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Xinjiang officials refute allegations, welcome foreign visits

Children in costumes pose for photos during a jujube harvest festival in Qiemo County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Oct. 19, 2019. (Xinhua/Sadat)

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday denounced former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's allegations of "genocide" and a "crime against humanity" as the biggest setup in human history and welcomed foreigners to visit the region to discover the real situation themselves.

"Pompeo's vicious remarks have seriously trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations, interfered in China's internal affairs and damaged the sentiments of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. His 'determination' is nothing more than wasted paper," Xu Guixiang, deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Xinjiang Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at a press briefing in Beijing.

"We welcome foreigners from all walks of life, including relevant officials of the new U.S. administration, to visit Xinjiang and see for themselves the real situation so as to avoid being deceived by Pompeo's lies," he said.

"However, we also have principles and a bottom line, and will not accept the so-called investigation with a presumption of guilt," Xu said.

The United States and Britain have recently issued a series of sanctions against Xinjiang on the grounds of forced labor, including banning imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang and adding some Xinjiang enterprises to the U.S. export control entity list.

In response, Xu said the United States has neither verified the relevant information nor had any contact with relevant enterprises and employees. It has used so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang as an excuse to implement long-arm jurisdiction and illegal detention, and to abuse export controls.

Xu said that such barbaric acts gravely violate international trade rules, severely damage global industrial and supply chains, and seriously infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises and employees in Xinjiang. "We express strong indignation and stern condemnation."

"In response to the unreasonable sanctions imposed by the United States, we will, in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of China and the United States, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of enterprises through legal channels and resolutely recover losses," he added.

Xu said that Xinjiang's enterprises have huge space for foreign trade and many partners, and just being without the United States won't leave them bankrupt. "We will actively help these enterprises to explore emerging overseas markets, make them stronger and bigger, and provide high-quality and affordable Xinjiang products to the international market."

The achievements in the development and progress of human rights in Xinjiang are obvious to all. The political rights, economic rights, social rights and freedom of religious belief of the people of all ethnic groups have never been as protected as they are now. There is no "human rights violation" problem, said Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of Information Office of People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

He said politicians and anti-China forces in some countries are turning a deaf ear to the development and progress of the human rights cause in Xinjiang. He noted that in essence, under the guise of human rights issues, they are trying to undermine the overall stability of Xinjiang, obstruct its development and progress, and drag Xinjiang back to the past when violent and terrorist activities frequently took place, so as to "contain China with Xinjiang" and "contain China with terrorism."

By October 2019, all trainees who had taken courses on the country's common language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, along with de-extremization education, had graduated, said Anayat.

"With the help of the government, they have achieved stable employment and improved their quality of life. They now lead normal lives. At present, Xinjiang does not have a single vocational education and training center," he added.