Refuting 22 Western nations, 37 countries laud China’s human rights achievements in Xinjiang

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/14 22:53:40

Criticism of 22 Western nations ‘based on rumors’

The Grand Bazaar market in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region attracts visitors with its special clothing and goods on July 5. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

 A total of 37 countries, all developing nations, including some Muslim majority countries, sent a joint letter to the United Nations Friday in support of China's governance over its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, two days after 22 Western countries criticized China's policies in the region.

Chinese experts and officials from Xinjiang said that the 37 countries' support for China shows their recognition of China's efforts in anti-terrorism and eliminating extremism. 

They said it also exposed Western countries' blatant attempt to politicize human rights in the international arena, whereas human rights should be pushed forward with the progress of human society rather than being used as a political tool to smear other sovereign nations.

"We commend China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development," the joint letter said.

The letter was sent to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and signed by ambassadors to the UN at Geneva from Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Nigeria, Angola, Tajikistan, Philippines, Belarus and other countries from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

"The 37 countries can be regarded as a third party aside from China and the Western countries and the joint letter can really show China's achievements in improving the situation in Xinjiang," Zhang Yonghe, executive dean of the human rights institution of Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, told the Global Times.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday released a joint letter signed by 22 countries to the UN's top human rights body, urging China to "end its mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region."

The 22 included 18 European countries plus Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: many of them American military allies. 

Compared with the 22 Western countries, the 37 countries have larger population and territorial area, belonging to Islam, Buddhism or Christianity culture. They represent opinion of a larger part of the world, Chinese experts said.

"Seeing is believing. Unlike the 22 Western countries which criticized China's Xinjiang policies based on guesswork and rumors, many of the 37 countries' diplomats have paid visits to Xinjiang and have seen what is really happening," Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Zhang said that he had been in contact with many envoys in the international arena and their previous concerns over China's Xinjiang policies - caused by news they read in the Western media such as BBC and CNN - had been dispelled after visiting the region.   

"By visiting many places in Xinjiang, including visiting the vocational education and training centers and talking to local residents, many envoys have a better and clearer understanding of the situation in Xinjiang," Zhang said.

Many of the Muslim majority countries know better than others the harm of extremist thoughts penetrating in their countries, Zhang said.

Li said many of the 37 countries "also face a serious threat of terrorism and extremism and they understand the importance of anti-terrorism lies in de-radicalization work. China's Xinjiang policies have offered an effective way to eliminate extremism and the achievements have been witnessed by all." 

The envoys mentioned in the joint letter that safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights are safeguarded for all people of all ethnic groups.

"The 37 countries' support for and recognition of China's achievements in anti-terrorism and protection of human rights would benefit current global anti-terrorism work and fits the interests of human society," Li said.

The Associated Press said in a report on Friday that the joint letter delivered to the UN "was a show of the growing diplomatic clout that China can muster."

Li said that "it is true that China's influence has increased in recent years. This is because many of China's initiatives including the Belt and Road Initiative will help with economic development in countries along the route and eradicate the roots of terrorism and extremism."

Open for visit 

Xinjiang has invited foreign diplomats to visit the region, an official from the local Xinjiang government told the Global Times. He asked not to be named.

Xinjiang always welcomes more people who are willing to see the truth about the region, he said.

 He noted that a group of foreign media is scheduled to visit Xinjiang this week, he noted.

Li Song, charge d'affaires of the permanent mission of China to the UN at Geneva, said Saturday China welcomes people who hold an objective and fair attitude to visit the beautiful, abundant, true, friendly and developing Xinjiang, at the closing ceremony of the 41st UN Human Rights Council. 

Li Song also reiterated that the Chinese government and its people have the right to speak on China's Xinjiang policies. 

Groundless slandering and accusations could not diminish China's great achievements in the field of human rights, in anti-terrorism and de-radicalization work or improving the life of residents, Li Song said.

Zhang said that "anti-China" has become one of the main diplomatic approaches of some Western countries and if it was not China's Xinjiang policies, they would find other issues with which to attack China.

"The letter of the 37 countries also shows that these countries hope the UN Human Rights Council can make an objective and neutral judgment on China's Xinjiang policies without being influenced by some Western countries," Zhang said.

Newspaper headline: Xinjiang policy wins support


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