By Nurlan Abudmankin，Chairman of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, and it is also the 70th anniversary of Peaceful Liberation of Xinjiang. Over seven decades, under the strong leadership of CPC, Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups were freed from the miserable destiny of oppression, exploitation and slavery; Great economic and social changes have taken place in Xinjiang; People life has experienced a sea change of improvement, from being poor to well-off, from being inadequately fed and clothed to a moderately prosperous one in all respects. In 2008, Xinjiang’s GDP exceeded ¥1.2 trillion yuan, the per capita GDP reached ¥49,475 yuan, a 200-fold and 37.7-fold increase over 1952 respectively. The per-capita disposable income of urban and rural residents has increased 101 and 99 times respectively compared to 1978. Living in harmony and unity, all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are on amicable terms and stand ready to help each other as one family on their common way of a happy life.
The US and some other Western counties are not happy to see a prosperous and stable Xinjiang, and the rise of a socialist China. For some time, the US and some Western media and politicians, under the banner of “human rights”, have churned out a range of reports and remarks that confound black with white. They have wantonly smeared the anti-terrorist combat, de-radicalization effort and vocational education and training program in Xinjiang in disregard of the social stability and harmony here. On December 3rd, the U.S. Congress passed the so-called “the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019”, which wantonly attacked Xinjiang for its human rights conditions. This constitutes a gross interference in China's domestic affairs, with an aim to contain China’s development and obstruct the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Such practice is nothing but plain bullying, which touches the bottom line of China and Chinese people. We therefore are indignant and resolutely oppose that.
Terrorism and extremism are the common enemies of humanity, and the fight against terrorism and extremism is the shared responsibility of the international community. Xinjiang is a key battlefield in the fight against terrorism and extremism in China. Minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been plagued by terrorism and religious extremism. In complete statistics show that from 1990 to the end of 2016, thousands of terrorist attacks were launched in Xinjiang, large numbers of innocent people were killed, and immeasurable damage to property were caused. Faced with this severe and complex problem, in order to effectively contain and systematically remedy the dissemination of religious extremism and frequent terrorist incidents, Xinjiang has taken measures to strike hard at serious terrorist crimes, eliminate the sources of terrorism and religious extremism, and to establish a group of vocational centers to offer systematic education and training. These centers deliver a curriculum that includes standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills, and de-radicalization. Vocational education and training in Xinjiang has won general support for it has succeeded to an enormous extent in eliminating the soil and conditions in which terrorism and religious extremism breed, rehabilitating those who have committed unlawful or criminal acts, and protected basic civil rights. Since the end of 2018, over 1,000 people in more than 70 groups have visited the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang. Among them are senior UN officials, diplomatic envoys to China, diplomats with delegations to the UN in Geneva, media, representatives of international organizations and religious organizations. They praised Xinjiang for its experience in counterterrorism and de-radicalization and said the Xinjiang they saw was completely different from what had been described by Western media. The Western media’s practice of double standard was outrageous.
The overall situation in Xinjiang continues to be stable. Since the initiation of vocational education and training, no violent terrorist attacks have occurred and the number of criminal cases, including those endangering public security, has dropped significantly. People has felt considerably safe and thus become increasingly confident about social stability and lasting peace in Xinjiang. Religious extremism has been effectively eliminated. A batch of people who, eroded by religious extremism, were almost at the brink of committing crimes have been educated and reflected on the mistakes the made. They have realized the nature and harm of terrorism and extremism, and freed themselves from the control of these phenomena exert over their minds. They have a much better awareness of the interests of the nation, their civil duties, the rule of law, and oneness of the Chinese community, and their ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and to resist extremist penetration has significantly improved. They are grateful to the government for saving them, preventing them from becoming the victim and sacrifice of terrorism and extremism. At the education and training centers, government provides nutritious muslin food and well-equipped dormitories. The normal customs of all trainees are fully respected and protected, and their needs for study, life, and recreation are guaranteed and satisfied. Meanwhile, priorities are given to guide the trainees to change their ideas by calling on them to mutually respect the customs and habits among all ethnic groups, and adapting their folkways and living practices in everyday life, marriage and funeral and etiquette, to the development of the times, instead of hanging onto or fettered by trenched outdated rules and uncivilized practices. Thanks to the productive education and training effort, graduated trainees have been employed with skills and knowledge learned at the centers, and they are well accepted by employers and enterprises and the society. A former trainee named Ayigul of Kashgar Prefecture's Buchu County said she has become a workshop leader with the sewing skills learned at the center. She makes 3,000 Yuan every month and her family has been out of poverty. Such examples are numerous. Trainees have turned workers from peasants and live in towns and cities with increasingly better life. They are happy and satisfied with the changes. When seeing the changes in his son who received education and training for being infected with extremist thoughts, Tursun Tohti, a peasant of Bachu County said: "He was a difficult son and we could hardly deal with him. But after the education and training, he could write letters in national common language; he cares about us and wants to be a useful person to the society. It is the government that has saved my son!" Many people have come to feel the very good situation in Xinjiang today hasn't come easily. There would have been no peaceful good days without the education and training program.
A stable and sound economic development. Social stability delivers sustained benefits to the economy. Xinjiang's GDP in the first three quarters increased 6.1% over the same period of last year; Investment in fixed-assets increased 49% over the same period of last year. Xinjiang's tourism, in particular, record a surge in growth: Following receiving 150 millions of tourists last year, Xinjiang had received a record of 200 millions visitors till October this year, an increase of 42.6% Y-o-Y. The tour guide of Xinjiang Golden Bridge Travel Agency Rezvagul Roz said: "A harmonious and stable social environment has laid a solid foundation for tourism development in Xinjiang. Travellers all recognized Xinjiang today has become one of the securest places, and it is a good place." Building Xinjiang as the core zone on the Silk Road Economic Belt has been accelerated; batches of domestic and foreign enterprise are investing in Xinjiang. In the first three quarters, China-Europe freight trains made over 10,000 trips through Xinjiang, Xinjiang is now growing to an important passage and gateway for the westward opening of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Safe and stable environment helps draw in people, goods and commodities, and information. Businesses in the International Grand Bazaar and other large commercial and trade centers are flourishing, and it is even hard to rent a store. Within the China-Kazakhstan International Border Cooperation Center, over 5,000 businesses have established their presence covering commodity exhibition, catering, entertainment, commercial facilities and equipment, financial service, thanks to preferential policies in place such as visa-waiver entry, cross-border tourism, duty-free shopping. The center has registered over 5 million entries and exits.
People's rights of all ethnic groups have been vigorously protected. Xinjiang practices people-centered development at all times, which integrates safeguarding of stability with improvement of people's lives. Over 70% over public finance is used to guaranteeing and improving people's livelihood, with employment, education, medical care, social security being the top priorities. Nine-year compulsory education has been available across Xinjiang, and the 3-year preschool education and 12-year primary and elementary education have been in place for South Xinjiang. All Xinjiang people are covered by the annul free physical examination scheme. In 2019, 12 counties and 976 villages will shake off the poverty cap and 606,100 people will be lifted out of poverty. People's sense of gain and happiness of all ethnic groups has considerably increased. Nowadays, home appliances like TV, fridge and washing machine are ubiquitous in rural homes in Xinjiang; Some homes are fitted with air-conditioners and have purchased cars and some homes are powered by coal-converted-electricity for heating. These realities were way out of imagination in the past. Thanks to the protective renovation project of the Liuxing (six-star) Neighborhood funded by Yining City of Yili Prefecture, over 20 families at the neighborhood were guided to turn their homes into hostels, and engage in catering and handicrafts businesses, which has helped more than 600 people find employment. The neighborhood has become a shining example in promoting ethnic unity and improving people’s livelihood.
Humar Abdula, a villager of Yecheng County, Kashgar Prefecture, has opened a “Hairdressing Salon”. “In the past years, women were restrained by religious extremism thought. Women hardly went out, to say nothing of making up and dressing up. Nowadays, women not only dress in fashion with pursuit of beauty, but also smiles a lot. Life is full of sunshine and they become more confident” her said.
At present, Xinjiang is stable and in harmony, with its economy steadily developing, people's livelihood improving, and social atmosphere having taken a marked turn for the better. Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups are united and their morale is ever more positive and high. Xinjiang is in the best ever period of prosperity and development in history. Our practice has testified that law-based education and training is never to restrain people and deprive them of personal freedom. On the contrary, it is an important measure to help trainees get rid of terrorism and extremism views; It frees people's mind, improves their quality and benefits their development. It embodies the initiatives and ideas of the UN on counter-terrorism and human rights protection. These measures, in conformity with the UN’s purpose and principle of countering terrorism and protecting basic human rights, not only have ensured social stability in Xinjiang but also vigorously safeguarded regional safety and stability, constituting a valuable exploration for and making an important contribution to international efforts in counter terrorism and extremism. We have every confidence that a prosperous and stable Xinjiang is the most steadfast?? and powerful response to any malicious distortion and slander.
Turning a deaf ear to the above-mentioned facts, some media and politicians from the United States and western countries wantonly interfere and portentously judge of Xinjiang affairs. Their fundamental purpose is not “human rights” and “democracy”, but an attempt to use Xinjiang to undermine China’s prosperity and stability with obvious sinister intentions. Xinjiang is an inseparable part of Chinese territory; all ethnic groups of Xinjiang is an integral part of the Chinese nation; Xinjiang affairs is purely Chinese internal affairs. As an important component of national governance system, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is an important force for maintaining social unity and stability. People’s Political Consultative Conference at all levels in Xinjiang and members of all ethnic groups from all walks of life strongly urge that all wrong practices using Xinjiang to interfere in China’s internal affairs should be stopped immediately. No force or no one should not underestimate the solid determination to safeguard national sovereignty and unity and maintain prosperity and stability in Xinjiang by Chinese government and the entire Chinese people. That would be hoist with their own petard. All these despicable acts will make the Chinese people more united as one and concerted efforts. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Chinese people strive for realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.