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Commentary: The Truth of Xinjiang’s Vocational Training Centers

The US side ignored the facts and China’s solemn statement and signed the so-called “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020” to deliberately defame the human rights situation in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Meanwhile, about a hundred short videos recording the lives of the minorities in the southern parts of Xinjiang have circulated widely online. These videos show the real work and life scenes of graduated trainees from the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang. In these videos, they are free to work and live happily, which strongly refutes Western politicians and reveals their sinister intentions and hypocrisy.

Violent terrorism and religious extremism used to be rampant in Xinjiang, which seriously affected social stability and economic development and severely trampled on the rights of survival and comprehensive development of the people of all ethnic groups. The local government prioritized the preventive work to counter-terrorism and established the training centers in some districts and counties under laws and regulations. The centers help and educate three types of people: those who were instigated, coerced, or enticed to take part in terrorist or extremist activities; those who were involved in terrorist or extremist activities with minor plots; and those who were involved in such terrorist or extremist activities that did not constitute crimes. The program has achieved remarkable achievements.

As education and training institutions, the training centers are of a school nature and are not so-called “concentration camps.” The number of people participating in them was dynamic, as there are both graduates and newcomers. Some foreign media claims that the number of students in the training centers was a million or even two million is fabricated and groundless.

The education and training centers offer free vocational skills education and training through various forms of learning, such as centralized training, boarding, and practical training. The students are issued a certificate of completion after an assessment. After completing their studies, the students can choose their own jobs, or relevant departments will assist them in arranging employment.

The education and training centers offer courses on Mandarin learning, legal knowledge, professional skills, and courses on eradicating extremism. The purpose of learning standard communication skills and in written language is to improve their work. Notably, they are not be deprived or restricted from using and developing their languages.

The education and training centers focus on combining course learning with practical operations to improve their ability. The practical training is part of teaching activities. It is not forced labor. The centers never interfere with the freedom of belief of the students and never carry out teaching activities to change their religious beliefs. Whether to believe in religion or not is entirely a personal matter of the students.

The education and training centers fully guarantee that the personal dignity of the students is not violated, and it is strictly prohibited to insult and abuse the students. The education and training centers implement boarding system management, and students can return home regularly or ask for casual leave. The students are also free to communicate. All rules and regulations, curriculum, recipes, and other things at the centers use Mandarin and local minority languages. The centers fully respect and protect the customs and habits of students of different nationalities and provide a wide variety of nutritious halal diets at no charge.

In order to meet the aspirations of the grassroots cadres and the masses to improve their capability, the centers launch routine, normalized, and open education training for the rural cadres and people in need. The courses focus on the training of such things as standard Chinese language, legal knowledge, and vocational skills.

Since the establishment of the training centers, their remarkable results have been widely recognized by people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Most of the graduated students have elevated their minds. With the skills learned in the centers, they have found suitable jobs in garment, shoes, and hats processing, the food industry, electronic product assembly, e-commerce, automotive maintenance, architectural decoration, livestock breeding, fruit farming, painting, musical instrument performance, dance performance, and other fields. In recent years, Xinjiang has witnessed social stability, economic development, and harmonious coexistence of people of all ethnic groups, and various undertakings have undergone tremendous changes.

The training centers in Xinjiang have the same nature as the community correction system implemented in the United States, the Desistance and Disengagement Programme project in the United Kingdom, and the de-radicalization centers in France.

In the so-called “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020,” the claims that the centers holding over one million Uyghur people, persecuting religious freedom, or forcing labor were fabricated by a group of anti-China people mustered by Western organizations. It is complete nonsense to disagree with the truth. Human rights are, first and foremost, the right to survival and development of human beings. Social turbulence and economic backwardness will harm people’s lives. How can human rights be guaranteed under such circumstances?

Some American politicians and anti-China people are not concerned about the human rights issues of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Their fundamental purpose is to hinder the development and progress of the case of human rights in Xinjiang. Their sinister intention is to use the so-called Xinjiang issues to Westernize, smear, or even split China. Facts speak louder than words, and disguise should be stripped away. Any attempt to achieve its ulterior purpose by reversing black and white and making mischief is doomed to fail.