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The 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Xu Guixiang: Dear friends from the press. Welcome to the 76th press conference of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This is Xu Guixiang, spokesman of the People’s Government of Xinjiang. First, please allow me to introduce the attendees of the conference: Elijan Anayat, Spokesman of the People’ Government of Xinjiang, Omarjan Namat, Vice Chairman of Xinjiang Police College, Chen Zhongkuan, Vice Chairman of Xinjiang Federation of Trade Unions, Wu Sheng, President of Xinjiang Cotton Association, Hamit Abdurehim, Researcher of Xinjiang Development Research Center, Abdumijit Omar, Associate Professor of School of Political Science and Law of Xinjiang Normal University, Mahpirat Kanji, Professor of School of Psychology of Xinjiang Normal University, Nurnisa Alip, Vice President of School of Engineering and Technology of Xinjiang Medical University, Shang Xiaoke, Chairman of the Trade Union of Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd.

At present, the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council is being held in Geneva, with a joint statement delivered by nearly 70 countries including Cuba and another 20-plus countries to voice China in their respective remarks. It is universally recognized by the international community that Xinjiang-related issues are China’s internal affairs. They rejected politicizing human rights issues and applying double standard and voiced opposition to interfere in China’s internal affairs under the disguise of human rights. The US and some other western countries, however, under the pretext of human rights, flagrantly smear human rights conditions in Xinjiang, which constitutes a severe violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. We firmly reject this. In today’s press conference, we will focus on the topic of the Notion and Practices of Respecting and Safeguarding Human Rights in Xinjiang.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xinjiang strictly follows a people-centered human rights philosophy. The most basic human right is the right to a happy life. We follow the philosophy of all for the people and by the people, and spare no efforts to address the most direct and realistic interests people care most, so that people of all ethnic groups enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness and security.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Xu Guixiang, spokesman of People’s Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

We believe that the key to assess the situation of human rights lies in whether the fundamental interests are maintained. Xinjiang has constantly given priority to the right to life and development as the fundamental human rights. We combat terrorism in accordance with law to safeguard social stability and actively promote the quality development of economy in a bid to realize the comprehensive individual development and social progress. With these efforts, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang now have access to more secured and improved social environment, education, employment, income, social insurance, medical services, and living conditions and environment. All these improvements are a vivid reflection and substantiation of what Xinjiang has achieved in terms of human rights.

We believe that the development path of human rights must be determined based on national conditions and people’s willingness. We have, following the universal principle of human rights adapted to Xinjiang’s reality, pressed ahead with the development of the course of human rights in Xinjiang based on our own conditions and demand from our people to ensure lawful access to human rights in a more adequate, concrete and pragmatic manner. Xinjiang’s human rights are delivered and shared by people of all ethnic groups in terms of its path selection, course development and achievements registered. In other words, it is people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang that participate in, benefit from and safeguard the progress of human rights here all along.

We believe that lawful governance represents the most effective guarantee of human rights. We insist on equality of all before the law that ensures respect and safeguard of human rights through legislation, enforcement, justice and compliance. We proceed the rule of law to ensure compliance with law in carrying out all work and people’s access to basic political rights including democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management and supervision, as well as other rights in economical, cultural, social and environmental development.

We believe that human rights can be furthered even better than it already is on an ongoing basis. Some western countries are troubled by their party struggles, mistrust in their government, social disorder and uncontrolled pandemic. While shocking us by their human rights disaster with intensifying polarized politics, wealth gap, ethnic confrontation, they even care to flagrantly interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of ‘universal human rights’ and ‘human rights prevails over sovereignty’.

Instead of recognizing the fact that achievements have been made in human rights in Xinjiang, the US and some western countries accused China of “genocide” or “crimes against humanity”, which is a reflection of hegemony and power politics. The terms “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” are clearly defined in applicable international laws including the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by UN. On what ground can these countries define the human rights conditions in Xinjiang? How could they be qualified to make wanton remarks on regional affairs of a sovereign country? Why not measure the situation of their own human rights by such definition and criterion? They are doing so to exhaust all means to tell lies to meet their concealed purpose, that is, to contain China by disrupting Xinjiang and to serve US hegemony.

Now, Mr. Elijan Anayat please proceed.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Elijan Anayat, spokesman of People’s Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Elijan Anayat: Let’s welcome Omarjan Namat, vice president of Xinjiang Police College to brief us on the human rights protection in the region’s effort of counter-terrorism.

Omarjan Namat: I’d like to talk about two main aspects of the human rights protection in the region’s effort of counter-terrorism.

First, the fundamental objective of counter-terrorism in Xinjiang is to fully protect human rights. Any acts of terrorism, regardless of its motive, the time it occurs or by whom it is committed, are criminal acts. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action issued by the World Conference on Human Rights stipulated clearly that all forms of terrorist acts, means and practices are activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedom and democracy. The direct violation of human rights by terrorism is manifested in the facts that terrorists have carried out many terrorist attacks against civilians, have infringed people’s right to life and health, and have endangered their right to development. In the countries where terrorist activities took place frequently, people lived in miseries and suffered from economic recession. People’s right to development cannot be guaranteed. Without solving the problems of terrorism, people’s right to development cannot be effectively guaranteed and promoted. Facts have shown that, terrorism is the enemy of human rights protection. Counter-terrorism is to protect human rights other than violate human rights. Terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon, and should be tackled by all the countries. Counter-terrorism effort in Xinjiang is based on the reality of the region and the rest of the country, while drawing on the experience of other countries. The government prioritizes safeguarding the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups. Starting by addressing deep-seated problems, China has worked to explore effective and law-based approaches to counter-terrorism and de-radicalization to protect people of all ethnic groups from the scourge of terrorism and extremism. This is in line with related international conventions and is recognized by the international community.

Second, Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism effort sticks to the principle of rule of law. It is in line with the principle of equality. It is stipulated in the Counter-terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China that “In counter-terrorism work, citizens’ freedom in religious belief and ethnic customs shall be respected, and any discrimination based on regions, ethnic groups, religions and other grounds shall be prohibited.” Judicial authorities at all levels in Xinjiang insist on equality before the law, based on facts, they take law as criterion, deal with cases according to its nature, and resolutely safeguard social justice. Judicial organs at all levels strictly follow the principle of legality, presumption of innocence, evidence-based verdict, ensure the criminal suspects receive fair trail. Every citizen is equal in front of law. Any form of discrimination based on specific region, ethnic groups or religions is prohibited. In terms of convictions, anyone who commits a crime, regardless of his status or contribution, is subject to criminal investigation. In the measurement of penalty, criminals are punished according to law based on the facts, nature, circumstances and degree of harm to society of the crime.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Omarjan Namat speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Ensuring justice in the process. In dealing with terrorism related cases, judicial organs at all levels in Xinjiang ensure the results are fair and just, comply with the substantive laws, and the process conform to legal procedures. Litigious acts comply to legal procedures and abide by the division of functions and powers, such as division of jurisdiction, compulsory measures, strictly follow the conditions, degrees and limits of the exercise of power. For example, evidence collected by violation of legal procedures cannot be taken as basis for verdicts. Confessions of criminal suspects and defendants illegally collected by torture cannot be taken as evidence. Another example, in dealing with cases, judicial organs at all levels in Xinjiang consult with the criminal suspects, if they have the ability to hire lawyers by themselves, they can do so. For those who cannot due to financial difficulties, relevant departments appoint lawyers to defend them and to protect their right to defense. One more example, judicial organs fully guarantee the criminal suspects’ right to use their own spoken and written languages for litigation. Judges who are proficient in minority languages are given the priority to hear terrorism related cases. For criminal suspects who are not familiar with standard spoken and written Chinese language, the notice of court hearing, summons, ruling, judgments, mediation letters and relevant decisions will be translated to their own languages. Translation service is provided as well. The ethnic minority languages are also used in the making and delivery of judgment documents and ensure that they were delivered to the criminals.

The measures are just. The influence from abroad and internet, and soil in the country is the main reason for the frequent occurrence of violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. The terrorism force in Xinjiang is manipulated by overseas forces. For a long time, in order to separate Xinjiang from China, East Turkestan Islamic Movement have planned and carried out a series of terrorist attacks. Xinjiang has taken effective measures to block the channels between the “three forces” home and abroad. Xinjiang has intensified security facilities in places with high density of people including schools, hospitals, shopping malls, bus stations and service stations to prevent terrorist attacks and protect people’s lives. It should be noted that during the process, people’s right to privacy and correspondence is fully protected. Some overseas people with Xinjiang origins claimed that they have lost contact with their families in Xinjiang. There are three major reasons. Firstly, those overseas people joined in terrorist organization such as East Turkestan Islamic Movement, their relatives didn’t want to contact with them. Secondly, their relatives may be detained by public security organs due to criminal offences such as murder, drug trafficking or robbery. They can’t be reached according to laws and regulations. Thirdly, certain overseas people were coerced by the “three forces”, they fabricated lies.

There is no doubt that Xinjiang’s fight against terrorism and extremism is an important component of the global struggle, and has made an important contribution to the latter. While preventing and combating terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law, Xinjiang has maintained social stability and promoted social progress in the region, meeting the people’s aspirations for a safe and stable environment to live and work in, and ensuring the basic rights of all ethnic groups to the greatest extent. Nowadays, more and more people from the international community began to see this issue in a just and objective way.

Elijan Anayat: Next, let’s invite the vice chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Chen Zhongkuan to brief us about the protection of workers’ right in enterprises based on his duty.

Chen Zhongkuan: Good afternoon, I am Chen Zhongkuan, vice chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Today, I would like to introduce two aspects to you. One is the trade union organizations in Xinjiang, and the other is the employment and protection of workers' rights in Xinjiang’s enterprises.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Chen Zhongkuan speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

The Federation of Trade Unions of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is the organization of the working class in which workers voluntarily unite. Its basic responsibility is to safeguard the legitimate rights of workers and serve workers of all ethnic groups. According to President Xi Jingping’s requirement “If workers’ legitimate rights are infringed, local trade unions should speak up for them.” There are 32,500 trade unions in Xinjiang to protect workers’ rights in accordance with law.

After graduation, I became a worker in the enterprise with 32-year working age. I worked as a steel worker, a fitter, a welder, a lathe worker, a group leader and an engineer, and personally experienced the continuously improved protection of legitimate rights of workers in Xinjiang. In trade unions, cadres at all levels go deep into enterprises to interview employees at least half a month. They figure out the implementation of the Labour Law and the Labour Contract Law, the signing of labour contracts, collective wage negotiations, and the protection of the special rights of female employees. We help and guide employees to sign labour contracts with enterprises according to law. We have established a volunteer group with nearly 1,000 lawyers to safeguard the rights of employees with the Xinjiang Lawyers Association to provide free consultation and legal services.

Here is an example. Last year, I made a survey in a textile enterprise. Due to the adverse effects caused by rumors and slanders by anti-China forces in the United States and the West, the enterprise saw plummeted export orders, and was forced to stop production. The enterprise could only pay basic living expenses to workers, most of whom were Uyghurs. Thanks to the timely transformation of the enterprise, products were sold to domestic market, more than 300 workers of all ethnic groups were prevented from losing their jobs. A Uyghur female employee who has worked there for 12 years told me that she did not know who was forced by the so-called "forced labour" alleged by the US anti-China forces, but they were depriving her of the employment opportunities. They forcibly block her from getting paid through labour and living a happy life!

According to the statistics of relevant institutions, nearly 1,500 enterprises in Xinjiang have passed the ISO14000 environmental management system certification, and nearly 1,500 enterprises have passed the ISO18000 occupational health and safety management system certification. As we all know, enterprises that have passed the above two certifications have been recognized by the International Organization for Standardization in terms of labour protection, working environment, remuneration, occupational health management etc. It can be seen that the so-called "forced labour" of anti-China forces in the United States and the West is a distortion of facts, interference in China's internal affairs to disrupt Xinjiang's development. It is sheer nonsense.

In addition, we also see that enterprises and the government have created a comfortable working, living and entertaining environment for employees. In industrial parks with intensive workers, more than 500 workers' clubs, 2020 outdoor workers' service stations and 4622 female workers' rest and nursing rooms have been built and put into use, serving nearly 10 million outdoor workers, most of whom are migrant workers. In order to enrich the cultural life and leisure of the employees, the factory has set up recreational and sports activities rooms, bookstores and other facilities, equipped with basketball, volleyball, football and other supplies. After work, it also carries out entertainment activities such as variety shows and parties.

It can be said that the legitimate rights of workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been fully protected with access to free, decent and happy work. Most workers in Xinjiang have the freedom to choose their occupations and are free to go anywhere for any work. Their personal freedom has never been restricted. For ethnic migrant workers of Xinjiang, their rights are fully guaranteed in terms of religious belief, ethnic culture, as well as language and writing.

Elijan Anayat: Now, let’s invite the president of Xinjiang Cotton Association Wu Sheng talks about cotton industry’s role in promoting employment in the region.

Wu Sheng: I am Wu Sheng, president of Xinjiang Cotton Association. I’d like to introduce cotton-related employment in Xinjiang.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Wu Sheng speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Xinjiang Cotton Association has long been committed to advancing high-quality, efficient and sustainable development of Xinjiang’s cotton industry. The production of cotton and its downstream products follows environment-friendly practices, ensures decent work, premium quality and whole-of-process tractability. Cotton and related production activities are increasingly better organized and professional. Coordinated efforts are being made to establish the image of Xinjiang-made cotton product that stands for quality.

Xinjiang is endowed with rich natural conditions-abundant solar and fertile land resources. Cotton is a plant that needs a long frost-free period. As China’s largest high-quality cotton production base and also the country’s only staple-fiber cotton base, Xinjiang plays a crucial role in cotton production of China and the world. In 2021, Xinjiang produced about 5.20 million tons of cotton, making up 90% of China’s total. Cotton farming is widely distributed across the region, engaging over a half of the region’s farmers. Cotton has become a major source of income for farmers in Xinjiang, particularly those in the southern four prefectures: Kashgar, Hotan, Aksu and Kizilsu. Cotton accounts for over 80% of local agricultural income. Cotton farming and processing ensures the livelihood and has changed the life of cotton farmers, and workers and their families in cotton processing and textile corporations. In recent years, as cotton pickers are more widely used, machine picking rate in north Xinjiang is above 95% and that of south part is over 80%. Mechanization has greatly enhanced cotton farming efficiency and reduced cost, labour cost in particular. 2021 registered a better year for Xinjiang that saw a marked increase in quality. The revenue of raw cotton exceeded 100 billion yuan, accounting for 43.1% of the region’s agricultural industry and 23.2% of the net income of farmers.

The improvement of cotton-producing capacity has boosted Xinjiang’s cotton textile industry. With a capacity of 20 million spindles, cotton textile industry employs nearly 1 million people in the region, a big contributor in improving the employment of impoverished people and facilitating poverty alleviation. As an important part of local textile and clothing industry, cotton textile industry has made an indelible contribution to local poverty alleviation efforts.

In the face of the sanctions imposed by western anti-China forces on Xinjiang’s cotton in 2021, we turned “dangers” into “opportunities”, organizing employees of the member corporations of the association to speak with facts and tell the world the true situation, rebutting forcefully the smear by US and western anti-China forces against Xinjiang cotton, firmly safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests and fundamental interests of Xinjiang cotton industry chain, and stabilizing the confidence of cotton operators. In this process, the association played the role of a “bridge” and acted as a “link” between the government, enterprises and cotton, and facilitated the healthy development of cotton industry in Xinjiang.

We sincerely welcome foreign brand operators and MNCs in the textile supply chains to visit Xinjiang, seeing by themselves the region’s thriving cotton industry and highly mechanized cotton farming, and gaining first-hand experience of cotton growing and related textile businesses, as well as local employment and poverty alleviation situation, before making their business decisions on the basis of facts and truth.

Elijan Anayat: Next, let’s welcome Hamit Abdurehim, the researcher of Xinjiang Development Research Center to introduce that labourers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang create happy lives through labour.

Hamit Abdurehim: I often go to all parts of Xinjiang for field research. I had in-depths exchanges with labourers of various ethnic groups. I find out that to create happy lives and achieve personal dreams through labour is the most powerful internal driving force for all the labourers. The so-called forced labour in Xinjiang is a complete lie fabricated by the US.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Hamit Abdurehim speaks at the 76th Press Conference Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

For more than a decade, I have travelled around Xinjiang, and I have witnessed people of all ethnic groups had happy lives through hard work. In Ruoqiang County, people got rich by planting dates; in Shufu County, villagers turned to industrial workers from farmers and got stable monthly income; in Pishan County, people’s lives got improved through breeding industry; in Aksu, large-scale mechanical equipment worked in the cotton fields; in the ancient city of Kashgar, people lived in the beautiful traditional Uyghur houses, they became rich through the development of tourism. And I’ve experienced many other examples, like students from Xinjiang went to study at big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai with the help of government, and migrant workers from Xinjiang increased their income by working at other parts of China. I think, that’s the true Xinjiang.

I’d like to share with you several statistics. First, the region ensures that there is at least one person in each household has a stable job. Second, 2.63 percent. In the first half of 2021, 302300 new jobs were added in Xinjiang, the registered unemployment rate in cities and towns was 2.63 percent. Third, 3500, that’s the average monthly pay for the employees of cotton textile enterprises, which is higher than the regional minimum wage. Fourth, 2.214 million. Last year, Xinjiang has provided all kinds of vocational training for 2.214 million people. Their professional skills have been improved. There is joy and achievements of the labourers behind the figures.

The US turned a blind eye to all the facts but fabricated a series of charges to smear Xinjiang. Hereby, I have three questions for the US:

Firstly, to earn money through labour is human’s nature, do they need to be forced? labour is the voluntary choice made by labourers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They have improved their lives through hard work other than waiting for the government subsidy. We call those “lazybones”, and we look down upon them.

Secondly, to create favorable conditions for the labourers is the responsibility of the government, how come it is forced? I have noticed that employment is also one of the publicity stunt in the presidential elections in the US. While in Xinjiang, the government took active employment policies, developed labour intensive industries, and took the migrant workers to work and earn more money in other provinces, how come it is forced? With the same measures, in the US, it is to comply with public opinions, while in Xinjiang, it is forced labour. That’s the double standards.

Thirdly, the labourers’ rights and interests have been guaranteed, do they need the Americans to worry about them? China’s legal system provides strong support for the protection of labourers’ rights and interests. Trade unions, labour arbitration authorities and labour supervision institutions at all levels protect the labourers. They choose their occupations and places of employment freely, and they work in the conditions of freedom, equality and security. They live in peace and contentment, do they need the Americans who are thousands miles away to worry about them?

Lastly, the motives of the US to fabricate lies of forced labour were known to all. They just want to destroy China’s participation in the global industrial chain, thus to deprive the people of Xinjiang their right to labour and development. They just want the people of Xinjiang to stay in the backward state of poverty, and to create chaos in Xinjiang. In the face of the iron facts, such conspiracies will end in failure.

Elijan Anayat: Next, let’s welcome Abdumijit Omar, Associate Professor of School of Political Science and Law of Xinjiang Normal University, to introduce situation of how Xinjiang respects and guarantees human rights of all ethnic groups.

Abdumijit Omar: Xinjiang fully implements the Constitution, the laws and other regulations on regional ethnic autonomy, and the state's ethnic policies, insisting on equality among all ethnic groups, opposing ethnic discrimination, and earnestly safeguarding the human rights of ethnic minorities, all ethnic groups work together in unity and struggle to achieve common prosperity and development.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Abdumijit Omar speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Firstly, political rights of ethnic minorities are guaranteed in accordance with the law. In Xinjiang, all ethnic groups, regardless of their population size, history, level of development, and differences in customs and habits, have equal status and the rights to participate in state affairs, manage local affairs, and exercise democratic rights at the grass-roots level. The concept of people's democracy in the whole process has been well practiced in Xinjiang. In accordance with the Constitution and the law, the legislature of the region has the right to make both local legislation in the regional level and legislative power to make autonomous and separate regulations in accordance with the political, economic and cultural characteristics of Xinjiang. Xinjiang is the only autonomous region in China with all three levels of autonomous divisions (i.e., autonomous region, autonomous prefecture and autonomous county). Chairperson of the autonomous region, governors of autonomous prefectures, and heads of autonomous counties are all citizens from the ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy of the said areas. A number of minority cadres serve as secretaries in Party organizations at all levels in Xinjiang. There are also a number of ethnic minority cadres holding leading positions in central and state organs. The right of ethnic minorities to vote and stand for election has been fully guaranteed. Among the deputies to the 13th session of the people's congress of the autonomous region, ethnic minority representatives accounted for 64.2% , and among the members of the 12th CPPCC of the autonomous region, ethnic minority members accounted for 46.7% .

Secondly, the right of ethnic minorities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages is guaranteed in accordance with the law. The minority languages are widely used in education, justice, administration and social and public affairs. Xinjiang, for example, offers minority language classes in primary and secondary schools, teaching Uyghur, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Mongolian and Xibe language. Multilingual services can be seen everywhere in commercial stores, post and telecommunications, health care, traffic signs and other social and public areas. For example, when performing official duties, organs at all levels use both mandarin and languages of the ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy. For example, there are 12 sets of radio and television programs in Xinjiang Radio and Television Station with five languages as Han, Uyghur, Kazakh, Mongolian, Kirgiz.

Thirdly, cultural rights of ethnic minorities have been protected in accordance with the law. Xinjiang attaches great importance to the protection and development of the fine traditional culture of the ethnic minorities, and a number of outstanding historical and cultural heritages representing the Uyghur, Mongolian, Hui and Xibe ethnic minorities have been properly protected.Uyghur Muqam of Xinjiang and the Kirgiz epic Manas were registered on the "UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity", and the "List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding". Among popular folk festivals are the Uyghur's Meshrep, the Kazakh's Aytes, the Kirgiz's Kobuz Ballad Singing Fair, and the Mongolian Nadam Fair.

Fourthly, ethnic minority citizens' right to freedom of religious belief is protected in accordance with the law. It is entirely up to citizens to choose whether to believe in a religion or not. All normal religious activities, such as worshiping, fasting and celebrating religious festivals, that citizens conduct at religious sites or in their own homes in accordance with religious practices, are taken care of by religious groups and citizens and protected by law, with no interference from any organization or individual. At the same time, Xinjiang has continued to improve the public service conditions of mosques, which greatly facilitates religious believers and is well received by religious circles and believers. It has translated and published religious classics such as the Koran and The Selected Writings of Sahih Al-Buhari in the Chinese, Uyghur, Kazak and Kirgiz languages to expand religious knowledge for believers. Xinjiang Islamic Institute and its 8 branches have been set up to train reserve Islamic talents and ensure the healthy and orderly inheritance of Islam.

Fifthly, the healthy development of the population of all ethnic groups has been actively promoted. Before the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China, economic and social development in Xinjiang was backward, the population was small in scale, low in quality, and the life expectancy per capita was short. After the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China, the population of Xinjiang, especially the population of ethnic minorities, has been growing rapidly, the quality of the population has been improving, and the life expectancy per capita has increased significantly. From the first national population census in 1953 to the seventh national population census in 2020, the population of Xinjiang has increased from 4,783,600 to 2,585,230, of which the Uyghur population has increased from 3,607,600 to 1,162,430. Family Planning in China has gone through the process of putting the inland before the frontier, putting the cities before the countryside, putting the Han nationality before the ethnic minorities, and implementing a relatively lenient policy to the ethnic minorities, which is different from the Han nationality. The family planning measures of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, promulgated in 1992, clearly stipulates that a couple of Han people may have one child and a farmer and herdsman two children, and that a couple of urban minority people may have two children, three children are allowed in rural areas; less numerous ethnic groups do not practise family planning. This differential birth policy is an important reason for the rapid growth of the minority population in Xinjiang. In line with economic and social development and the convergence of fertility aspirations among ethnic groups, in 2017 Xinjiang revised its regulations on population and family planning in the region, stipulating that all ethnic groups implement a unified family planning policy, that is, a couple of urban residents can have two children, a couple of rural residents can have three children. On June 4,2022, the People's Congress of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region published the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Population and Planning Regulations, which stipulates that a couple can have three children. It should be stressed that the family planning policy of People's Republic of China services have always adhered to the principle of combining state guidance and individual voluntary participation, and that citizens have the right to make informed choices about contraceptive methods. Xinjiang implements family planning policy according to law, and it is up to individuals to decide whether and how to use contraception.

Elijan Anayat: Next, let’s welcome Mahpuqat Kanji, professor of School of Psychology in Xinjiang Normal University, to brief on how Xinjiang fully guarantees the right to education of all ethnic groups.

Mahpirat Kanji: The right to education is one of the basic rights enjoyed by citizens and guaranteed by the state. For a long time, with the support of the central government, Xinjiang has taken various measures to give priority to the development of education, so that children of all ethnic groups can share quality education.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Mahpurat Kanji speaks at the 76th Press Conference on Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Firstly, the right to education of all ethnic groups has been fully guaranteed. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of education for ethnic minorities, and has formulated and implemented a series of laws and policies to promote the vigorous development of education in Xinjiang. Xinjiang has continuously increased investment in education, continuously implemented the project of benefiting the people through education, so that more children from poor areas could go to school, comprehensively promoted the integrated development of urban and rural education, and strived to ensure that every child can enjoy a fair and quality education.

I am the biggest beneficiary of the educational and people-benefiting policies implemented by the state in Xinjiang. My parents were born in 1940s, under the care of the Party and the state, they received higher education in Xinjiang and became government officials. I was born in 1970s, I never dreamed of going out of Kashgar for Beijing to realize life ideal. I became a doctor of psychology, professor and doctoral supervisor. Thanks to preferential educational policies for ethnic minorities, I was admitted by Beijing Normal University, and was able to pursue the master and doctoral degrees.

Secondly, urban and rural compulsory education are universal, and 15-year free education is provided in all four prefectures of southern Xinjiang. Xinjiang has achieved full coverage of compulsory education, while Southern Xinjiang has achieved full coverage of 15 years of free education, ensuring that every child can enjoy fair and quality education. According to statistics, the gross enrollment rate of pre-school education in Xinjiang 2021 reached 98.19% , the compulsory education consolidation rate reached 95.69% , and the gross enrollment rate of senior high school reached 98.87%. Xinjiang has continuously strengthened the construction of boarding schools in villages and towns, and solved the difficult problem of children going to school in remote agricultural and pastoral areas. By 2020, 160,200 students had been trained, including 138,500 ethnic minority students, accounting for 86.45 percent. At the compulsory education stage, children from poor families in Xinjiang dropped out of school due to poverty. The goal of “Having a school and being able to afford to go to school” was fully realized.

The modern vocational education system has been basically established. There are 37 vocational colleges and 147 secondary vocational schools, including 11 high-quality vocational colleges at the autonomous region level, 11 secondary vocational schools and 3 national-level high-quality vocational colleges. The higher education system is becoming more and more complete. There are 56 ordinary colleges and universities. By 2020, they will have trained 2,115,000 graduates, of whom 767,000 are ethnic minority students, accounting for 36.3 percent.

Thirdly, enhance investment to pre-school education and ensure its universal access in rural area. In accordance with the requirements of “establishment of adequate kindergartens and full access for all children”, we have stepped up efforts to make universal access to pre-school education in rural area with four prefectures in Southern Xinjiang in particular. A total of 16.3 billion Yuan were invested to build, reconstruct or expand 4408 kindergartens. In light of the objective of a state-run central kindergarten for every township, an dependent one or branch by large-size villages, a jointly-run one by small-sized villages, the establishment of adequate facilities and full access of school-age children took place in rural area. We have invested 1.59 billion Yuan to the special campaign of 166 kindergartens in urban communities. Such act is to ensure the universal nature of pre-school education. From 2017 to 2020, a total of 1.136 billion yuan has been invested in pre-school education development to support each prefecture to build or reconstruct state-run kindergartens on a yearly basis, offering more than 20,000 pre-school enrollment opportunities. Pre-school children aged between 4-6 across Xinjiang have free access to kindergartens with breakfasts and lunches for free.

Fourthly, cement people’s sense of fulfillment by targeted poverty relief in education. It is the CPC and our government’s solemn commitment that no children would drop out of school due to family difficulties. From 2018 to 2019, a funding package from the central government and Xinjiang government was coordinated to invest 28.92 billion Yuan as the special education fund to support four regions and prefectures in Southern Xinjiang. This investment was intended to proceed the development of senior high school education there by implementing the policy of free of charge for tuition, textbook and accommodation along with subsidy for students from impoverished families. The specially preferential policy was rolled out for college admissions by expanding the volume of Special Admission Program for South Xinjiang. In 2020, a total of 6,062 students were admitted into nationwide universities through the Program, increased by 18.08% (or 928 individuals) compared with the year of 2016. The access to higher education for students in poverty-stricken area was markedly improved.

In the past five years, Xinjiang has invested 19.84 billion Yuan in total as construction funding, more than half was put into the four prefectures in Southern Xinjiang. A total of 6.47 million square meters of school facilities were reconstructed or expanded. All the designated 20 criteria for basic schooling operation were met including the elimination of level D dilapidated buildings in schools of compulsory education, and the availability of classrooms with equipped device for multimedia instructions. In 2019, 762 million yuan has been appropriated, benefiting 4,806,000 students. The funding for students covered education of all levels from pre-school to postgraduate education, both state-run and privately-run schools, and all students from impoverished families, so that the rights to education were ensured for students of all ethnic groups.

Elijan Anayat: Next, let’s invite Nurnisa Alip, the deputy dean of Medical Engineering School of Xinjiang Medical University, to introduce how women and children’s rights are protected.

Nurnisa Alip: Women are an important part in human civilization and social progress, and children are the future of a country and the hope of a nation. In order to further consolidate and protect women and children’s right in health, education, social security, welfare, family, environment, law and so on. Xinjiang has issued Women's Development Program of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (2021-2025) and Children's Development Program of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (2021-2025), which require the implementation of the basic national policy of gender equality and the principle of giving priority to children. We will improve and perfect mechanisms that promote gender equality and conducive to all-round development of women and children. These two programs provide important opportunities for the all-round development of the cause of women and children in Xinjiang. They are important for fully understanding the new development stage, following the new development philosophy, and promoting high-quality development of the cause of women and children of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang in fostering a new development paradigm.

Photo taken on June 24, 2022 shows Nurnisa Alip speaks at the 76th Press Conference Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Tang Yong

Xinjiang attaches great importance to the work of women and children, focuses on solving problems in the development of women and children, and effectively protects the legitimate rights of women and children. At present, with diverse ways to participate in decision-making and management, women of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have steadily improved their economic status and health, coupled with better educational background and optimized environment. Children of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy equal public services, complete and superior welfare policies, and a harmonious family and social environment. The rights of children of all ethnic groups have always been fully guaranteed in terms of health, safety, education, welfare, family, environment and legal protection .

The rights of women of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been fully protected. For example, as to health, women have access to high-quality, efficient and affordable medical and health care services through comprehensive reforms of medical care, medical insurance and medicine along with overall reform of the regulatory system. In terms of employment, we have continuously increased assistance, helped women find employment through multiple channels, and supported willing women to start businesses, thus achieving a substantial increase in their income. The rights of children of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have also been fully protected. For example, in education, Xinjiang has continued to promote the development of preschool education with action plan. Xinjiang expanded the supply of preschool education resources, and continuously developed more high-quality preschool education.

As a Uyghur female intellectual, my experience is a solid evidence that the rights of women and children have been fully protected in Xinjiang. I was born in Kashgar, Xinjiang. When I was in junior high school, teachers from Shandong Province to assist Xinjiang have helped me a lot. I was admitted to Qingshan senior high school in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. During four years of schooling in Jiangsu Province, I did not pay any tuition fee. The government provided food and accommodation for free. Later, I was admitted by the university and studied for undergraduate, master and doctor degrees. After graduation, I returned to Xinjiang Medical University to work. I teach in the beautiful and well-equipped campus. We carry out cross scientific research on medicine and engineering in an excellent team, and cooperated with well-known domestic universities. With a precious opportunity, I have a team with good platform to teach students, and made a breakthrough in biomedical optics in Xinjiang.

Stories like mine are numerous in Xinjiang. There is no doubt that the protection of women and children's rights and the promotion of women and children's undertakings in Xinjiang are the essence of Xinjiang's human rights undertakings. They have been integrated into every part of Xinjiang's economic and social development. Nowadays, Xinjiang has maintained stability. People of all ethnic groups live and work in peace and contentment. In recent years, I have conducted field research in many places in northern and southern Xinjiang. During the conversation with people of all ethnic groups, I have felt their enthusiasm for life, satisfaction to current life and longing for the future. People of all ethnic groups’ sense of gain, happiness and security is beyond words.

Besides, many people of justice have witnessed Xinjiang’s human right protection and think highly of it. For example, Jason Lightwood, a British vlogger who have lived in China for ten years. He released videos like “foreign media’s lie on Xinjiang”, which disclosed conspiracies of some US and western countries. The famous Israeli vlogger Gao Yousi have live in China for a long time. In 2021, he elabourated his true feelings and opinions on Xinjiang when he was interviewed. The deeds from those people of justice are the objective reflection of Xinjiang’s human right situation. The US and other western countries should listen to them and have an objective view of Xinjiang’s protection of women and children’s rights, rather than following suit to hype up and smear.

Xu Guixiang: Dear friends from the media, recently, some foreign media outlets claimed that there was forced labour in Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd. To verify that, we are going to connect with Shang Xiaoke, Chairman of the trade union of Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd, who will give us a brief introduction about the company.

Xu Guixiang: Mr. Shang, good to have you on today’s event and to introduce Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd. Pleases give us some basic information of the company.

Shang Xiaoke: Our company is a well-established PVC manufacturer in China that employs over 20,000 employees. East and South China are major destination of our products.

Xu Guixiang: As a corporation of 20,000 employees, how did you recruit them?

Shang Xiaoke: Our employees are recruited in three ways. First, online recruitment. The company posts hiring notice on media and online platforms. Candidates may submit their resumes online and the company then organize interviews. Those meeting the requirements will be hired. Second, offline recruitment. The company carries out recruiting events at colleges and job markets where interviews are conducted on site and selection is based on candidates’ merits. Third, recommendation through existing employees. Existing employees satisfying with the conditions here would recommend their relatives, friends or schoolmates to apply to the company. Regardless of how our employees are hired, the company signs labour contracts with them on equal and voluntary basis and inform them about their rights and obligations.

Xu Guixiang: How does the company manage its employees? How about the working environment?

Shang Xiaoke: The company puts people first. Employees are the creator of a company’s revenue and naturally they should be valued. Our company, in compliance with the provisions of the Law on Workplace Safety and Law on Occupational Disease Prevention, among others, keeps improving work environment for the employees. As prescribed by laws and regulations, our company adopts the system of the eight-hour workday and 40-hour workweek. If the company needs to extend working hours for operational reasons, it will arrange for compensation in the form of additional time off or remuneration. In the building of the industrial park, canteen, green spaces and sports facilities were also featured in the layout and constructed all together, creating an agreeable atmosphere for all working at the company. The company invests heavily in upgrading its mechanization, automation and digitization, with some procedures becoming operable on computer. Skills training, team building, sports competition and cultural activities are held regularly, which not only enhance the cohesion and morale of the workforce, but also help workers unwind and relax. High temperature days are persisting in Xinjiang recently, the company ensures noon breaks for the workforce and the canteens provide mung bean soup, watermelons and other heat-relieving items.

Xu Guixiang: Salaries and benefits are what workers’ foremost concern. Could you please tell us something about it?

Shang Xiaoke: In our company, the income of employees grows in step with business profits. In 2021, the average income of employees grew from 96,700 yuan in 2020 to 110,700 yuan, up by 14.5% year on year. Social insurance is paid to employees in full and housing provident fund at the highest rate. Gifts or souvenirs will also be given to employees at their important life moments, such as birthday, marriage and giving birth to children. We also give rewards when the children of employees are admitted by college. What is most welcomed by employees is our housing project. We have taken various measures to address housing issues. A total of 1,767 employees of all ethnic groups have moved to new houses. We have also provided 348 affordable houses and nearly 1,000 group-buying houses. By resolving issues of biggest concern to employees, we have significantly raised the sense of happiness among employees.

Xu Guixiang: Could you please tell us something about your company’s PVC products? Some foreign media say these products are a source of pollution. What is the impact on the environment?

Shang Xiaoke: With the support of industrial policies, and making full use of the abundant coal, crude salt and limestone resources in Xinjiang, our company has made much effort in developing the ethyne route of PVC manufacturing and continued to improve and expand the supply chain. In recent years, the company has promoted technological innovation, from which we have developed advanced and energy-saving techniques, large and automated equipment and intensive and low-carbon control systems. For instance, a meeting on technology was held last week. We will continue our work on scientific and technological innovation and ecological conservation to push for higher quality development of the company and more stable growth of the income of employees.

Xu Guixiang: The US claims that there is “forced labour” in Xinjiang and bans the import of all products related to Xinjiang. What is your comment?

Shang Xiaoke: I hope that from my introduction, you can feel that we at Zhongtai have made every effort to safeguard the rights and interests of employees. From my view, the allegation of “forced labour” is nothing but nonsense. Firstly, hiring is a practice based on the market. In short, the company pays the employees for their work. When the wages meet their expectation, workers will come and work. When the wages are too low, employees will surely go elsewhere. At the same time, the more capable employees are, the more wages they get. It is all about a reasonable process of two-way selection. Secondly, the government serves as a bridge between the company and workers. The company wants people to work while workers want to be employed. What the government does is to put together these two demands by helping the company find more suitable employees and helping workers find better jobs. It is a win-win process that brings convenience to both companies and people who want to be employed. Lastly, we believe that fine products are the most powerful weapon to respond to US sanctions. We will focus more on the scientific innovation of our products and make products of higher quality and competence, so more partners will get to know our professionalism. We will just let the market make the decision.

Xu Guixiang: Just now, eight experts, scholars as well as representatives from industry associations and businesses in Xinjiang gave their introduction of the practices and achievements of human rights protection in the region. I hope you have some further understanding in the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

Friends from the media, now it is time for questions and answers. Xinhua News Agency, please.

Xinhua News Agency: The “Uyghur Forced labour Prevention Act” (UFPLA) took effect on 21 June, which puts restrictions on products made in Xinjiang. Do you have any comment?

Xu Guixiang: Recently, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), citing the so-called “Uyghur Forced labour Prevention Act”, assumes any good made in Xinjiang is produced with forced labour, and prohibits the import of anything related to Xinjiang. This is an escalation of US suppression on China under the pretext of human rights. Such move by the US seriously undermines the interests of businesses and consumers from both countries, gravely undermines international economic and trade rules and global industrial and supply chains, and grossly violates international law and the basic norms of international relations. It fully exposes the hegemonic nature of the US as a country that violates human rights and breaks the rules in the name of preserving them. We strongly condemn and firmly opposes these acts. The allegation of “forced labour” in Xinjiang is a huge lie made up by anti-China forces in the US and other western countries to denigrate China, an absolute lie of the century. “Forced labour” is simply non-existent in Xinjiang, China. On such move of the US, I would like to give the following comments.

First, it has no legal foundation. The term “forced labour” has clear definition, standard and defining bodies in international law. According to the Forced Labour Convention (1930) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall mean 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 voluntarily. The ILO has identified 11 indicators, including deception, restriction of movement, isolation, physical and sexual violence and withholding of wages, to imply the existence of forced labour. It is also stipulated that forced labour shall be defined only by relevant ILO supervisory mechanisms and special committees. Accordingly, there is no such thing as “forced labour” in Xinjiang. The US is in no position to make such accusations. The principle of sovereign equality is fundamental in international law and international relations. The US side’s inference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of “forced labour” is a violation of the principles of international law. It runs against international justice, disregards international law, and tramples on international rule of law.

Second, it shows no respect for facts. The Chinese government has ratified 28 ILO conventions including the Forced Labour Convention (1930) and is in faithful compliance with the obligations of international conventions. China applies international labour and human rights standards in its legislation, policy making and policy implementation to effectively safeguard workers’ rights, and opposes forced labour. Strictly implementing Chinese laws and ILO conventions that China has ratified, Xinjiang has adopted an employment policy that integrates individual initiative, the regulatory role of the market, government facilitation and entrepreneurship and business start-ups, and given full play to the role of the market in allocating workforce resources. As a result, workers of all ethnic groups can build labour relations with companies on the basis of voluntary and two-way selection. Workers of all ethnic groups enjoy full freedom to choose their professions. They can decide where they are going and what they are doing according to their own will, and their personal freedom has never been restricted in any form. What the government does is to foster a sound environment for employment, to create conditions for people of all ethnic groups to find jobs they like and earn stable incomes, and to safeguard the rights to employment and labour of people of all ethnic groups to the greatest extent. The so-called “forced labour” is just a lie fabricated by a group of anti-China forces rallied by some institutions and individuals from the US and other western countries. It gravely violates basic facts.

Third, it makes no sense in logic. Xinjiang has all along upheld the people-centered development philosophy and prioritized safeguarding and improving livelihood. The region has spared no effort in supporting the growth of companies, finding more employment opportunities for people of all ethnic groups, and helping people of all ethnic groups get employed or start their own businesses. These efforts have significantly changed Xinjiang’s previous image of poverty and backwardness. In the past, people in Southern Xinjiang used to drink brackish water and live in dilapidated dwellings made of mud. They were too poor to let their children go to school. But now, people of all ethnic groups have led a prosperous life through hard work. They now have safe and clean tap water to drink, and big and bright houses to live in. Children are studying happily at school. This is true realization of human rights. It is just natural for the government to help people live a better life, which is an act of justice that improves livelihood, meets people’s needs and wins people’s hearts. What is wrong with that?

Fourth, it does no good to the US itself. As globalization continues to evolve, the world has grown into one community. Complete decoupling of economic and trade exchanges is impossible. Chinese and foreign businesses are now interconnected and interdependent, and their interests are deeply intertwined and inseparable. The US side’s imposition of sanctions not only undermines the legitimate interests of Chinese companies, but also brings harm to American businesses. According to the UFLPA, any company related to Xinjiang will have to prove itself “innocent”, or their products may be detained or forfeited. As a result, companies will have to bear more burden and spend a great deal of manpower, material and financial resources in something of no use. Such move gravely threatens the security of global industry and supply chain and grossly undermines the fair and equitable international business environment. It only hurts others while doing no good to the US itself.

With this evil law, the US assumes all goods produced in Xinjiang are made with “forced labour”, and will wantonly detain or forfeit such products. This is nothing short of a blatant act of robbery, outrageous gangster’s logic, hegemony of zero-sum game, and lingering Cold-War mentality. The real intention of the US by implementing the UFLPA is to create “forced unemployment”, undermine Xinjiang’s stability, interfere in China’s internal affairs and contain China’s development. It is an attempt that goes against the trend of history.

Xu Guixiang: If there are no more questions, that is all for today’s press conference. Thank you for your time.