xinjiang people in exercising their right as masters of the country, it read.
Since 1978, when China launched its reform and opening-up drive, Xinjiang's economic and social development has entered a new historical phase, and people of the various ethnic groups in the region have seen great progress in the protection of their human rights, it said.
The white paper said Chinese central government has over the years taken effective measures to develop the economy, improve people's living standards, enhance the well-being of the public, promote ethnic unity and progress, and safeguard the basic rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
In particular, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has worked hard to promote economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress across the country.
Committed to the progress of Xinjiang and its people, the CPC Central Committee has pooled the strength of the nation to develop the region, the white paper read.