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The second press conference by Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related issues in Beijing

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

This is the second press conference of Xinjiang-related issue after the first one which was held on December 21, 2020, in Beijing. The representatives today are: Xu Guixiang - Deputy Director General of CPC Publicity Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Elijan Anayat and Zulhayat Ismayil - Spokespersons of Information Office of People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Lin Fangfei - Associate Professor of Politics and Public Administration of Xinjiang University, Muhtram Sherip - Imam of Yang Hang Mosque in Urumqi City, Nijat Muhtar - former trainee of vocational and education training center in Yopurgha County, Kashgar Prefecture, and Mamatreyim Narsirdin - employee who once worked in inland China, comes from Akto County, Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu.

US Bloomberg News: We’ve noticed recently that two groups of numbers were mentioned in a latest released report of Xinjiang University, which is about the natural growth rate of population in 2015-2018. The numbers cited in the report show that there’s a relatively obvious decline of natural growth rate of population in Xinjiang (about 46% lower than the previous year), the speed of decline seems to be significantly faster than that of the national level (about 28%). How can we understand these numbers?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Xu Guixiang: According to statistics in Xinjiang before 2017, the natural birth rate is about 15‰, the natural growth rate is about 11‰. There is a decline in growth rate in 2018 as you mentioned, but compared with the national average (10.94‰), the growth rate (10.69‰) is about the same. The natural growth rate (6.13‰) is higher than the national average (3.81‰). The Uygur growth rate (11.9‰) is also higher than Xinjiang average growth rate (10.69‰) and much higher than Han growth rate (9.42‰). This shows the growth rate of Uygur population is much higher than Xinjiang average and Han population in the same period.

In Xinjiang, the natural population birth rate and growth rate has been declining from 2017 (15.88‰, 11.40‰) to 2018 (10.69‰, 6.13‰) respectively, the rate of new born population in 2018 is 120,000 less than the previous year. According to statistics from hygiene-health department and statistical department, there’s a decline of 80,000 births because of legally control of unscheduled births based on family planning policy. Meanwhile, with the promotion of poverty alleviation, the production and living conditions in poverty-stricken area of southern Xinjiang have been greatly improved with the markedly speeding of urbanization process, consistently increasing of urban population and greatly improving of educated level with cultural quality of people of all ethnic groups. With the change of mindset, people’s willingness to give birth is also declining. All ethnic groups choose to marry late and give births late of their own accord in order to have fewer and better births.

CNN: China says that the statement “Xinjiang detained a million Muslim minorities”, as claimed by US government and other international institutions, is fake news. However, more and more overseas Uyghurs keep reporting their relatives’ missing and proving “detention” in Xinjiang, thus more and more countries and international organizations are speaking up and sanctioning. What is your comment on this?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Elijan Anayat:First of all, I want to make it clear that there has been no so-called "concentration camps" in Xinjiang. However, some foreign politicians and media are holding ill-intentions, labeling vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang as "concentration camps". The vocational education and training centers legally established in Xinjiang were actually schools with the character of de-radicalization, which are no different in essence from the “community corrections” enforced in the US, the DDP (Desistance and Disengagement Programme) in the UK, and the de-radicalization centers in France, all being conducive attempt and proactive exploration for preventive counter terrorism and de-radicalization. All of the trainees graduated in October, 2019 and secured stable employment with the help of the government and started a happy life with increasingly improved quality.

“Xinjiang detained a million Muslim minorities” is groundless accusation and vicious smear. The Grayzone, an independent news website once published articles to expose that such ridiculous conclusion was fabricated and spread by the US government supported non-governmental organizations and anti-China forces: firstly, Chinese Human Rights Defenders drew a conclusion that among 20 million people of Xinjiang, 10% were detained in the reeducation camps based on the interviews of eight overseas Uyghurs. Secondly, the pseudo researcher Adrian Zenz, who forged such lies, has admitted that “he is not certain about this estimate.” On July 25, 2020, Max Blumenthal, an award-winning journalist and the author of several books, editor of The Grayzone spoke at an international symposium No to New Cold War that many media reports alleging an astonishing number of a million Uyghurs being detained are based on shaky sources of information that don’t stand up to examination.

As far as I know, a few overseas people of Xinjiang origin fabricated lies about being “cramped down” in vocational education centers, relatives “missing”, thus, smearing Xinjiang. For instance, Sayragul Sawuytbay told the public that she used to teach in vocational educationand training center. Later, she was portrayed as a victim of the center, and claimed been detained in the concentration camps,suffered from torture and medical experiments and was forced to eat pork. As a matter of fact, she was neither employed nor studied at any vocational education and training center, nor was subject to any compulsory measures. In fact, she is a crime suspect for loan fraud and illegal border crossing, who is on Xinjiang public security authorities’ online wantedlist. On April 5, 2018, Sayragul sneaked across the border and went to Kazakhstan from China-Kazakhstan Horgas International Border Cooperation Center, which was taken as a conduct of illegal border crossing according to Article 322 of Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China. In June, 2015, and inDecember, 2016, she applied for 470,000 yuan with fabricated house purchase contract, forged guarantee materials and guarantor’s signature from a Rural Co-op Credit Union at Chahanwusu Town, Zhaosu County, which she now still owes 398,000 yuan on debt. Hence, she is under charge of loan fraud according to Article 193 of Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China. US Secretary of State Pompeo commended how she “bravely provided accounts of Xinjiang’s internment camps”, and gave the 2020 International Women of Courage Award to such a liar and criminal suspect, which is such a huge disgrace.

Another example, Mihrigul Tursun, who testified in the hearing of “Chinese Committee” under US Congress, also lied to you.Firstly, she claimed been sterilized due to drug injections in the concentration camp. Actually, Mihrigul Tursun was taken into custody by the public security bureau of Qiemo County on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination on April 21, 2017. She was later found to have infectious diseases, including syphilis. The public security bureau of Qiemo County terminated the compulsory measures against her on May 10, 2017 out of humanitarian considerations. Apart from 20 days in criminal detention, Mihrigul was totally free during her stay in China. Mihrigul has never been jailed or received penitentiary education in any vocational education and training center, nor been forced to take drugs against her will. Another investigation shows that there’d been no record confirming her receiving contraceptive operation, her parents said she has fertility. Mihrigul Tursun made up stories more than once. She lied that her young brother Akbar Tursun was abused to death in the education and training center. Akbar Tursun clarified after he heard what she said and noted that “Mihrigul Tursun is always telling lies, she lied about my death and other people’s death.” Secondly, she claimed that one of her sons died in Urumqi Children’s Hospital. In fact, that is her son Muez that he was hospitalized in Urumqi Children’s Hospital during Jan. 14-19, May 6-12, Nov. 4-8, 2016, because of pneumonia, hydrocephalus, and indirect inguinal hernia. On April 23, 2018, Mihrigul along with her husband and Muez left China carrying Egyptian passport.

For example, Gulziya Tashmamat is a member of World Uyghur Congress, an overseas separatist organization. She said that her sister was arrested after returning to China. Actually, after returning from Malaysia, her sister Gulgina Tashmamat works as a English tutor in a training center in Yining, living a nomal life with her families.

There are actors and lies more than this, which I will not name one by one. As I know, some relatives or friends of overseas Xinjiang natvies were punished by criminal penalty according to law because they committed crimes such as murder, rape, drug trafficking and robbery.However, through the temptation and manipulation of the“three forces, such as the WUC, they were told to be detained in “concentration camps” or persecuted, which is totally irrelevant. What is beyond our imagination, some ones from some countries and international organizations such as the USA consider those false claims as proofs, to make statements or take sanction measures, which is really ridiculous. Does the USA exempt murders, rapers, drug traffickers, robbers and so on from any punishment? No wonder white policemen in US often shoot African Americans with impunity, which are the greatest blasphemy to human rights and rule of law.

The so called sanction by some countries,which is groundless in reality and morally and political action with ulterior motives, is only an ugly and disgusting play by American politicians.

Sky News:We have credible reports that Uighur workers sent to other parts of China are often supervised by Xinjiang officials. If the labour is uncoerced, why does it require government supervision?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Zulhayat Ismayil:The allegations that there are forced labors in Xinjiang and Uyghur workers are put under surveillance are totally pseudo-proposition, which are lies fabricated by some anti-China activists and their operators behind the scene. Forced labour are not identified by the imagination of some nations, organizations and people, and the international community has clear definition in this regard. The Forced Labour Convention passed by International Labours Organization in 1930 defined the term “forced labour” as all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself. Nevertheless, all workers from different ethic groups are protected by the Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China and other laws and regulations. They can choose their professions and work places as they like, sign labor contacts with their employers on the basis of equality and their free will, and receive due salaries. How can you call this forced labour?

Last year, the State Council Information Office of the Peoples Republic of China has issued the White Paper Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang, and Xinjiang Development Research Center has published several reports, including An Investigation Report on Employment of Ethic Minorities in Xinjiang.These documents circumstantially expounded the fact that the ethic minorities have achieved voluntary employment and decent work through detailed data, vivid examples and field visits.This clarifies that the employment policy fully respects the will of employment of workers, protect the basic rights of them, and help Xinjiang natives to lead a happy life.

In the meantime, I would like to highlight the following points. The first point is that the employment of all ethic groups in Xinjiang is protected by law. Xinjiang always abide by the spirits advocated by the Constitution of International Labor Organizations and other relevant conventions, and strictly follows the Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China, Implementation Opinions on the Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and measures on Implementation of Regulation on Labor Security Supervision in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, etc., and put the issues of establishment, operation, supervision, adjustment of labor relations under the framework of rule of law, and severely prohibit the forced labor through violence, threat or illegal restriction of personal freedom.The second point is that all ethic groups in Xinjiang enjoys full freedom of employment.They can choose their professions,go any places and do any jobs at their own will, and their personal freedom is never jeopardized.What all level of governments do are to improve all kinds of employment promotion policies, actively establish information sharing platform of employment, bu-lid a favorable environment for employment, create conditions for all ethic groups to find satisfied employment and receive stable incomes, and protect employments rights of them to the largest degree. The third point is that labor rights and interests of all ethic groups are protected by law. Their rights of receiving work incomes, rest and vacation, working security and hygiene and social insurance and welfare are protected by law. Wherever in Xinjiang and other regions, the rights of religion belief, culture and languages of all ethic groups are respected and protected by the law.

In fact, the labor and employment security and practices, which is in line with China’s Constitution and laws and international labor and human rights standard, meets the strong aspiration of all ethic groups for a better life, can stand the test of the world.

As to whether Uyghur workers in other regions of China are forced labors or put under surveillance, let us invite Mamtimin Turghun who once worked in inland city to tell his story.

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Mamatreyim Narsirdin:I am Mamatreyim Narsirdin, from Akto County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture. I worked in a electric appliance company in Cixi City, Zhejiang Province. Now I would like tell you about our work and living conditions there.

Years ago, I saw the recruitment information from an electrical appliances company of Cixi City, Zhejiang Province with good salary and social insurances from the bulletin of the village committee, so I submitted my application and signed an employment contract with this company. After arriving at Cixi, the company provided us with free and well-conditioned dormitories with toiletries, bedding, wardrobe, air-conditioner, TV, water dispenser etc., To accommodate our ethic customs, the company opened a halal canteen and employed two Uyghur chefs to cook for us.

We work eight hours every day and can ask for leave in case of need. After work, I would talk with my family by phone, or went to the company’s gym. At weekend, my workmates and I usually went outside for shopping or watching movie, and we visited some scenic spots like West Lake in Hangzhou and the Bunk in Shanghai. All of us likes Cixi, where is humid and beautiful and the residents are hospitable. The company gave us family reunion leaves and paid for round-trip tickets. When at home with my parents, we usually helped them to do some farm work, and talked with them about the fresh things we met in the inland city.

I could earn more than 4,000 RMB every month in the company. Several old friends in the village admired me and asked me many times whether the company would recruit more staffs when we chatted by phone. I forwarded their wishes to the manager and the manager travelled thousands of kilometers to Akto County to make recruitment. All of my friends submitted their application and we got together again. I thought that I could launch a company if I worked more years to acquire more skills and more money.

Later I had to return to my hometown because I need to take care of my aged parents. Taking advantage of the skills and money saved during my work in Cixi, I opened a shop to repair motorcycle and electric bicycle. Because of my good skills and credit management, my business became better and better. My brother and I would like to launch an electric bicycle assembly factory so I asked my brother to learn skills to an electric motor company in Hangzhou. After he finished the training, I reported my idea of entrepreneurship to the government of Akto County, which was very supportive and provided me a factory building of 500㎡ free of charge. So my brother I invested 200,000 RMB to start a factory to assembly agricultural electric tricycles, and can earn as much as 150,000 to 160,000 RMB every year, being a leader of becoming-rich in the village.

Some foreigners said that we are forced to work in inland cities and monitored, which is totally nonsense. It is our freedom to travel to any places in China. Who doesn’t want to go if we can have higher income and better treatment inland? How could we introduce my brother and our friends to work in inland cities if we were forced and put under surveillance? We also see many foreigners work in Zhejiang, are they forced to do so?

EFE in Spain: What's the current proportion of population of Uygur and Han in Xinjiang? Does it change in recent years?You mentioned that the number of trainees in the centers are dynamic, and it’s hard to give the exact number. How many training centers are there in Xinjiang now? How long is the average time does trainee stay in the center? Are they allowed to leave the center in weekends or in holidays?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Lin Fangfei:About the first question, according to statistics, the numbers of total population, ethic minorities population and Uygur population in Xinjiang have increased steadily while the population of Han people has increased slightly from 2010 to 2018. During the period, the total residents in Xinjiang have grown from 21.8158 million to 24.8676 million with an increase of 3.0518 million and increase rate of 13.99 %. Among them ethic minorities population has grown from 12.9859 million to 15.8608 million, an increase of 2.8749 million and increase rate 22.24% .Uygur population has grown from 10.1715 million to 12.7184 million, an increase of 2.5469 million and growth rate of 25.04%. The population of Han has grown from 8.8299 to 9.0068 with an increase of 0.1769 million and growth rate of 2.0%. The growth rate of Uyghur population is higher than that of the total population, the ethic minorities and Han people.

I have noticed that recently, some anti-China forces in the United States and the Western countries have been making a big fuss about the so-called population problem in Xinjiang, especially the Uygur population. Adrian Zenz, a German anti-China scholar, released a report, concocting the lie of the century that Xinjiang has undertaken "forced sterilization" and "genocide"against Uygurs. Adrian Zenz claimed that the data in the report are all quoted from Chinese official statistics and reports. But in fact, his report is full of fabricated facts and laced with datatampering, which can be characterized in the following six aspects:

Firstly, Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that the natural population growth rate in Xinjiang has declined rapidly since 2015, of which the natural population growth rate in Hotan and Kashgar in 2018 was only 2.58 ‰, thus maliciously slandering the equitable population policy among all ethnic groups in Xinjiang as "genocide." However, according to the region’s 2019 Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook released by the Bureau of Statistics, the natural population growth rate in Kashgar in 2018 was 6.93 ‰ and that in Hotan was 2.96 ‰. Moreover, when Adrian Zenz mentioned the data on the natural population growth rate in Hotan and Kashgar, he did not indicate the specific source of the data, so his data were completely fake.

Secondly: Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture had "set an unprecedented near-zero population growth target", that is, the state's natural population growth rate was reduced to 1.05 per thousand in 2020. and take this opportunity to demonstrate that the Chinese government has adopted compulsory birth control over Uygur and other ethnic minorities. Through the link provided in Adrian Zenz's report, I obtained this document of the Kizilsu Kirgiz Prefectural Health Commission through the linked in Zenz’s report, which he claimed the prefecture set" near-zero population growth target". As noted in the document, "natural population growth rate" is indicated in percentage points, that is, the very rate for 2020 is 1.05%, which translates to 10.5‰. Adrian Zenz completely misrepresented the figures.

Thirdly: Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that Xinjiang government’s documents stipulated that those who gave birth illegally would study in the education center, which was used to "corroborate" the allegation in his falsified "Karakash (Moyu) List" report that so-called violation of the family planning policy is the most common reason for study in education and training centers. According to the weblinks in Adrian Zenz’s report, I have browsed all the health commissions’ documents at prefectures and even counties levels he referred to, which i found contain no reference to Adrian Zenz's claim that "those who give birth illegally will participate in study in the education and training center."

Fourthly: Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that 80% of the new cases of IUD in China in 2018 were in Xinjiang. In fact, according to the 2019 China Health Statistical Yearbook published by the National Health Commission, there were 328,475 IUDs performed in Xinjiang in 2018 including those performed on Han women, accounting for only 8.7% of the country’s total increased IUDs of 3,774,318. It can be seen that it is Adrian Zenz’s habitual trick to support his absurd conclusions through fabrication and data manipulation.

Fifthly: Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that the Chinese government had carried out compulsory birth control operations on Uygur women who had one child. It should be pointed out that Adrian Zenz only announced his "conclusion" in the report, but failed to produce any evidence to support it. Therefore, his so-called conclusion is merely a speculation. In fact, the Xinjiang’s population and family planning regulation revised in 2017 stipulates that the region applies a unified family planning policy to all the ethnic groups in Xinjiang: a urban couple can have two children and a rural couple can have three children. The provision of reproductive technical service in Xinjiang has always been carried out in light of national guidance while respecting the will of each individual, emphasizing that citizens have the right to be informed of the contraceptive methods, and residents of all ethnic groups, including Uygurs, choose birth control surgeries on a fully informed and voluntary basis. The official website of the World Health Organization has made it clear that "IUD is a safe, effective and reversible long-term contraceptive method".

Sixthly: Adrian Zenz falsely claimed in the report that there is a significant difference in the natural population growth rates between the rural areas of Hotan County, which are dominated by Uygurs, and the suburban areas of Hotan City, which are dominated by Han. He gave an example that in 2018, the natural growth rate of Han population in Gulbagh Street of Hotan City was 15.17% ( 151.7 ‰), while the natural population growth rate of Hotan County was 2.22 ‰. He also said that the natural growth rate of the Han population in this street was eight times that of Hotan County, accusing China of accelerating its “Han settler colonialism." In fact, according to the statistics of relevant authorities in Hotan, in 2018, the natural growth rate of Han population in Gulbagh Street of Hotan City was only 1.2 ‰, while the natural population growth rate of Hotan County was 5.29‰. Contrary to Adrian Zenz's conclusion, the natural population growth rate of Hotan County is 4.4 times that of Han ethnicity in Gulbagh Street of Hotan City. Thus it can be seen that Adrian Zenz based his conclusions totally on fabrication and he himself doesn’t possess the qualities and capabilities for academic research. It must be pointed out that Xinjiang has been inhabited by multi-ethnic groups since ancient times. All ethnic groups have made important contributions to the development, construction, and defense of Xinjiang, and they are all masters of the region. There is no question of who colonizes whom.

In fact, Adrian Zenz is a member of the far-right organization "Communist victims Memorial Foundation" established by the US government in 1983, and is also a core member of the "Xinjiang Education and training Center Research Group" set up by US intelligence agencies. He believes that he is "led by God" and shoulders the "mission" of opposing China. He is keen to concoct rumors about Xinjiang and slander China, and his relevant reports and remarks have long been proved to be falsehoods. His reports don’t have the slightest of credibility and academic integrity in it. Whenever you see his report again, you are advised to throw it directly into the dustbin.

Elijan Anayat: On the second question. The number of people participating in vocational education and training isnot fixed; some are coming in while others are going out.Curriculum at the vocational education and training centersinclude national common spoken and written language, legal knowledge, professional skills and deradicalization courses. Students can graduate after passing the exams. However, each student’s education background is differentand their learning ability also varies, so their study period at school differs before passing the exams. Training students’ personal freedomsat the training centersare guaranteed in accordance with the law. Vocational educational and training centers adopt a boarding school management system; students can go home regularly and ask for leave in case of need. In October 2019, the trainees who participated in vocational education and training program all graduated. They havefound stable employment and are living normal and improved lives with the help of government. At present, there is novocational education and training center in Xinjiang.

With regard to the education and training centers in Xinjiang, we have introduced it at a number of press conferences on Xinjiang-related issues. Some graduated trainees also answered questions from Chinese and foreign reporters, telling them about their situation and feelings of study and life in the centers. The White Paper "Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang" issued by the the State CouncilInformation Office ofthe people's Republic of China systematically expounds the realistic background, legal basis, teaching contents, management measures and remarkable results of the teaching and training work in Xinjiang. On August 24, 2020, the Channel 4 of China Media Group broadcast a documentary"Lies and Truth- Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang”,which also recorded six trainees who landed in stable employment and are leading a normal life, after being freed from the spiritual shackles of extremism through studying in the education and training center. I have also brought all these materials and you are welcome to take it. I believe that after you have read it, you will have a better knowledge and a deeper understanding of the vocational education and training work in Xinjiang.

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

The Parliamentary Newspaper of Russia: why have countries paid more attention to the human rights issue in Xinjiang recently?

Xu Guixiang: As an old Chinese saying goes: mediocre people tend to be troubled by unnecessary fuss. The development and promotion of human rights work in China has been widely seen. The rights to politics, economy, social, and freedom of religious beliefs of all ethnic groups have been guaranteed unprecedentedly. Since the end of 2016, through arduous fight against terrorism and extremism, the situation in Xinjiang has changed for the better greatly, with unprecedented achievements being made in economic and social development, the improvement of people’s livelihoods and human rights safeguard. Favorable prospects has unfurled across Xinjiang where society is stable and people enjoy peaceful and content lives. Firstly, the overall situation in Xinjiang is stable. No single case of violent terrorism has been occurred in Xinjiang for the past four years. The number of criminal cases, public security cases, cases of endangering public security and public safety incidents has fallen significantly. People’s hope for peace and stability has been realized. Social stability in Xinjiang has brought in record numbers of tourists to the region: 150 million visitors in 2018, up 40.09% form the year earlier, and 213 million in 2019, increasing 41.96% y-o-y. Secondly, steady and healthy economic growth. Stick to the new development philosophy, we have achieved high quality development of economy. From 2014 to 2019, the GDP in Xinjiang rose from 919.59 billion yuan to 1.3597 trillion yuan, with an annual growth rate of 7.2%; the general public budget revenue rose to 157.77 billion yuan from 128.23 billion yuan, with an annual growth rate of 5.7%. Continued improvement of infrastructures. All the prefectures in Xinjiang are connected by expressway, and paved road leads to every village, to which bus service, dynamic power, and fiber optic broadband have been made accessible. Thirdly, people’s life has been greatly improved. The annual growth rate of per capita disposable income of residents in Xinjiang was 9.1%. 1.69 million rural houses and 1.56 million government-subsidized housing projects in cities and towns have been constructed. More than 10 million people have moved to new houses.Nine-year compulsory education is available region-wide and children in south part of Xinjiang enjoy three-year pre-school education and 12-year basic education. Urban and rural public service has upgraded continually, and social security increasingly improved. 99.7% residents were covered by the basic medical insurance; Free physical exam has been offered to all residents in Xinjiang since 2016; All the township hospitals and village clinics have reached standardization requirements. Fourthly, decisive results have achieved in poverty alleviation. 3.089 million people have been lifted out of poverty under the current poverty line. Poverty was eliminated in 3,666 poverty-stricken villages and 32 towns. Absolute poverty issue in Xinjiang has been solved historically. How’s it going with Xinjiang’s human rights safeguard, I think locals have right to speak the most.

Many countries and the fair-minded in the world have made positive comments on Xinjiang's changes in recent years. Since 2018, some 1,200 people have visited Xinjiang. They include foreign diplomatic envoys to China, UN officials, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Geneva-based senior diplomats of various countries, as well as more than 80 groups (or delegations) of people from political parties, civil society organizations, news media, and religious organizations of various countries, most of which have given objective and impartial reporting. In March, 2019, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation adopted a resolution commending China's efforts in providing care to its Muslim citizens. In July, 2019, Geneva-based representatives from more than 50 countries had sent letters jointly to UN human right council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights making positive comments on China’s anti-terrorism and de-radicalization work in Xinjiang. October 2019, more than 60 countries made a joint statement on a UN Third Committee meeting commending Xinjiang for its great human rights progress. In July, 2020, the UN human Rights Council hold its 44th meeting in Geneva. Representing a group of 46 nations, Belarus voiced support for China’s position, measures and effects. In September, 2020, on the 45th session of Human Rights Council, representatives of many countries supported China’s Xinjiang policies in speech. In October, 2020, speaking at the General Debate of the Third Committee of the 75th UN General Assembly, nearly 50 countries supported China’s measure in Xinjiang, opposing blackening of China by some western countries. In October, 2020, delegation of the diplomatic envoys of Arabic countries and the representative office of the Arab League visited Xinjiang. They spoke highly of Xinjiang’s achievement in terms of anti-terrorism, deradicalization, freedom of religious belief, economic developments and people’s livelihoods.

However, some countries turn a blind eye to and lie through their teeth about the human rights progress in Xinjiang. They smear Xinjiang as “a living hell”. We all know clearly that their real intentions are interference and disruption. Think it seriously: A few years ago, violent terrorist activities occurred frequently in Xinjiang, seriously threatening the lives and safety and seriously infringing the basic rights of people of all ethnic groups. That greatly undermined the human rights situation in Xinjiang, people were afraid to walk on the streets. At that time, some so-called "human rights guardians" in US and West countries clapped their hands with glee secretly, fearing there would be no chaos in the world.

Now that Xinjiang has achieved social harmony and stability, and people enjoy all kinds of real rights, the United States and Western countries become restless and anxious about the development and progress of human rights in Xinjiang, making indiscreet remarks and wantonly spreading sensational fake news, and viciously attacking Xinjiang by alleging the region commits "large-scale violations of human rights." The intention is essentially to pull Xinjiang into their preset human rights trap, and pull global public opinion into their discourse trap and Xinjiang affairs into their toolbox for interfering in China's internal affairs.

I was shocked to watch on TV pro-Trump supporters storming into the US Capitol and clashing with the police, which left multiple deaths. Pompeo declared that it is unacceptable of violence whether in the US of in other parts of the world. I’d like to know, does “other parts of the world” include Xinjiang? The US calls itself as “beacon of world freedom”, then why does the light of beacon shimmers? Flushing into the Capitol, is it “a beautiful sight to behold” in the US? A female supporter was shot to death on the spot, should it be considered “violation of human rights”? Should other countries be concerned about US’s human rights and call it to reflect on its own human rights practices?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

NHK: 1) many overseas Uygurs said that "their families in Xinjiang were controlled by the authorities and they lost contact with them."The Chinese side has always called such reports "lies" and "false news," but these are all the true voices of overseas Uygurs. What is China's response to them? 2) In addition, foreign media not actually welcome with the local public security organs, and they are often unable to access what they intend to cover. In addition to organized group tours, when can foreign media travel to Xinjiang to report freely in the region?

Zulhayat Ismayil: on the first question. China is a country under the rule of law, and citizens' personal freedom and freedom of communication are protected by law. While cracking down on terrorism in accordance with the law, Xinjiang has been upholding the protection of human rights, fully ensuring that people of all ethnic groups enjoy a wide range of rights and freedoms in accordance with the law, ensuring normal social life, and resolutely preventing the basic rights ofpeople of all ethnic groups from being affected in its anti-terrorism and deradicalization efforts.

I’d like tell you responsibly that the communication between people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and their relatives abroad is free and normal. As for some people abroad who say that they have "lost contact" with their relatives in Xinjiang, after our investigation and verification, there are three main reasons to explain: First, some overseas Xinjiang nativeshave joined the "East Turkistan"forces, their relatives in Xinjiang are unwilling to contact them. Second, the relatives of some Xinjiang natives living overseasare under criminal detention by the public security organs on suspicion of crimes such as rape, drug trafficking, robbery, and so on, which forbids such communication according to law. Third, some overseas Xinjiang natives and their relatives may wrongly remember each others telephone number or have changed their numbers, resulting in disconnection in their communications. Fourth, some overseas Xinjiang nativeswho are bewitched and coerced by the "three forces" deliberately made up lies about the so-called "loss of contact." For example, in an ABC News (Australia) report, Azmat Omar, a Chinese citizen living in Australia, claimed that he had lost contact with his family members in Xinjiang, including his father, stepmother, three brothers, two sisters and over 20 nephews. It later became clear that all his family members in China are living normal lives and enjoy full personal freedoms.

As some overseas Xinjiang natives could not get in touch with their relatives in Xinjiang for various reasons temporarily, they tend to conjecturing, or suspecting their relatives had been "detained". I frankly tell them that if you can't get in touch with your relatives in Xinjiang, please contact Chinese Embassy or consulate, and we will work withthem to provide assistance.

On your second question. We have always been open and welcome to foreign journalists who come to Xinjiang to cover and report news. The Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Coverage by Resident Foreign News Agencies and Foreign Journalists stipulate that legitimate rights of resident foreign news agencies and foreign journalists shall be protected, and their lawful news coverage and reporting activities shall be facilitated. Meanwhile, resident foreign news agencies and journalists shall abide by Chinese laws, regulations, rules and professional ethics of journalism, conduct interviews and reports in an objective and fair manner, and shall not engage in activities inconsistent with the nature of their organizations or the identity of journalists.

However, as far I know, a very small number of foreign media reporters have done things in Xinjiang that do not comply with Chinese laws and regulations and violate professional ethics by engaging in so-called verification and blackmail. For instance, when some media outlet shot the anti-China film “China Undercover” involving content about Xinjiang, it used a stand-in under the guise of negotiating business to secretly shoot footage at Xinjiang Leon Technology Co., Ltd. with a hidden camera in a handbag, and asked loaded questions without the staff’s knowing. In the film, the content of the interview is taken out of context, slandering that the company has helped the Chinese government build the most complete surveillance system in the world. This kind of covert interview method and the distorted report, which is totally contrary to the fact, are contemptible.

Another example. Recently when a reporter of a broadcasting company interviewed a cotton processing plant in Xinjiang’s Aksu Prefecture, he just went around outside the plant without entering it to learn about the facts, and jumped to smear in his report that China was forcing hundreds of thousands of Uygurs and other ethnic minority people to do tough physical work in the farmland. When the reporters of the same broadcasting company interviewed at the Pomegranate Seeds Clothing Co., Ltd. in Kucha, Asku Prefecture, they forced to shoot footage without the consent of the interviewee, and had a dispute with the staff of the company. The coverage they released was arbitrary travesty, which even said that the company’s staff were “government officials” and falsely claimed that they had been obstructed by officials of different identities for many times”. These behaviors have no professionalism, journalistic ethics nor responsibility to speak of. How can any country tolerate such media reporters’ wanton rumors and slanders?

SBS: 1)The west claims that there is “forced labor” and “ideological education” in Xinjiang’s education and training centers. I want to ask if all ethnic minority trainees are voluntary to join the program? Is there any “ideological education”? Is their freedom of religious belief guaranteed? 2)As Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist attacks for four years in a row, will there be any change in the relevant policies for monitoring and controlling terrorist activities?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Nijat Muhtar: My name is Nijat Muhtar, and I am a graduated trainee from the Vocational Education and Training Center in Yopurgha County, Kashgar Prefecture.

In the past, under the persuasion of a former “friend” of mine, I joined illegal religious activities at his home. Those at the activities preached religious extremism to me, saying that “Muslim who kill kafirs can enter heaven”, “all Han people are kafirs, and killing one Han person is better than performing ten years of religious duties”, etc. They also sent violent terrorist audio and video clips to my mobile phone. Gradually, I began to believe in what they said, and my thoughts changed. I began to idolize those who launch jihad and die for the religion, believing that they were brave fighters and imagining that I myself would be like them one day. Consequently, I behaved myself according to the codes they told me, refusing to talk or do business with Han people, feeling disgusted whenever a Han came to my shop, and even taking a knife to hit a Han customer on one occasion when, fortunately, I was then stopped by a friend. I forbade my wife to go out or to talk to Han people. I didn’t let my child go to school nor go to hospital when he was sick, because I thought there were Han people in schools and hospitals. At that time, I was just possessed, with my mind being full of religious extremist thoughts, and I got more and more irascible, unsociable and eccentric. Seeing me like that, my family and friends were very sad and worried about me, so they persuaded me to go to the vocational education and training center for the education and training program.

When I first went to the center, I was somehow worried about losing freedom. But when I arrived at the center, I found it totally different from what I thought before. Our center was a school, with spacious and bright classrooms, reading rooms and sports venues. All trainees enjoyed training, food and accommodation free of charge. At the school, we had classes from Monday to Friday, normally took days off on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. we mainly learned the standard spoken and written Chinese language, legal knowledge and vocational skills together with deradicalization content. The teachers at the school were just like our family. They taught us laws, policies, reasons and knowledge. Under the guidance of the teachers, I got to know what is legal, what is illegal; what can be done and what cannot be done. Now I know what the extremists wanted to do was illegal and criminal things, and they wanted to turn us into ruthless murderers. In the school, we could choose to learn one or two vocational skills according to our hobbies. I used to like cooking, so I chose to learn culinary skills. Thanks to that, now I can cook even more delicious Xinjiang-style spicy chicken than before.

The school respected our traditions and habits. The school canteen provided us with a great variety of nutritious halal food for free every day. Our religious belief was also protected according to law. The teachers told us that the vocational education and training center was a school, and religious activities are forbidden in schools, but we could decide on our own whether to attend the prayers when we go home on weekends and during holidays. This has never been interfered by anyone.

After participating in the vocational education and training program, my thoughts have changed and I have become more cheerful. As a result, my child no longer hides from me like before; my wife and I get along better than the past; and my parents no longer worry about me. It is the vocational education and training center that saved me and my family, and we are all very grateful for my unforgettable learning experience at the center.

Elijan Anayat: As China’s main battlefield for fighting against terrorism and extremism, Xinjiang once suffered tremendously from terrorism and extremism. According to incomplete statistics, from 1990 to the end of 2016, ethnic separatists, religious extremists and violent terrorists plotted and conducted thousands of bombings, assassinations, poisonings, arson, assaults and riots in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, and causing immeasurable damage to property.

Faced with the severe and complex counter-terrorism situation and all ethic groups’ pressing demand that violent and terrorist crimes be punished and that their lives and property be protected, Xinjiang of China has been active in implementing a series of counter-terrorism resolutions, such as the United Nations Global Counter-terrorism Strategy. Based on experiences learned from the international community, Xinjiang has consistently adopted the policy of addressing both the symptoms and the root causes. On the one hand, it strikes hard at terrorist and extremist forces by taking resolute measures to lawfully crack down on violent terrorist activities that violate the citizens’ human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic solidarity and split the country. On the other hand, it gives prevention a high priority, sticking to the principle of addressing root causes and taking comprehensive measures while striking hard at terrorist crimes. Through sparing no effort to improve the people’s livelihood and promoting the rule of law, Xinjiang has deepened its efforts in deradicalization, aiming to nip terrorist activities in the bud.

Through a series of measures, Xinjiang’s security and stability has witnessed remarkable changes. Up to now, Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist attacks for four years in a row, with extremist infiltration being effectively checked and social security notably improved. However, we are soberly aware that no violent terrorist attacks over the past four years does not mean that there is no threat, as the social foundation that breeds extremism and terrorism has not been completely eradicated yet. Overseas “East Turkistan” forces are still very active, awaiting for opportunities to plot terrorist activities in Xinjiang. Such risks still exist. We will always adhere to preventing and fighting violent terrorist activities in accordance with the law, build a social governance pattern of the people, by the people and for the people, and resolutely protect the lives and property of our people of all ethnic groups.

MENA: China announced, on many occasions, that the overall situation in Xinjiang has seen remarkable changes in recent years, especially in people's livelihood. Can you share with us some information about the economic growth in Xinjiang and how the freedom of religious belief is guaranteed there? And how many mosques are there now in the region?

Xu Guixiang: On your first question. I believe we already covered that in our answer, so we will not repeat it here. Now I’d like to give the floor to Mr. Ilijan Anayat to answer the second and third questions.

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Elijan Anayat: On your second question. Respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief is a long-term basic national policy of the Chinese government. The Chinese Constitution stipulates that the citizens have the freedom of religious belief. No state organs, social organizations or individuals may compel citizens to believe in or not believe in any religion, nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in or not believe in a religion. The state protects normal religious activities. Speaking from the actual work, normal religious activities of Muslims of all ethnic groups have been fully protected. It is totally up to their own will to participate in normal religious activities in accordance with their doctrines, rules and customs in mosque or at home, such as chanting the Koran, attending prayers, expounding the Koran, fasting and celebrating Islamic festivals. The publication and distribution of Islamic classics are fully guaranteed. Xinjiang has set up an Islamic Religious Affairs Guidance Committee which has organized the translation and publication of Islamic classics in Mandarin, Uygur, Kazak and Kirgiz editions, such as the Koran, Irshad al-Sari li Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari. All these books have been distributed free of charge to religious staff and mosques. Full support has been given to cultivate and train Islamic clerics. Currently, there are ten Islamic schools in Xinjiang, including Xinjiang Islamic Institute and its eight branches across the region, as well as Xinjiang Islamic Scripture School. The government has helped to improve the conditions of these religious schools, which cultivate nearly 1,000 graduates as new imams every year. The right of the religious circle to participate in administration and discuss state affairs has been fully protected. More than 1,000 religious personages of all ethnic groups serve as deputies of the people’s congress and members of the CPPCC committee at different levels, exercising their right to participating in and discussing politics, and to democratic supervision.

On your third question. The situation about mosques in Xinjiang has been detailed in several white papers issued by the Information Office of China’s State Council. Hereby, I want to stress that the majority of the mosques in Xinjiang were built in 1980s to 1990s, or even earlier than that. Some of the mosques were adobe houses, some were very small, and some had become dangerous houses which were so dilapidated that made it impossible to hold religious activities normally in bad weather, and might seriously threaten the Muslim attendees’ personal safety when hit by an earthquake. Besides, the layout of some mosques was unreasonable and made it inconvenient for Muslim people to attend religious activities. In recent years, with the acceleration of urbanization and implementation of rural revitalization strategy, some local governments, responding to the local Muslim people’s appeal and application, have properly solved the problem of dilapidated and dangerous houses of mosques through relocation, expansion and new construction in line with rebuilding of urban rundown areas, improvement of rural living environment and relocation project for poverty alleviation. Thanks to these efforts, the construction of the mosques is safer, the layout is more reasonable, and the Muslim people are also very satisfied with the outcomes. At present, mosques in Xinjiang can fully meet the needs of the religious believers.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Chinese government has made concerted efforts in lifting places including Xinjiang out of poverty. Could you give us some latest data on Xinjiang’s poverty alleviation endeavor?

Xu Guixiang:Xinjiang is one of the main“battlefields”for the national poverty elimination campaign. Take southern Xinjiang for example, with relatively awful regional natural condition and ecological environment, the tasks of poverty alleviation is arduous. In recent couple of years, focuses have been put on ensuring“two no-worries and three guarantees”, i.e. no worries on food and clothing and guarantees in having access to compulsory nine-year education, basic medical care service and safe housing, and insisting on six precisions”, namely defining the poor precisely, arranging targeted programs, utilizing capital efficiently, taking household-based measures, dispatching officials based on village conditions, and achieving the set goals. Series measures have been taken on supporting rural industries development, employment promotion, granting ecological compensations and relocation subsides, and providing various social insurances and pensions, etc. to spare no efforts in tackling difficulties in poverty reduction endeavors and winning the war against poverty in the end.

Under the joint efforts of people of all ethnic groups, Xinjiang has made decisive achievements in eradicatingpoverty: 3.0649 million registeredimpoverished population have shaken off the poverty, and 3,666 poor villages in 32 poor counties have now been lifted out of poverty.The problem of extreme poverty has been solved historically.

ANTARA of Indonesia: 1)Muslims in Indonesia often read about the information an Xinjiang government’s restriction on religious activities, what is your comment on that? 2)what are the figures on number of mosques in Xinjiang, and its Islam educational institutions, Imams and students learning Islam? 3)what are the favorable conditions the local government have offered to Imams and Islamic students?4)what’s your think about those students in Xinjiang who want to go aboard studying Islamic or inviting foreign teachers coming to Xinjiang to teach Islam? in addition, people in Indonesia are longing to learn more about the harmonious life of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang and its beautiful landscapes, would you give us more information on that?

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Muhtram Sherip:My name is Muhatrem Shirep, I am a standing member of China Islamic Association, member of Teaching Steering Committee, deputy secretary-general of Islamic Association of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Imam for nine years in Yanghang Mosque of Urumqi. Yanghang Mosque was firstly built in 1897 with a history of 120 more years. It occupies an area of 5000 square meters and the construction itself takes an area of 3000 more square meters, with praying hall big enough for 2000 odd Muslims pray at the same time. Everyday,Uygur, Kazak and Hui Muslims living nearby would come to Yanghang Mosque for their five times of daily prayers, Jumah gathering prayer, Salat al-Idayn for Id al-Fitr and Id al-Corban, and some foreign Muslims from India, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan, etc. who come to Xinjiang for study, business and travel, would come to pray at Yanghang too. All Muslims would follow the Islamic rules , rituals, and traditions to practice their normal religious activities in the mosque, or at home, including, reciting the Holy Koran, praying, preaching, fasting, having Islamic holidays, etc., based on their personal wills, free from interference of others, or external restrictions.

For the second question: Xinjiang has always been attaching importance on fostering and training Islamic personals. In Xinjiang, we have Xinjiang Islamic College and its eight branches in Urumqi, Ili, Hotan and Kashi Prefectures, etc., and Xinjiang Islamic School, in total, ten institutions of higher learning for Islam. Xinjiang Islamic Collage and its eight branches presently have 3000 students, while in its main campus in Urumqi are students for bachelor degree and three-year college degree, and in the branches are students with secondary school education background. The curriculum offered at these schools are in three categories: first, religious knowledge, such as Islamic Doctrine, Hadith , Koran Recitation, Arabic language, etc.; secondly, laws and regulations, including the Constitution, the Civil Code, the Regulations on Religious Affairs, Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Deradicalization, etc.; thirdly, culture and history, such as history of Xinjiang, history and culture of Islam, skills of computer using, etc.

In 2019, there were more than 600 students graduated from Xinjiang Islamic College and its branches across the region, and 1,000 odd were newly enrolled. In 2020, there were1280 graduated and 1102 enrolled. It can be said that through the systematic education of religious institutions, a group of high quality religious students have been fostered, ensuring fully the health and orderly inheritance and development of Islam in Xinjiang.

For the third question: In addition to administrate the religious affairs in accordance with laws and regulations, Xinjiang governments at all levels have always paid great attention to provide service and support for the normal development of religions, such as solving practical difficulties, improving the conditions for religious venues and activities, eliminating the hidden safety risks at religious places, etc. Showing more cares to religious personals, the clerics are all included to the social insurance system. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, to guarantee the religious activities could be carried out as usual, medical staff have been specially arranged at the mosques to provide masks, take body temperatures, distribute medicines and disinfect places regularly and public health knowledge and tips given to all serve the Muslims coming for prayer.

For the fourth question about Islamic students want to go aboard for further learning, according to the Regulations on Religious Affairs issued by the State Council of People’s Republic of China, all students, including those who study Islam, can go aboard and study as long as they follow the related procedures and rules. I myself graduated from China Islamic College in 1987 and then assigned by the China Islamic Association, I went to the Islamic University of Lybia and studied for five years. After returning back to China, I had taught in Xinjiang Islamic College as teacher for 14 years before served as the Imam of Yanghang Mosque of Urumqi.

As for foreign Islamic teachers coming to Xinjiang, it is prescribed clearly in article 17 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs issued by the State Council of People’s Republic of China that to promote cultural and academic exchanges on religions with foreign countries and enrich the teaching contents in domestic religious institutions, the foreign professionals could be hired to work in China in the religious institutions.

It is pleasure to know that Indonesia people wants to know more about people’s life here in Xinjiang and its natural beauty, we cherish very much the deep-rooted friendship between Indonesia people and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. I would like to give a copy of a special TV document named Mountains and Rivers of Xinjiang after the conference, it reflects the local cultures, tourism spots and daily lives of Xinjiang people. I hope that you can take it back and share it with your people through media networks. And I hope you will be, as you have ever done, the friendship envoy between our two countries.

China Arab TV: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said population of Uygurs in Xinjiang China have been reduced due to the suppress imposed by government in various ways and some people in Australia expressed similar kind of statement, what is your comment on that?

Zulhayat Ismayil:Over a period of time, Pompeo have made up various kinds of “false news” to smear and attack China’s policy on Xinjiang, foment discord between China and other countries, exposing fully his deep-rooted Cold War and Zero-sum thinking and ideological prejudice. As known to all, Pompeo is infamous for his taking pride in lying, cheating and stealing. Even Americans reckon that he is the “worst state secretary ever” in U.S. history.

As a matter of fact, Xinjiang has always been attaching great importance on protecting legal rights of its people of all ethnic groups equally. in Xinjiang, people of all ethnic groups enjoy same social statues, regardless of their population, development stage or religious belief; they enjoy all rights entitled by law to engage in national affairs management, enjoy religious belief freedom, receive education, use languages of their own in addition to the national standard language and inherit traditional culture of their own ethnicity, etc., there is no such a thing as under “repression”. Taking a look from the population alone, the Uygur population increased from 5.55 million to 12.71 million from 1978 to 2018, more than two times of increase over 40 years ago. If what Pompeo said was true, then how such a high population growth could even be possible?

We urge Pompeo and some people in Austria to take off their colored glasses and give up their double standards, and face up to the racial discrimination in their own country, spend their time and energy on improving the human rights condition of their own rather than making slanders about Xinjiang. No one and no attempt will succeed in sabotaging the relations between ethnic groups in Xinjiang, destroying stability and development of the region and intervening China’s internal affairs with their conspiracies and plots, and they will be doomed as daydreams.

Singapore Lianhe Zaobao: According to recent Western think tank, there are forced labors in cotton-picking industry in Xinjiang. So how many people are there engaged in cotton-picking work, and is it true as said in the report about the “forced labor”?

Elijan Anayat:Recently, reporters from Global Times made some in field investigations and interviews in Aksu and Korla of Xinjiang and revealed the lies made by some think tank in the West with a great amount of information and true cases.

In previous years, when the cotton harvest time came, quiet a number of Han migrant workers in He Nan Province and Si Chuan Province would take trains and come to Xinjiang for seasonal cotton-picking, hence, they were called “cotton-picking army”. Farmers of different ethnic groups within Xinjiang also went to join them and formed deep friendship with them after working together and helping each other. All of them, from other parts of Xinjiang or China, came to pick cotton of their own accord, because for only one month, they could earn as much as 10,000 yuan, why not go ahead with it?

While in recent years, with the development of technology, cotton produce in Xinjiang has realized high mechanization, even in the busiest harvesting time, there is no much labor needed to be done by cotton-pickers.For example, most of the cotton grown in Bayongol Mongol Autonomous Prefecture has been picked by machines since 2015, given that situation, why is that people should be “forced” to compete with machine to do the hard labor? Such reports made by western think tank is nothing by subjective supposition with no basis at all.

Photo taken on January 11, 2021 shows the 2nd Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues held in Beijing.Photo by Zhou Peng of Xinjiang Daily

Brazilian Globo: Does Chinese government allow foreign journalists to report in Xinjiang freely?

Zulhayat Ismayil:We make our stance many times concerning foreign journalists. You are very welcome to come if you are willing to.

The People’s Daily:Recently, the republican senator,co-chair of Congressional Executive Commission on China(CECC) in the US, Rubio passed a bill with other anti-China senators. It alleged that “human rights abuses perpetrated by Xinjiang against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities as genocide”, demanding “China to be held accountable” and urging “a coordinated international response to bring these abuses to a halt”. What’s your comment?

Xu Guixiang:Recently,some US and western anti-China forces slander Xinjiang’s measures as “concentration camps”, “massive surveillance”, “forced labor”, “forced sterilization” and “separation of generations”. They conspire to match the slanders with Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN in 1948 to label Xinjiang as “genocide”.

Some anti-China politicians of Congressional Executive Commission on China(CECC) have proposed a bill churning out genocide-related rumors about Xinjiang despicably, which is a conspiracy of the century. Here, I solemnly state that these wicked words and actions are the malicious deviation against the convention , all of these are vicious attack to Xinjiang and wanton interference to Chinese internal affairs. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang condemn and firmly oppose to it!

Today, let’s take this chance to expose the lies and their conspiracy of “genocide” in Xinjiang. There are six point to emphasize:

First, the US and western anti-China forces spread a bulk of rumors that “the vocational education and training centers are concentration camps illegally detaining millions of Uyghurs and ethnic minorities”, “the vocational education and training centers violate human rights with male trainees tortured and female trainees sexually harassed. Some were even got their body organs like livers and kidneys removed or dead. ” The vocational education and training centers are launched according to law at the time when terrorist activities are frequently occurred. The practice is to eradicate terrorism and religious extremism from the root, similar to efforts by other countries and regions, for instance, DDP program from the UK and deradicalization centers in France. They are conducive trials and probes into preventive measures for anti-terrorism and deradicalization in line with the principles of UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The personal freedom of trainees at the education and training centers is protected in accordance with the law. The centers guarantee that trainees' personal dignity is inviolable, and prevent any insult or abuse in any manner. Organs removal? Which trainee have you seen that had been removed his/her organs? Can you name one? It’s totally nonsense!

The centers employ a residential education model which allows trainees to go back home on a regular basis and ask for leave to attend personal affairs.

The trainees in the centers enjoy the freedom of correspondence. The customs of all ethnic groups and the right to use their spoken and written languages are fully protected at the centers.

The regulations, curriculum, and menus at the centers all use local ethnic languages as well as standard Chinese. The customs of all ethnic groups are fully respected and protected, and a variety of nutritious Muslim food is provided free of charge. Each trainee gets 20-yuan food allowance, higher than cadres from Party and governments organs.

Trainees in the centers can decide on their own whether to conduct religious activities on legal basis when they get home.

The centershave well-equipped facilities. The dormitories are equipped withradios, TVs and air conditioners. There are sports venues for basketball, volleyball and table tennis. There are reading room, computer room and projector room for cultural activities as well as auditorium and open-air stage for artistic performance. A wealth of regular recreational activities are held at their indoor and outdoor sports and cultural venues which ultimately satisfy trainees’ needs in study, life and recreations. They also have free 24-hour medical facilities available to trainees, capable of treating minor ailments. In the case of major and acute illnesses, trainees will be sent to hospital.They have legal counseling rooms to address their problems and difficulties concerning legal affairs, and mental counseling rooms to provide relevant services and care for their mental health. Have you seen any “concentration camps” like these in the world?

In stark contrast, the U.S. notorious full for its stained human rights records. Under the disguise of counter terrorism and human rights, the US waged war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, leaving millions of innocent civilians dead and many refugees displaced. Incurable trauma of war has been inflicted. It is noted that the US had established many detention centers for secret detentions in Guantanamo Bay and other places in the world. Most of the prisoners’ rights were severely violated in the notorious Guantanamo military prison.The Indenpendentreported on its website on December 24, 2017 that, Nils Melzer, the UN Special rapporteur on torture, said he had information that an inmate was being subjected to treatment that is banned under international law. Los Angeles Times reported on its website on July 26, 2018 that a Pakistani, mistaken for an extremist, was imprisoned and tortured in Guantanamo for as long as 14 years without trial, resulting in serious physical and mental damage. Who is building the “concentration camps?” Who is carrying out torture and violating human rights? Everyone is clear about it.

Second, the US and western anti-China forces alleged that “Xinjiang uses high tech surveillance to monitor Uyghurs ”, “millions of CCP members live in the Uyghurs’ houses monitoring their lives”, which is ridiculous. Improving social governance by scienceand technology is a common practice in the international community. Xinjiang has installed cameras in urban and rural public areas, major roads, transportation hubs and other public places in accordance with the law. With improved social governance, it aims at effective crime prevention and curbing.These measures have strengthened the sense of security and won the general support of the people of all ethnic groups.“Pair up and Become Family” program and other ethnics pairing activities in Xinjiang are not “surveillance” at all. Since 2016, some 1.1 million civil servants have paired up with more than 1.6 million local people, treating each other like family members. They have respected and helped each other, and forged deep bonds through close interactions. Among them, there are not only Han cadres and workers paired with ethnic minorities including Uygur, but also ethnic minority cadres and workersincluding Uygur, who pair up with Han people. Cadres and workers of all ethnic groups give full play to their advantages, actively help them solve practical difficulties in work and life, such as medical treatment, employment, and schooling. They have done many practical things for thosein dire need, which are supported by people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.This is a concrete manifestation of the fact that governments at all levels in Xinjiang pay attention to the masses of the people and do practical things for them. Few American politicians do not care aboutsufferings of ordinary people, withfocuses on their own political self-interest. No wonder they cannot understand it.

In stark contrast, the United States has been criticized by the world for using high-tech means to implement large-scale surveillance activities. Half of U.S. adults--more than 117 million people--are in a law enforcement face recognition network, according to as Georgetown University study report, which raises serious questions about privacy and civil liberties violations, particularly for African Americans. A report by the Pew Research Center showed that 52 percent of US Muslims thought they were under government surveillance, 28 percent of Muslims claimed they had the experience of being mistaken for suspects, and 21 percent of Muslims said that they had to go through separate security checks at airports. Since National Security Agency(NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked the U.S. surveillance programs to the media in June 2013, the United States continuously extend the scale to monitor head and leaders of other states, common people and related enterprises with updated technologies which draw sharp criticism. AS facts show, the United States is quite literally an “empire of surveillance.”

Thirdly, the United States and other Western anti-China forces spread the so-called rumors that Xinjiang exists large-scale forced labour, forces minority ethnic groups to work in coastal areas or developed provinces in China, and Xinjiang’s labour and employment policies have not improved the quality of life of Uyghurs, which calls white black. In accordance with the Labour Law of the People’s Republic of China, workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang could choose occupations based on their own wills. In line with the principle of equality and willingness, they sign labour contract with companies according to the law, obtain the corresponding remunerations, and also enjoy complete freedom in choosing work sites. Their rights to obtain remunerations for labour, take rests, have holidays and leaves, receive labour safety and sanitation protection, enjoy social insurance and welfare treatment are all protected legally. No matter in Xinjiang or other provinces, their rights and interests of religious beliefs, national cultures and languages are also respected and protected in accordance with the law, and there is no the so-called “compulsion” problem. The claim that labour and employment policies in Xinjiang have not improved living quality of Uyghurs, but allegedly diminished it, is seriously contrary to the facts. In recent years, a series of labour and employment policies implemented in Xinjiang have increased the income levels of people of all ethnic groups, especially those in poverty-stricken areas of southern Xinjiang. According to incomplete statistics, the per capita annual income of Xinjiang workers who are transferred to other provinces of inland China is about 40,000 yuan, which is basically the same as the disposable income of local urban residents. The workers who are transferred to other parts of Xinjiang have an average annual income of 30,000 yuan, which is much higher than farming. People of all ethnicities have seen their standard of living greatly improved from subsistence level to being a lot better fed and clothed and able to afford more and more quality products.

The United States, by contrast, has a terrible and sinful record on the treatment of labor. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, with the rapidexpansion of the plantation industry in Southern United States, a large number of blacks were traffickedhere and forced to to work in cotton picking.Issued by the United States, the Annual Trafficking in Persons Report recognizes that forced labour, forced prostitution, and debt slavery are flinty problems in the United States, which is the country of origin, destination and transit. Even some officials of the United States also participate in people trafficking and forced labour. According to the report issued by the International Trade Union Confederation on June 10, 2015, the United States was listed as one of the countries that systematically violated rights of workers.The center for American Progress reported on Aug. 7 and Dec. 5,2019 on its website that compared with their white counterparts, African American workers face systematic obstacles to getting jobs. They face higher unemployment rates, fewer job opportunities, lower pay, poorer benefits and greater job instability. All conclude that the United States is the country that seriously violates the human rights of workers, especially those human rights of minorities, and that there is real “forced labor.”

The US and some anti-China forces’ reports of “suppressing the population of ethnic minorities, forcing ethnic minority women to have contraceptive rings implantation, female legation or even induced abortion” are scandalous remarks with malicious purpose.The truth is Xinjiang’s ethnic minority population including the Uygurhas been increasing.The data from 2010 to 2018 showsXinjiang’s permanent residents increased by 3.0518 million (13.99%) to 24.8676 million from 21.8158 million. Among that, ethnic minorities population increased by 2.8749 million (22.14%) to 15.8608 million from 12.9859 million; Uygur population was up 2.5469 million (25.04%) to 12.7184 million from 10.1715 million; Han population rose by 0.1769 million (2%) to 9.0068 million from 8.8299 million.Uygur’s population growth rate was not only higher than Xinjiang’s population growth rate, but also higher than that of ethnic minorities and a lot more higher than Han’s. The so-called report of “forcing ethnic minority women to have contraceptive rings implantation, female legation or even induced abortion” are scandalous remarks with malicious purpose.Xinjiang implements the family planning policy according to law, illegal acts including induced labour in mid-term pregnancy,mandatory sterilization, and pregnancy test are prohibited. People of all ethnic groups independently choose safe, effective and appropriate birth control measures. There has been no such a problem of "mandatory sterilization" in the region.

Now let’s look at the situation in the United States. Racial and ethnic minorities in the US have long been the targets of bullying, exclusion, and widespread and systemic discrimination in the political, economic, cultural ans social aspects of their lives. Take Native Americans as an example. For quite a long period of time, the US government had been enforcing a policy of genocide, segregation ans assimilation against Native Americans. For nearly a century after its founding, the US was uprooting and killing American Indians in its Westward Movement. The Native American population plunged from 5 million to 0.25 million in the early 20th century. It now accounts for a mere 2 percent of the US population. A survey in March 2019 showed that 82 percent of interviewees believe Muslims in the US faced some discrimination, and 56 percent believe there’s serious discrimination against Muslims in the American society. The recent death of an African American George Floyd and the massive protests that followed once again shows that the systemic racial discrimination in the US has reached a point where racial and ethnic minorities “can’t breathe”.

The US and some western anti-China forces spread rumors such as “separation of generations”, claiming that Xinjiang’s boarding school education separating ethnic minority kids from their families, “using Chinese language to replace the ethnic minority’ s mother tongue to cut cultural connections”. It’s totally a slander with ulterior intentions. The Compulsory Education Law stipulates that people’s governments at county level set up boarding schools to guarantee the children of school age who live far away from schools to receive compulsory education. Xinjiang is a vast region. Villages and towns are quite far apart and some of them are inadequately accessible by public transport, making it a huge burden for parents to take care of their children’s school commuting every day. In order to solve this problem,Xinjiang makes boarding schools an important item for standardization of compulsory schools and balanced development of compulsory education. It has effectively solved the difficulties for students from faraway rural and pastoral areas. It is necessary to note that inXinjiang students of various ethnicity attend schools closest to their homes. Those living near the campus can be commuter students; those living further away can apply to live on campus and schools provide them with free accommodation, plus free meals for those from rural families. It is up to students and their parents to decide whether to live on or off campus and there is no “sending to boarding schools”. Students attending such schools can go home on weekend. They go to school on Monday morning and go home on Friday afternoon as well as on holidays, winter, summer breaks, or things needed to attend. There is no such thing as separation of generations. The Constitution and Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language stipulate that Chinese nationals have the right to learn and use standard language, and the country provides conditions for their purpose. Xinjiang has set up Uyghur, Kazakh, Mongolian, Kirghiz and Xibe language courses for ethnic minority students at elementary and secondary schools. It fully guarantees the rights of ethnic minority students to learn their own languages and promote the development of ethnic languages.

However, in the US because of “zero tolerance” immigration rules, there are many children separated from their parents and siblings. An article on The Guardian website on June 23, 2018 quotedAnne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, as saying that separating children from their parents is cruel and deeply distressing for them. In some it will cause long-lasting emotional damage. Laura Janner-Klausner, a leading British rabbi, drew a parallel between the policy and historical trends that have led to genocide. American Civil Liberties Union website reported on Oct 25, 2019 that 5400 children along the US-Mexico border were forced into separation from their family since July 2017. UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet was shocked at the conditions of the children detained by the US. AS the issue of ethnic minority culture, the Indian culture has long been assimilated by the legislation and mainstream culture of the American society. As early as the end of 19th century, America fully implemented the White Pattern education, and compulsory English-Only education. Nowadays, most of the Indian-spoken people are those old and still live in the reserves. According to estimates, if the US government didn’t take any measures, 50 years later, there will be only 5 percent of the Indian people who can speak their own language.

Sixth, The US and some anti-China forces spread rumors such as“Xinjiang is eliminating Uygur people with the spread of the virus, and is hiding the truth of its epidemic situation” “the vocational and education training centers in Xinjiang are at risks of COVID-19 spread”. The virus respects no borders, and the pandemic respects no races. Experts of WHO and the international community both claimed that the pandemic is a natural disaster, not a man-made one. So how come “using the virus”? Last year, Covid-19 broke out three times in some of the regions in Xinjiang. In the fight against the pandemic, we have put people first, given top priority to saving lives, made scientific and targeted efforts to prevent and control the pandemic. We have taken all efforts to the epidemic prevention and control work. First, to carry out the epidemiological investigation and tracing work. Formed joint working teams to screen and identify the close contacts of asymptomatic cases to control the source of infection and cut its transmission under the guidance of the national expert group. Second, swiftly implementfree nucleic acid test for all the residents. To follow the instructions of “early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment of cases”, free nucleic acid test have been done to people of all ethnic groups so as to prevent the virus from spreading. Third, enhance scientific treatment. We have admitted patients in severe conditions to the facilities where the best resources and professionals are pooled to enable effective treatment. Under the guidance of the expert groups of the National Health Commission, we have carried out free medical treatment, and all the infected people were recovered and discharged. Four, endeavors made to secure supplies.We have guaranteed with all efforts the supplies of vegetables, fruit, food and other daily necessities as well as of water, electricity, oil and gas through unimpeded transport channels to ensure ample supplies and stable prices. Given equal importance to the epidemic control and prevention and serve the people, to solve their difficulties in a timely manner. Through those effective measures, we have protectedthe safety and health of Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups.

On the basis of regular epidemic prevention and control, we have taken measures to guard against imported cases and a rebound in indigenous cases.Eight monitoring mechanisms including inspections of people, stuff and environment have been implemented to ensure the law-based, scientific, targeted epidemic prevention and control. Thus to resolutely cut the rebound of cases.

We have called press conferences on the Covid-19 prevention and control work in Xinjiang in a timely manner with high responsibility, practical, realistic, open and transparent attitude. We have released pandemic related information, actively responded to social concerns and public opinion. There was no such thing as concealing the truth. As for the rumors like “the vocational and education training centers in Xinjiang are at risks of COVID-19 spread” is even more exaggerated. We’d like to reiterate once again that the the vocational and education training centers are law-based de-radicalization institutions rather than concentration camps. In October 2019, all the trainees graduated from the centers. So such rumor is baseless.

In contrast, the US puts selfish political gains first. In pursuit of this priority, it made light of the epidemic, veered from science, and even retorted to blame-shifting. The result is a major outbreak that has taken its toll on American lives and people’s health. As of Jan 10, 2021, the number of confirmed cases in the US is nearing 22.66 million with about 380,000 deaths. The US population takes up 4% of the world’s total, while its affected number and deaths take up around 25% and 19% of the world respectively. African Americans have a COVID-19 infection rate five times that of white Americans, who also suffer far lower death rate comparing to their African American folks.This tells more about the racial inequality in the US. The American people are increasingly anxious about COVID-19. Polls showed that 81% interviewees were “very” or “little bit” worried about it. Millions of innocent people were killed by the virus. Even citizens’ basic life and health rights cannot be protected. Those American politicians are in no position to point fingers at Xinjiang and China.

Facts are facts, the ironclad evidence piling up as mountain high. Today, I am taking such long time with you to fully expound the issued mentioned above, aiming to spelling out that Xinjiang’s various policies and measures are in line with the practical social and economic development, in line with the interests and desires of people of all ethnic groups, in line with the common practice by the international community entirely. They are righteous actions and fully withstand tests. In contrast, behavior of the US government go against with the international justice and value criterion, go against with the human moral and basic conscience, go against with the international human rights concept and conventional code. The US is the country which had genocide acts in the world.