BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- The progress made in the field of human rights protection in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a hard fact that cannot be disputed.
Human rights include first and foremost the rights to life, subsistence and development. For Xinjiang, a vast borderland of challenging terrain, much has been done to develop the local economy, thus granting the people a better life.
Xinjiang's economy has expanded 80 fold since the autonomous region was established in 1955. With a better economy, people's living standards improved. Since 2014, nearly 3 million people have shaken off poverty in Xinjiang.
Today, Xinjiang is peaceful and moving fast toward prosperity. But the current peace did not come easily. It was hard-earned.
Until only a few years ago, Xinjiang often fell victim to violent terrorist attacks which killed many innocent people. It was precisely the regional government's decisive counter-terrorism measures including the establishment of vocational education and training centers that turned the situation around.
Without prevailing peace, basic human rights to life, health and development cannot be guaranteed.
It is a shame that the U.S. House of Representatives, ignoring this progress, passed the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019" last week, smearing the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang's preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures so far have proven effective in protecting the human rights of the 25 million people in the region.
The measures put into practice the call of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which points out that poverty, unemployment, a lack of job opportunities are all conditions conducive to violent extremism and the process of radicalization involves cynical distortion and misuse of religious beliefs, among other factors, by violent extremist groups. The document further recommends providing individuals with educational and economic opportunities to encourage them to leave violent extremist groups.
Since the end of 2018, over 1,000 representatives have visited Xinjiang in more than 70 groups, including officials from various countries, regions and international organizations, and members of the press, religious leaders and academic figures. They have hailed the valuable experience of Xinjiang in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.
In October, at the Third Committee session of the 74th United Nations General Assembly, more than 60 countries commended in their statements the tremendous human rights progress achieved in Xinjiang.
It is time for the United States to recognize China's effective measures instead of discrediting them. After all, human rights are not a "card" for Washington to selectively play against other countries to serve its own interests.