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Uygur population in Xinjiang rises 25 pct over 8 years: FM spokesperson

Residents have fun in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Sept. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The population of the ethnic Uygurs in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region rose 25 percent from 10.17 million in 2010 to 12.72 million in 2018, or an increase of 2.55 million over eight years, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Monday.

The growth rate is about twice that of the whole Xinjiang population, which stood at 14 percent, and is significantly higher than the 2 percent growth rate of the Han population, spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a press briefing when asked about remarks made by Canada's ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae over Xinjiang issues. Rae reportedly said what China is doing in Xinjiang fits into the definition of genocide.

Zhao further noted that the growth rate in Xinjiang is about 18 times that of the Canadian population. According to Zhao, Canada's population increased by 1.42 percent in 2019, most of which was attributed to immigration.

"If his logic is plausible in finding out who best fits the label of genocide, it seems that it is not the Uygurs who are persecuted, but rather the people of Canada," Zhao said, adding that the ambassador's statement is "ridiculous."