The 60th Press Conference of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing
(Beijing, November 17, 2021)
Photo taken on November 17, 2021 shows the 60th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing.
The 60th Press Conference of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related Issues was held in Beijing on November 17, 2021. The following is the full transcript of the press conference.
Photo taken on November 17, 2021 shows Xu Guixiang, spokesperson of the People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at the 60th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing.
Xu Guixiang: Good morning, dear friends from the media! Welcome to the press conference on Xinjiang related issues of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. I'm Xu Guixiang, spokesperson of the People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
First of all, I would like to introduce those who are joining us in today’s press conference: Mr. Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of the People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Mr. Yalkun Yakup, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Public Security of XUAR, Ms. Marhaba Aolan, Professor of Xinjiang University. We have also invited Mr. Shu Hongshui, Dean of the Anti-terrorism Law School of Northwest University of Political Science and Law, as well as three victims and their families of violent terrorist events. They will join us via video link.
Today’s press conference focuses on the issue of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.
As we all know, terrorism and extremism are the tumor of human society, bringing serious disasters to human rights and dignity, and posing a serious threat to world peace and tranquility. Over some period in the past, Xinjiang was deeply affected by the violent terrorists, ethnic separatists and religious extremists, and terrorist attacks occurred frequently. Incomplete statistics show that from 1990 to the end of 2016, “three evil forces” launched thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, besides inflicting immeasurable damage to property.
Now, let’s watch a video clip from the documentary “Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang” by CGTN, which shows the scene of “July 28” terrorist attack in Shache County in 2014.
Xu Guixiang: Now, Ms. Zhang Lihua, the victim of “July 28” terrorist attack in Shache, is joining us by video link.
Good morning, Ms. Zhang Lihua! Seven years have passed since the tragedy in July 2014. We saw the scene of your family's death on TV. Could you tell us about the situation at that time? How did you spend the last seven years? What kind of harm has this violent terrorist case caused to you and your family?
Zhang Lihua: My name is Zhang Lihua. I am a farmer, born in Changchun, Jilin. In order to make more money, my husband and I bought a truck and began to engage in transportation.
On July 28, 2014, when we drove by Shache County carrying more than 100 cows, we ran into a group of terrorists. That day, I was lying on the second floor of the truck cabin. There were my husband, the driver that we hired and the goods owner in the truck. I heard my husband asking the goods owner “what shall we do?” I asked what happened. Later, they called the police for help. All the fragile goods in the car were broken in a flash. The terrorists dragged my husband and the goods owner out of the truck. While my husband was being dragged by the truck door, he uttered “Lihua, don’t leave the cabin!” My husband never came back again… he was killed by the terrorists.
Photo shows the video link with Zhang Lihua.
When I was hiding in the truck, I was very afraid. I didn't dare to get off the cabin. I only heard the cries of a group of violent terrorists and the explosion of tires... In this way, I hid in the car for three or four hours. When the police rescued me, I saw my husband lying under the truck in a pool of blood. When I tried to hold him up, he became a “stiff”.
My husband is the only son of my parents-in-law. He is "gone", which hurts us so much that their hair turned to white because of the pain. This is really a disaster for our family. It hurts our hearts all the time. Every New Year, we don’t have appetite even if we eat delicious foods.
We are rural residents. We went to Xinjiang to deliver goods and make some money, but we hadn't expected that my husband had to "stay there" forever. Only I and a child in high school were left. Our family collapsed… up to now, none of us dare mention it. We were deeply hurt physically and emotionally.
Those of us who live in peacetime have never thought that we would experience violent terrorist attacks, but when we really encounter them, we feel so helpless. When the police helped me get out of the truck, I didn't even take my wallet, instead just took a pair of shoes down and couldn't speak. Until now, when I close my eyes at night, the scenes of that day is in my eyes.
I really don't understand. We all are human beings. How can these violent terrorists be so cruel? How can they harm someone they never know and have no enmity? The harm they bring is something we can't eliminate in our life. We really don't want our experience to happen again!
Xu Guixiang: Thank you very much for your story. We are deeply saddened by what happened to you and your family, and express indignation at the criminal acts of violent terrorists who indiscriminately kill innocent people. Violent terrorists have been severely punished by the law, and the situation of frequent violent terrorist activities in Xinjiang will never be repeated. I hope you stay strong and live a good life.
Now, let’s watch a video clip from the documentary “Fighting Terrorism in Xinjiang” by CGTN, which shows the scene of “September 21” violent terrorist attack in Luntai County in 2014.
Now, Ms. Dilqamar Tursun, victim of “September 21” violent terrorist attack in Luntai County is joining us by video link.
Dilqamar Tursun: My name is Dilqamar Tursun, used to be a dancer, currently working at the Hospital of Chinese Medicine in Luntai County. I am the direct victim of “September 21” violent terrorist attack in Luntai.
September 21, 2014 is a day I will never forget in my life. It was bazaar day (market day). There were many people in the lively street. My mother and my nephew were going to buy something for the Eid al Adha. We were walking on the pedestrian street when we suddenly heard a loud noise. Before I knew what was going on, I fell heavily to the ground. My ears were buzzing and my brain was blank. I felt the pain in my right leg. I tried to stand up, but my lower body gradually lost consciousness. I tried to open my eyes. It was dark in front of me and there were cries everywhere. I heard some people shouting "help" and some people calling the police. At this time, I realized that I had encountered violent terrorists, who made an explosion around me. At that time, my nephew touched my face and kept crying. Later, I heard my mother's cry, but I couldn't see where she was. I held back the pain and raised my head. I saw a pool of blood on the ground and my bloody right leg… After a while, I was sent to the County People's Hospital and passed out due to excessive blood loss. When I woke up, I found myself lying in the ICU bed with a breathing tube in my mouth. My right leg was aching, and my whole body couldn't move. I felt like I was in a nightmare. My right leg was seriously injured by violent terrorists. The doctor said I had to amputate it. When the nurse pushed me out of the ICU ward in a wheelchair, my parents were devastated and cried all over the corridor. My father's hair turned white overnight because of pain. Here I want to say that those unscrupulous violent terrorists have destroyed the happy life of our family, taken away my right to a healthy life, and ruined my beloved dance career. I hate their guts, and I can never forgive those terrorists and hope they will disappear forever.
Photo shows the video link with Dilqamar Tursun.
In the hospital, I had two operations and received treatment for several months. At that time, I couldn't sleep all night. My mind was full of bloody pictures and people's panic expressions. Under the careful care of the medical staff and my family, I gradually recovered physically and psychologically and slowly accepted the cruel fact of losing my right leg. With the help of Luntai County Association of Disabled Persons, I installed prosthetics for free. When I first learned to walk, my body didn't adapt very well. When I took a few steps, the wound on my leg was very painful and blisters were worn out. In this way, I stumbled and practiced for more than a month. Finally, I learned to walk again. I felt that I had gained a new life and embarked on my job again.
Xinjiang hasn’t seen any violent terrorist attack for five consecutive years, which is the greatest desire and expectation of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Being a witness and victim of the violent terrorist case, I cherish the stable and peaceful happy life now, and hope that what happened to me will never happen again.
Now, let’s look at a video clip from CCTV news report on Ghayrat Mamut, martyr of the “September 10” violent terrorist case in Pishan County in 2016.
Now, Ms. Gulchehra Ghayrat, daughter of Ghayrat Mamut is joining us via video link.
Gulchehra Ghayrat: My name is Gulchehra Ghayrat, daughter of Ghayrat Mamut who is the martyr of the “September 10” violent terrorist case in Pishan County.
My father, Ghayrat Mamut, was a policeman in Pishan County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang. In my memory, he was always away from home every day. At any time, he stuck to his work and rarely accompanied us to dinner, picked us up to and from school and played with us. But we all knew that dad’s job was to protect more people.
On September 10, 2016, I received terrible news: while my father was on a search mission, he encountered suicide attack by the violent terrorists. At that time, my heart almost jumped out. On the way to the hospital, I kept saying to myself, "he must be all right, he must be all right, dad will get better." when I got to the hospital, I saw my mother and many people crying, and an ominous premonition hit me. Someone said to me “go and see your dad for the last time”. I suddenly felt that the world had collapsed. My father means everything to me and our family. How could he go? How could we live without him? I can't accept that I lost my father forever. Although dad didn't go home often in the past, at least he was still there. Now, where's my father? I even thought that as long as my father was alive, it would be OK if he did not go home and I could look at him from a distance, but he is really gone.
Photo shows the video link with Gulchehra Ghayrat.
Later, my father's colleagues told us that when my father surrounded the violent terrorists in a bush, the violent terrorists suddenly launched a suicide attack. Dad shouted, "there is someone here, run away!" immediately blocking his comrades in arms behind him and pulling out his gun at the same time. With the loud explosion, my father fell to the ground and bled all over his face…
In 2019, dad was awarded the national honorary title of "people's hero". I had the honor to attend the award ceremony in Beijing. At that time, I felt very excited and proud! My father is not only my hero, but also the hero of the people all over the nation. It is the dedication and sacrifice of many people like my father that makes us no longer worry about being attacked by violent terrorists, and also makes Xinjiang more and more stable and prosperous.
Xu Guixiang: Through the video link just now, I believe you have felt the terrorist threat faced by Xinjiang in the past, and you have also seen that the Chinese people, including the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, all hate terrorists for their bloody and heinous crimes. In the face of such a severe and complex anti-terrorism situation, in order to maximize the protection of the basic rights of people of all ethnic groups, such as the right to life, health and development, Xinjiang has taken a series of resolute, effective anti-terrorism and de-radicalization measures, curbed the frequent trend of violent terrorist activities, and achieved remarkable results in the absence of violent terrorist cases for five consecutive years. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the main practices of Xinjiang in the fight against terrorism and de-radicalization.
First, adhere to the principles of international counter-terrorism. As a responsible member of the international community, the Chinese government actively supports the United Nations in playing a leading and coordinating role in international counter-terrorism cooperation, adheres to the Charter of the United Nations and other principles and norms of international law, supports a series of counter-terrorism resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council, and vigorously promotes the full implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. As the main battlefield of China's anti-terrorism, Xinjiang has actively responded to the initiative of the United Nations on "taking action to prevent and combat terrorism in all forms", acted in accordance with the law to crack down on violence and terrorist activities that violate human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic unity and aim at separating the country. By learning from the anti-terrorism experience of the international community, we have explored ways to eliminate the threat of terrorism from the source through de-radicalization, which has made a positive contribution to the international fight against terrorism.
Second, adhere to the thinking and mode of rule of law. Relying on the rule of law to carry out counter-terrorism and de-radicalization is the common concept, common value and common practice of the international community. China's Xinjiang has actively responded to the UN's initiative to implement the rule of law in counter-terrorism, strictly abided by the spirit of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Anti-Terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China and other superior laws, and successively issued the measures for the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in combination with the actual situation of the region local laws and regulations such as the Regulations of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on De-radicalization. Within such a legal system, the judicial organs in Xinjiang have always adhered to the fact as the basis, the law as the criterion, and the scientific, authoritative and mandatory nature of the law to standardize the whole process of the struggle against terrorism and de-radicalization, ensuring that all work is always carried out on the track of the rule of law.
Third, adhere to the protection of human rights in the fight against terrorism. China’s Xinjiang strictly abides by the requirements of international human rights law, attaches great importance to handling the balance between counter-terrorism and human rights protection, resolutely prevents restrictions on the basic rights of the people of all ethnic groups, and ensures that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms in accordance with law, safeguarding normal social life. Especially in the process of carrying out vocational education and training work, the vocational education and training centers strictly implement the basic principles of respecting and protecting human rights in China's constitution and laws, fully ensures that the trainees' human dignity is not infringed, and it is strictly prohibited to insult and abuse the trainees in any way; the vocational education and training centers fully guarantee the personal freedom and communication freedom of trainees, implement boarding management, and trainees can go home and ask for leave if necessary; the vocational education and training centers fully guarantee the trainees' right to use their own language, respect the customs of students of all ethnic groups and provide a wide variety of nutritious halal food free of charge; the vocational education and training centers fully respect and protect trainees' freedom of religious belief. Those trainees who believe in religion can decide whether to participate in legal religious activities when they go home.
Fourth, we adhere to the principle that anti-terrorism and de-radicalization are not linked to any specific region, ethnic group and religion. Terrorism and extremism are evil forces against humanity, society and civilization. They have nothing to do with any nation or religion. Some people label terrorism and extremism as ethnic and religious. In fact, they want to provoke ethnic contradictions, disrupt religious order, create turbulent factors, and win over and expand their forces. From the perspective of Xinjiang, all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including Uygurs, are members of the big family of the Chinese nation and have made important contributions to safeguarding national unity, security and development; all religions, including Islam, actively advocate the ideas of patriotism, peace, unity, moderation, tolerance and good deeds, which have nothing to do with terrorism and extremism. Therefore, the fight against terrorism and extremism must not be directed against a nation or a religion. In practical work, Xinjiang prohibits any discriminatory practices based on geographical, ethnic and religious reasons, vigorously advocates extensive and comprehensive exchanges and in-depth integration of all ethnic groups, respects and protects the customs and habits of all ethnic groups; Xinjiang earnestly respects and protects the freedom of religious belief of the people of all ethnic groups, and actively promotes the healthy and orderly inheritance of all religions.
Fifth, adhere to the combination of tempering justice with mercy along with preventive education. Tempering justice with mercy is not only the spirit of Chinese traditional legal culture, but also China's current basic criminal policy. In Xinjiang, especially in southern Xinjiang, due to the long-term infiltration of extremism in the past, many people were not very clear about what religion is and what religious extremism is. Some people were bewitched and lured by terrorists and extremists, and some even participated in violent terrorist activities and acted as cannon fodder. In fact, these people are also victims of the "three evil forces". We deal with and severely punish a small number of heinous and stubborn leaders and backbones of violent and terrorist gangs in accordance with the law. However, for those who are infected with extremism and commit minor crimes, we set up vocational education and training centers in accordance with law, paying attention to the way of pulling rather than pushing, the way of saving rather than severe punishment, and the way of caring rather than abandoning, so as to make them get rid of the shackles of extreme ideas, master some skills and achieve stable employment, returning to life in the sun.
Sixth, adhere to ensuring and improving people's livelihood. There is an old Chinese saying "he who has no permanent property has no perseverance". In the past, Xinjiang, especially southern Xinjiang, was in a state of blocked and poor exchange with other regions, with single industrial structure, lack of scientific knowledge, weak educational foundation and difficult employment and entrepreneurship, resulting in low production and living standards. In recent years, Xinjiang has attached great importance to the improvement of people's livelihood, spent more than 70% of its fiscal expenditure on improving people's livelihood for many consecutive years, continued to promote a series of projects to benefit the people focusing on employment, education, medical treatment, social security and housing, and ensuring necessary facilities for education, employment, health care, support for the elderly and the weak, and housing. Under the current standards, a total of 3.06 million people living under the poverty line were lifted out of poverty. A total of 3,666 villages and 35 impoverished counties shook off poverty in the region, and the millennium absolute poverty problem in Xinjiang has been solved historically. At present, the masses of all ethnic groups share the fruits of reform and development. Stability and harmony, living and working in peace and contentment and common prosperity have become the mainstream of social development. The mass foundation for anti-terrorism and de-radicalization has also become more solid.
Seventh, insist on participating in international practical cooperation against terrorism. Facing the severe challenges of terrorism and extremism, no country can stay out and be alone. Countries around the world should further enhance their awareness of a community with a shared future for mankind, enhance political mutual trust, pool strategic consensus, promote exchanges and cooperation, and more effectively curb and combat terrorism and extremism on the basis of mutual respect and equal consultation. In recent years, with the concern and support of the central government, Xinjiang has established a counterpart cooperation mechanism with neighboring countries in the field of counter-terrorism in border areas and law enforcement departments, and has carried out practical exchanges and cooperation in intelligence and information exchange, joint border control, investigation and arrest of persons involved in terrorism, counter-terrorism financing, combating cyber terrorism, etc., which has played an important role in maintaining international and regional security and stability.
Clarification comes from comparison. What has the United States done in combating terrorism and extremism? Next, we invite relevant experts and scholars to analyze and introduce from six aspects to see who is really fighting terrorism, who is protecting human rights, and who is doing shady activities under the banner of "anti-terrorism".
Xu Guixiang: From the perspective of the purpose of anti-terrorism, the anti-terrorism and de-radicalization in Xinjiang is to protect the people of all ethnic groups from terrorism, while behind the high-profile "anti-terrorism" of the United States is to serve political interests and seek hegemony. Next, I would like to invite Mr. Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to share his views.
Photo shows Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region speaks at the 60th Press Conference of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing.
Elijan Anayat: The United States fought the "anti-terrorism" war for 20 years, but it ended in failure. The root cause is that "American anti-terrorism" is a political tool, not to protect the people, but to safeguard American interests and export ideology.
First, it is for seeking world hegemony. Some analysts have pointed out that since the United States sent troops to Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, politicians have carried out careful "interest calculations" in an attempt to tightly bind counter-terrorism with the purpose of promoting hegemonism and even subverting the regimes of other countries. Today, a lot of factual evidence also fully proves that in recent years, the United States has used the war on terrorism to support the pro American regime and expand its military presence in the Middle East and Central Asia in order to realize its hegemonic position and geostrategic interests.
Second, it is for realizing economic and financial interests. Opening the map, we can clearly see that several important target countries of the United States "anti-terrorism" are oil producing countries. If they control oil, they control the global monetary hegemony based on the settlement of oil in US dollars, and they can harvest the world through the fluctuation cycle of US dollars. On November 13, 2019, the British Guardian published a report that former US President Trump said that oil was the reason for US troops to stay in Syria. Trump said: "we must protect oil. Now we have controlled oil. Oil is very safe. We have dispatched the army only for oil." Although the US military has repeatedly fixed its statements, saying that the army staying in Syria to defeat "ISIS", its ulterior motive is well known. U.S. Vice President Harris recently admitted: "Over many years in the past, several generations (of Americans) have been fighting for oil."
Third, it is for exporting ideology and values. After the September 11, then US President George W. Bush claimed that "only through democratic transformation in the Middle East can the problem of terrorism be fundamentally solved." Therefore, in the name of counter-terrorism, he used force to forcibly sell the so-called "democratic" model and values to other countries. However, the reality did not evolve according to the script designed by the United States. The final result was a complete failure, which not only caused instability in these countries, but also questioned the so-called "universal values" of the United States.
Fourth, it is for continuing military strength and threats. Through various "anti-terrorism" wars, the United States has delivered a large amount of capital to defense contractors and arms dealers. With money, it can develop a large number of sophisticated weapons, so that the United States can maintain its dominant position in the world and carry out strategic intimidation or even direct invasion against other countries. According to the Research Report on "war cost" released by Brown University, since the war in Afghanistan, US military spending has accumulated more than 14 trillion US dollars, of which about one third has fallen into the hands of US military enterprises. Brown University found that the fundamental reason why the United States is willing to achieve military enterprises by sacrificing everything is that the arms business has already formed a complete industrial chain. Each military enterprise contributes a lot of political contributions to the government every year. Many politicians and think tanks, including the military itself, have taken the benefits of military enterprises.
It must be pointed out that "counter-terrorism" is a just act to safeguard human rights. It should not be mixed with private goods and political interests. The "counter-terrorism" obsessed with seeking hegemony will eventually pay a painful price.
Xu Guixiang: From the perspective of anti-terrorism attitude, Xinjiang actively responds to the United Nations anti-terrorism initiative and resolutely combats terrorism in all forms, while the United States adheres to "double standards", and even openly condones and supports terrorist organizations and terrorist activities. Next, I'd like to invite Mr. Yalkun Yakup, Deputy Director of the Public Security Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to talk about his views.
Photo shows Yalkun Yakup, Deputy Director of the Public Security Department of Xinjiang speaks at the 60th Press Conference of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing.
Yalkun Yakup: As a world superpower, the United States should work with the international community to jointly condemn and combat terrorism in all forms, strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation and fight terrorism. However, the US government, deeply influenced by the Cold War mentality and hegemonism, insists on pursuing "double standards" on the issue of counter-terrorism, which seriously restricts the process of the international fight against terrorism.
First, the United States regards whether it meets its own interests as the most important criteria in identifying and combating terrorists and terrorist organizations based on its own self-interest. As some analysts pointed out, in Washington's view, organizations that pose a threat to the United States are terrorist organizations, while organizations that pose a threat to other countries are not necessarily terrorist organizations. For instance, the notorious ETIM orchestrated series of violent terrorist attacks like “April 30” in Urumqi, “July 30”, “July 31” in Kashgar, “December 14” in Moyu, causing huge casualties and property loss. In 2002, ETIM was listed as a terrorist organization by the UN and included in the sanctions list of the 1267 Committee of the Security Council. However, some Chinese “ETIM” members captured by the US during the war in Afghanistan were labeled as “not combat personnel” and were going to be released. In November, 2020, the US dropped off ETIM from the list of terrorist organizations, showing its motive of containing China by Xinjiang and terrorism issues.
Second, the United States keeps showing its determination to "fight terrorism", but secretly has an ambiguous attitude towards some terrorist forces, and even acts as the behind the scenes "trader" and the biggest "financier" of some terrorist forces. For example, in the 1980s, in order to contain the Soviet Union, the United States strongly supported the Al Qaeda and other anti-Soviet forces, but ironically, it was the Al Qaeda that planned the "September 11" incident. For example, in 2014, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mualem publicly accused the United States of double standards on counter-terrorism, pointing out that the United States is providing funds, weapons and training to some so-called "moderate" Syrian organizations to promote violence and terrorism, so as to prolong the Syrian crisis and undermine the basis for a political solution to the crisis. Another example, according to the independent news website "Gray Zone", since 2016, the fund provided by the National Endowment for Democracy to World Uyghur Congress, the terrorist separatist organization, has reached US $1,284 million.
Third, the United States does not make an objective statement on terrorist attacks in non-allied countries. Instead, it wantonly criticizes and accuses other countries of their counter-terrorism actions and human rights and religious conditions in the name of "religion" and "human rights". When terrorist attacks occur in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Northern Europe, Israel, Australia and other countries or regions, American politicians and public opinion are worried and express sympathy for the victims of terrorist attacks. For terrorist attacks in China, Russia, Venezuela, Central American countries and most Middle East countries, the United States often rarely condemns terrorists or organizations. Instead, it makes use of the topic and accuse these countries or regions of so-called "human rights problems". For example, on June 26, 2013, numbers of terrorists attacked the police station, the patrol squad, town administration building and a construction site in Lukchin Town, Shanshan County, Turpan Prefecture, slashing the police and ordinary folks with knives, causing 24 deaths and 25 injured. After that incident, the US called it “the start of China’s democracy”.
At present, visionary people in the international community are increasingly aware that the fundamental reason why the international anti-terrorism struggle is difficult to win is that some countries such as the United States completely proceed from their own interests on the anti-terrorism issue, divide the anti-terrorism camp with ideology and cold war mentality, but ignore the interest demands of other countries and regions. This "double standard anti-terrorism" based on political self-interest has caused great damage to global counter-terrorism cooperation, and it will be bound to suffer its own consequences.
Xu Guixiang: From the perspective of counter-terrorism strategy, Xinjiang pays more attention to solving the root causes, while the anti-terrorism of the United States is the excessive use of force, which in turn creates new terrorist forces. Now, let me introduce some facts.
Xu Guixiang: Looking at the anti-terrorism history of the United States, it has been 20 years since the "9/11" to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Although the United States killed Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and achieved certain military goals, however, from a strategic point of view, the American "anti-terrorism" is a complete failure. Terrorism has not been eradicated, but instead has got the characteristics of diversification and decentralization. From "Al Qaeda" to "Islamic State", from "Boko Haram" to "Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb", terrorism has "linkage" and "resonance" at the regional and even global levels, and the threat brought by terrorism has increased rather than decreased. A study by Mohamed Guzel, a researcher at the "Peace and Reconciliation" Research Center in Geneva, Switzerland, shows that in the past 20 years, the United States has not won the war on terrorism. In fact, many practices of the United States are just fueling terrorism and terrorist activities. According to relevant statistics, the war in Afghanistan launched by the United States has increased the number of Afghan terrorist organizations from single digits to more than 20, and attracting nearly 10000 foreign terrorists. The United States' failed anti-terrorism policy has also made its anti-terrorism allies taste the bitter fruit made by itself. In recent years, Islamic state, Al Qaeda and other organizations have not only wreaked havoc in the Middle East, but also created many terrorist attacks in European countries. At the same time, the United States' war on terrorism has also continuously impacted Europe directly by the refugee problem, resulting in severe social security challenges, rising unemployment and populism, and increasing the risk of terrorist attacks.
Why does the United States’ fight against terrorism “has created more terrorism”? The reason is that they rely too much on force and militarism, without paying attention to the elimination of poverty, ethnic antagonism, extremist ideas and other factors that are easy to breed terrorism. This simple and crude way of combating terrorism will only bring instability, trigger new social contradictions, enrich the soil for the development and spread of terrorism and make terrorist activities increasingly rampant. As Jeffrey Sachs, a famous American expert on global development issues and Director of the Center for International Studies of Harvard University, pointed out, the west, especially the United States, bears great responsibility for the rapid growth of the "Islamic State". The emergence of the "Islamic State" itself marks the failure of the US counter-terrorism policy.
Xu Guixiang: From the results of counter-terrorism, the fight against terrorism and de-radicalization carried out in Xinjiang has always adhered to the protection of human rights, bringing social stability as well as peaceful and pleased life. However, under the banner of "counter-terrorism", the United States has staged scenes of human rights violations, resulting in serious humanitarian crises in some countries and regions. Now, let's invite Ms. Marhaba Aolan, professor of Xinjiang University, to share her views.
Photo shows Marhaba Aolan, professor of Xinjiang University speaks at at the 60th Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Beijing.
Marhaba Aolan: As we all know, the United States, which flaunts itself as a "defender of human rights", is the "world champion" of human rights violations.
First, indiscriminate killing of innocent people in the name of "counter-terrorism". In recent years, in the areas, where the US launched war, people died at home, in the market and on the road, in bombs, bullets and UAVs, due to the American air strikes, government forces' raids, terrorist and extremist organizations' massacres and domestic riots. Countless fresh lives have left the world forever. According to relevant statistics, since 2001, the "anti-terrorism" war and military operations launched by the United States have claimed more than 800,000 lives, including about 330,000 civilians. According to the statistics of "Action against Armed Violence", about 1600 Afghan children were killed and injured in NATO air strikes led by the United States from 2016 to 2020. Britten Bryant, a former U.S. drone attack operator, told the media that before a U.S. drone attack, he reported that a child appeared at the target site, but the U.S. commander said "that is a dog".
Second, the abuse of torture in the name of "counter-terrorism". In order to cooperate with the "war on terror", the CIA has set up "black prisons" in some countries in the world to hold terrorist suspects. The CIA is engaged in extorting confessions by torture, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in a narrow space, and personal humiliation in these overseas prisons. On December 14, 2017, the website of the British Independent reported that Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on torture of the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that detainees in Guantanamo prison were being subjected to torture and ill treatment prohibited by international law, and urged the United States to stop torture of detainees. In 2020, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that there was evidence that nearly 100 Afghan prisoners were tortured, abused or even raped during interrogation, and the U.S. military and the CIA may commit war crimes due to prisoner abuse in Afghanistan.
Third, building of a "hacker empire" in the name of "counter-terrorism". After the September 11 incident, the Patriot Act promulgated by the United States contains a number of provisions that violate human rights and citizens' privacy. In June 2013, Snowden exposed the "prism" project of the United States that the U.S. intelligence department monitored all mobile phones and Internet computers around the world 24 hours a day, even the leaders of the alliance countries. Since then, the scope of the United States to monitor leaders of other countries and international organizations, ordinary people and related enterprises has been expanding, and the technical means have been renovated day by day.
Fourth, discrimination and restriction against Muslims in the name of "counter-terrorism". In 2017, the United States issued an executive order entitled "national protection plan to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the United States", which prohibits citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya from entering the United States. These are countries with Muslims as the main population. Therefore, this executive order is also called "prohibition order" by the media and non-governmental organizations. This practice of associating terrorism with specific countries, regions and religions has aroused widespread criticism in the international community. In addition, according to the Pew Research Center, 52% of Muslims in the United States are monitored by the government, 28% of Muslims have been regarded as suspects, and 21% of Muslims claim that they were individually checked when they passed security at the airport.
Xu Guixiang: From the secondary impact of counter-terrorism, through the fight against terrorism and de-radicalization, China’s Xinjiang has continuously released stability dividends, economic and social development has entered the fast lane, and the people of all ethnic groups have significantly enhanced their sense of gain, happiness and security. However, the "anti-terrorism" war launched by the United States has caused unrest in some countries and regions. Now, I'd like to invite Mr. Yalkun Yakup, Deputy Director of the Public Security Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to share his views.
Yalkun Yakup: In the name of "anti-terrorism", violating human rights is the truth that "American anti-terrorism" can't hide. Over the past 20 years, what people have seen is the terrorist threat had not disappeared; instead the US "anti-terrorism" military action had caused the profound disasters to the people of some countries and regions.
First, it created the "refugee tide", and many people were displaced. In recent years, a large number of refugees have been in desperate exile to other countries because of the so-called "anti-terrorism" war launched by the United States. Children who died on the beach, refugees who died in frozen cars, in the sea, and Afghans who fell from American planes in the "Kabul moment"... Such tragedies happen all the time. Brown University issued a report pointing out that the number of refugees caused by the so-called war on terrorism after the September 11 incident in the United States is at least 37 million and may reach 59 million at most.
Second, the economy is in turmoil and many people suffer from hunger. Years of war have led to the destruction of infrastructure, economic collapse and stagnation of social development in many countries and regions. Statistics show that from 2019 to 2020, Afghanistan's GDP is about US $18.89 billion, and the per capita GDP is only US $586.6. About 72% of the people live below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is as high as 38%. Some labor forces can only get about US $60 a month, which is difficult to maintain the livelihood of the whole family. According to a survey conducted by the World Food Program in April 2020, about one third of Syrians do not have enough food and 87% do not have savings. According to another report of the World Food Program, Iraq's "vulnerability" has reached an unprecedented level, with more than 53% of military and civilian people suffer from hunger and nearly 75% of children under the age of 15 dropping out of school to help their families.
Third, the misuse of war weapons makes many people face health threats. The United States has previously admitted that the U.S. military used inhumane weapons depleted uranium bombs in the Iraq war in 2003. According to statistics, the US military detonated more than 3400 tons of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq. As we all know, radioactive materials can cause cell mutations, and the decay of uranium is 4.5 billion years, which means that anyone on this land may become a victim in a long time. Iraqi environmental scholar Latif said in an interview with the media that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency's research, the incidence rate of cancer and radiation related diseases is about 1/100000, while the prevalence rate of Iraq is 600 times higher and is still rising. The Guardian website reported on August 22, 2016 that the birth rate of infants with birth defects in Iraq was as high as 30% in 2010, compared with 2% to 4% under normal circumstances.
What makes people angry is that the United States, which caused such a serious humanitarian disaster, shamelessly set up "Office of Strategic Influence" and engaged in false propaganda in a vain attempt to beautify the war. The Office sends messages to foreign media or leaders through institutions that have no obvious relationship with the Pentagon, trying to package the "justice" of the "war on terrorism". But soon after, some American media pointed out that the Pentagon sent a lot of false information overseas through these methods. Under the great pressure of public opinion, in February 2002, then US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced the closure of the Office, but at the same time claimed that the US military would not give up its wartime propaganda work. William M. Akin, a military analyst, wrote on the Los Angeles Times website that after the closure of the "Office of Strategic Influence", the U.S. government is still using public information control to serve its war objectives. In December 2004, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Defense was still discussing how to manipulate information to influence the views of people in other countries on the United States.
Xu Guixiang: From the perspective of anti-terrorism rules, China's anti-terrorism and de-radicalization battle in Xinjiang strictly abides by international conventions and actively carries out practical cooperation with other countries, while the anti-terrorism of the United States has seriously undermined international rules and seriously trampled on the sovereignty of other countries. Now, let's invite Mr. Shu Hongshui, Dean of the Anti-terrorism Law School of Northwest University of Political Science and Law, to talk about his views through video link.
Shu Hongshui: the United States disregards international law and international conventions, recklessly interferes in the sovereignty of other countries under the banner of counter-terrorism, and simply and roughly manipulates the change of political power in other countries, which not only seriously undermines the unity of the international community in the governance of terrorism, but also continuously arouses anti-American sentiment and ultimately the chickens will come home to roost.
First, the "clever establishment of anti-terrorism items" infringes on the sovereignty of other countries. The United States has always been looking for a theoretical basis to restrict the sovereignty of developing countries and then carry out military intervention in those countries. For example, according to the "theory of anti-terrorism self-defense", the United States successively took anti-terrorism military actions against two sovereign countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, in 2001 and 2003, which constituted a serious violation of the sovereignty of the two countries. However, the United States has not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The "famous scene" in which then US Secretary of State Powell used a tube of "washing powder" in the Security Council is still criticized and ridiculed by world public opinion. According to the statistics of the Journal of the Smithsonian Institution of the United States, the wars and military operations launched by the United States in the name of "counter-terrorism" have fully covered 40% of the countries on the planet. Among them, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and Syria are all carried out for their own interests under lies and deception. Once the evolution of the "anti-terrorism" situation is detrimental to the interests of the United States, the United States will try to leave by "throwing away the burden". This is true in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Second, "fabricating pretexts against terrorism" and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Even without theoretical support, the United States can find "reasons" to interfere in other countries' domestic affairs. For example, by using their power resources and discourse resources, they label some developing countries as "non-sovereign", "pseudo sovereign" and "semi sovereign" countries, so as to provide an excuse for wantonly violating or depriving these countries of their sovereignty. For instance, the US takes advantage of the phenomena of "social unrest", "human rights violations" and "ineffective counter-terrorism" in developing countries to directly implement military intervention and promote the change of political power in these countries. Another example, the United States carried out drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and other countries without the consent of other governments. While violating the sovereignty of other countries, it also led to the casualties of many innocent civilians. Due to the lack of legitimacy, these external interventions often lead to strong anti-American sentiment among the people of the intervened countries, and indirectly provide a psychosocial basis for the development of terrorism.
Third, "divide the anti-terrorism camp" and wantonly threaten others. After the 9/11 incident, the United States divided other countries into countries that actively supported the United States war on terrorism and countries that did not intend to support it. For the latter category of countries, the United States clearly threatened: "we will prevent terrorists from obtaining further financing, support and shelter by ensuring that other countries accept their responsibility to take action against international threats within their sovereign territories." Seven countries, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan, identified as "supporting terrorists" by the United States in 2003, and Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba, identified again in 2006 were threatened by the United States by asking them to "ensure" the local implementation of their "sovereignty" responsibilities. The reason why these countries receive "special care" from the United States is actually because they have hostile relations with the United States. Whether they really support terrorists is not the core issue of concern to the United States.
Fourth, "acting as a judge against terrorism" and abusing unreasonable sanctions. The United States regards itself as the "beacon of democracy" and "guardian of human rights" in the world, sparing no effort to advocate and promote western human rights and freedom norms in its anti-terrorism action, and relying on its strength, it condemns or arbitrarily sanctions those countries identified by the United States as violating human rights, and sometimes even poses multilateral sanctions taking advantage of the international mechanism led by it. For example, on October 7, 2019, the United States included 28 Chinese entities such as the Public Security Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the export control list under the pretext of the so-called human rights issues related to Xinjiang, and imposed visa restrictions on our party and government officials and their families. However, in our view, the so-called "sanctions" of the United States are a piece of waste paper, which cannot shake our strong will and firm determination to promote counter-terrorism and de-radicalization and maintain long-term stability in Xinjiang.
It must be pointed out that counter-terrorism cannot be at the expense of infringing on the sovereignty of other countries; instead it needs to respect the unique cultural values, historical traditions, political systems and development paths of different countries, actively adopting cooperative ways to jointly combat terrorism and extremism. The ignorance and contempt of the United States and other western countries for the history and current situation of other countries hinder the efforts of the international community to combat terrorism, undermine the consensus reached by the international community in the process of governance of terrorism, and even shake the normative basis of the international order, which will be despised by the international community.
Xu Guixiang: Judging from the international evaluation of anti-terrorism, the anti-terrorism and de-radicalization measures and results of Xinjiang have been fully affirmed by more and more countries and people from all walks of life, while the anti-terrorism of the United States has been criticized and unanimously condemned by the international community. Now, let's invite Ms. Marhaba Aolan, professor of Xinjiang University, to talk about her views.
Marhaba Aolan: The world can see the measures taken and achievements made by Xinjiang in combating terrorism and de-radicalization. Through on-the-spot visits to Xinjiang, many people from the international community understand the urgency, necessity, legitimacy and rationality of carrying out education and training in Xinjiang, and believe that the measures taken by Xinjiang have made important contributions to the international community's fight against terrorism and de-radicalization. In July 2019, permanent representatives of more than 50 countries in Geneva sent a joint letter to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to positively evaluate China's achievements in counter-terrorism, de-radicalization and the protection of human rights; in July 2020, at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Belarus made a joint statement on behalf of 46 countries to support China's position, practice and effectiveness on Xinjiang related issues; In October 2020, nearly 50 countries supported the measures taken by China in Xinjiang in the Third Committee of the 75th UN General Assembly and opposed the attacks and defamation of China by some western countries; In October 2020, envoys of 20 Arab countries and representatives of the Arab League in China visited Xinjiang. They all spoke highly of Xinjiang's achievements in counter-terrorism, de-radicalization and ensuring citizens' freedom of religious belief; since the beginning of this year, at all Human Rights Council meetings, many countries have supported China's legitimate position on issues related to Xinjiang by means of joint statements, separate statements and letters.
As the saying goes "A just cause enjoys more support than an unjust cause". The hypocrisy, hegemony and human rights violations of the United States in counter-terrorism have been condemned by the international community. Javier Solana, former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and former Secretary General of NATO, published an article pointing out that the "global war on terrorism" is a misguided action. For the west, the task now is to reflect on the lessons of this painful experience. External military forces are not a wise way to achieve effective and lasting regime change. George Galloway, a former British congressman, pointed out that no matter from which perspective, the western war on terrorism is a "disastrous failure". The West must learn a lesson and should stop supporting extremists everywhere and stop being militaristic. Anthony Grice, professor of Defense Security and Information Science at Buckingham University in the United Kingdom, pointed out that the military operations of western countries led by the United States in Afghanistan have not been successful, and terrorism remains a great threat to western countries. Tom Foody, a British writer, political and international relations analyst, pointed out that the disastrous consequences of American "Reaganism" led to the rise of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, the "9/11" incident, and the subsequent war on terrorism as a "solution". Mustafa Amin, a columnist for Egypt's Ruz Yusuf weekly, pointed out that the war in Afghanistan has indirectly caused chaos in the Middle East over the past 20 years. The "9/11" incident has also become an excuse for the United States to intervene in regional affairs. Former Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mualem once denounced that the so-called "international alliance" led by the United States had done everything in Syria, except fighting terrorism. Wikileaks founder Assange commented on the Afghan war that the purpose of the Afghan war is not for the Afghan government. The real purpose of the war is to use Afghanistan to launder money from the tax base for U.S. officials... And ultimately turn it into an endless war, not a successful war. Michelle Klohn, a Belgian writer and founder of the investigation action website, pointed out that the United States launched the war on terrorism is only a way to try to prevent its own decline in order to maintain its hegemony.
Facing the threat of terrorism, all countries should work together, strengthen cooperation, resolutely crack down, and strive to eliminate the root causes of terrorism. This is the proper attitude against terrorism. The United States wants to build its security on hegemony over others. In today's world, it can't do it and is invidious.
Xu Guixiang: We have noticed that Reuters recently published an article saying that an American company reached an agreement with Xinjiang to transfer hundreds of Uygur workers to a subsidiary factory in Qinzhou, Guangxi. The working conditions of these workers are characterized by the definition of forced labor standards, such as isolated work, police escort and limited freedom of movement. Now, I would like to invite Mr. Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to introduce the relevant information.
Elijan Anayat: the Reuters report is completely inconsistent with the facts. Its judgment that the working conditions of Uygur workers are characterized by forced labor is even more speculative and groundless.
First, there is no "forced labor" as reported by the Reuters. It is understood that these ethnic minority employees of Xinjiang origin have voluntarily signed up to work in enterprises and signed labor contracts, and their rights and interests have been fully protected in accordance with law.
Second, there are no "isolated work" and "limited freedom of movement" as reported by the Reuters. Employees of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang and employees from other provinces work and live in the same workshop and building, enjoy the same treatment, and their personal freedom has never been restricted.
Third, there is no "monitoring and surveillance" as reported by the Reuters. Many ethnic minority employees from Xinjiang have a low command of standard Chinese, and there are language barriers for migrant workers. The accompanying staff are mainly responsible for translation, communication and coordination with enterprises. The purpose is to help employees better solve difficulties in production and life, safeguarding employees' legitimate rights and interests and actively helping them integrate into the local living environment. It is not for "monitoring" at all.
Fourth, there is no "police escort" of Xinjiang employees as reported by the Reuters. It is understood that due to the need to prevent and control the epidemic, the local workers who came to Qinzhou to resume their work had taken COVID-19 protective measures. The local media in Guangxi also made news reports, and the relevant information was transparent, while Reuters took it out of context and distorted the facts, which seriously misled public opinion.
In addition, the Reuters reported that Xinjiang employees eat in "separate canteens". The actual situation is that some employees eat in halal canteens, which just reflects the enterprise's respect and protection for employees with halal eating habits. It's really ironic that Reuters regarded respecting employees' customs and habits as the feature of "forced labor".
It should be emphasized that employment is the basic right of Chinese citizens. Like the majority of workers in other regions of China, all their labor rights and interests are protected by Chinese law; they all have the freedom to choose their careers, go anywhere and do what job they want, and their personal freedom has never been restricted; the rights and interests of migrant workers of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang in terms of religious belief, national culture, language have been fully guaranteed; relevant enterprises have provided good working and living conditions for migrant workers of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang to ensure that they are comfortable in work, life and family.
Xu Guixiang: Before the press conference, some reporters sent questions to us. Now, let's invite the reporter from MASTV to ask questions.
MASTV: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida appointed Gen Nakatani as an advisor to the Prime Minister on human rights issues, a newly established post. This person has previously said that the human rights issue in Xinjiang needs serious concern. At the same time, Japan's new Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also made the similar statement. What is Xinjiang's comment on this?
Xu Guixiang: Xinjiang always adheres to the "people centered" human rights concept, takes the aspiration of the people of all ethnic groups for a better life as the goal, effectively ensuring and improving people's livelihood, and the people of all ethnic groups have fully enjoyed tangible achievements, which is the basic fact of the continuous development and progress of human rights in Xinjiang. The relevant parties should face up to the human rights situation in Xinjiang. If they do not even understand and recognize the basic facts, they are not qualified to criticize and gossip about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. If someone wants to talk about human rights in Xinjiang in order to intervene in Xinjiang's affairs and interfere in China's internal affairs, it will be a waste of effort. We don't buy it. We advise some people abroad to pay more attention to their own human rights issues, listen to the voice of their own people, and stop playing the trick of thief crying “stop, thief”.
Xu Guixiang: Reporter from CCTV may raise a question.
CCTV: Three victims and family of the victims of terrorist attacks mentioned that they hope the violent terrorist incidents will never happen again. Nowadays, is Xinjiang still facing challenges in terms of counter terrorism? And what are the measures to cope with the challenges? Thank you!
Xu Guixiang: Thank you for your question. Counter terrorism and de-radicalization are a difficult worldwide problem. Especially in Xinjiang, terrorism and extremism have been rampant for many years. Combating terrorism and extremism is also a long-term historical task. Affected by the international counter-terrorism situation, Xinjiang is also facing many problems and challenges in the fight against terrorism and de-radicalization. Nevertheless, our attitude towards combating and preventing terrorism is unswerving. In particular, through arduous efforts, Xinjiang has achieved remarkable results of five consecutive years without violent terrorist attacks. This important effect in turn proves the correctness, scientificity and compliance of Xinjiang's anti-terrorism and de-radicalization measures.
Although the international community has different opinions on the anti-terrorism and de-radicalization practices in Xinjiang, history will prove everything. Facing the future, facing the risks and challenges brought by terrorism and extremism, Xinjiang will unswervingly carry out the battle against terrorism and de-radicalization, adhere to effective measures and practices, further strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries and regions, relevant parties of the international community in particular, and continue the efforts and make due contributions to combating terrorism, extremism and maintaining regional peace and security..
Today’s press conference concludes here. Thank you everyone!