Senior UN official visits Xinjiang

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/17 0:18:39

US ‘in no position’ to judge China’s anti-terrorism efforts

Foreign journalists interview students at Kashi vocational education and training center in Kash, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, January 13. A media group consisting of people from six countries praised the development and stability of Xinjiang after visiting the region. The Silk Road Celebrity China Tour was held from January 9 to 16 in Xinjiang, with 12 media representatives from Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka visiting locals and a vocational training center. Photo: Xinhua

 China reiterated its support for the UN's coordinating role in global counter-terrorism efforts amid a visit by a senior UN official that lasted from Thursday to Saturday. 

Vladimir Voronkov, under-secretary-general of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, visited Beijing and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region during his stay in China.

He also met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng and Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun.

The two sides had a deep exchange of opinions on the global anti-terrorism situation and on anti-terrorism cooperation between China and the UN, according to a statement released by China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday. They reached a "broad consensus," the statement said.

Via the platforms of the UN, successful counter-terrorism experiences in Xinjiang could be extended to other regions of the world, especially in places where terrorism is still not effectively controlled, said Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing. Terrorism used to be quite rampant in Xinjiang, but the region has seen no major terror attacks during the past three years, which proves the effectiveness of the region's de-extremism efforts, Li noted. 

The visit by a senior UN official is expected to bring a more balanced view of China's counter-terrorism efforts, as the UN stands for diverse values and it is not a clique that only speaks for, or stands for the values of the US or other Western countries, analysts noted. 

Voronkov's visit comes amid criticism from the US, which said the US and other Western countries objected to the visit over the alleged "detention centers" issues, according to a Sunday report from Reuters. 

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan spoke with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday "to convey deep concerns" about Voronkov's trip, said the report.

However, the US is in no position to judge China's counter-terrorism efforts, analysts said.  

The so-called Xinjiang issue, which is depicted as a human rights issue and as one of religious persecution, is actually a fallacy, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

In terms of counterterrorism and security measures, as well as measures to safeguard human rights, China is doing better than the US, where frequent violent incidents, such as shootings, have claimed many lives, Li said.

China does not want its citizens, or citizens from other countries to be the victim of terrorism, while the US is using double standards to judge China's efforts, which only makes such criticism nothing more than a farce, Li told the Global Times.

The Chinese side stressed that terrorism is a challenge facing international society. No single country can manage the issue alone and joint efforts are necessary, said the Foreign Ministry statement. Counter-terrorism does not target any specific country, ethnic group or religion, and should not be subject to double-standards, the statement said.

At the daily press briefing on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China has invited several foreign missions to visit Xinjiang, and that China welcomes all parties to visit Xinjiang on the precondition of abiding by Chinese laws. 

In the past few months, many foreign officials and media delegates have visited farmers, artists and people involved in religious affairs in Xinjiang. "In the meantime, we will never allow anyone to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity with political calculations by using the opportunity of visiting Xinjiang," said Geng. 

Senior diplomats from eight countries to the UN's Geneva office travelled to Xinjiang in February, where they visited traditional musical instrument shops and vocational education and training centers.

The so-called re-education camps do not exist in Xinjiang, Geng said at a daily briefing on June 11. "The vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang, launched in accordance with the law, aim to help those who are eroded by terrorism and extremism to return to the right track, and help them obtain skills to support themselves and reintegrate into society."

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