Western reports on Xinjiang intended to isolate China: advisor

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/16 23:08:41

Pakistani senior advisor condemns disinformation that twists facts

Nearly 10,000 residents dance in local Dolan Maxrap folk style in Awat county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Oct 9, 2018. Photo:Xinhua

A senior Pakistani advisor to the Boao Forum for Asia noticed some groundless and biased reports by Western media on Xinjiang and he felt very unconformable, because he was concerned the reports that didn't tell the facts of Xinjiang will cause a misunderstanding between China and Islamic countries.

"I want to let more people know the true situation in Xinjiang and Islam in China, which has been twisted by some Western countries," Zafaruddin Mahmood, policy advisor to the Secretary-General of the forum, who first visited China in 1976 as a student, told the Global Times at an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Mahmood, a Pakistani Muslim, also served as commercial counselor at the Pakistani Embassy to China from 1998 to 2002 and has been to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region more than 20 times in 40 years. 

Some Western media fabricated lies definitely intended to drive a wedge between China and Islamic countries, given that the current relationship between China and the countries is pretty good, Mahmood said, noting that the Western narrative of the "persecution of Uygur Muslims" could not hold water. 

Some people including so-called religious leaders spread rumors in Islamic countries saying that their fellow believers were tortured in Xinjiang and inciting them to donate money, Mahmood said.

He told the Global Times on Wednesday that some Western countries such as the US use religion to achieve political purposes. 

To better inform the public of the real situation of residents' life in Xinjiang, Mahmood shared what he has seen and experienced in Xinjiang.

During his visits to the region, particularly to places that boast a rich Islamic culture and heritage, Mahmood said he found the Muslims and other residents were treated "very well" by the government and their life was getting "better and better."

Economic development, infrastructure construction, universal education and health care are all "greatly improved in the region," he said. 

"Not only the region's urban appearance, but also what the residents wear can reflect the better-developing region's situation." 

Mahmood called on journalists and other people overseas to observe what happens in the region on site, rather than "taking hearsay." 

Mahmood also commented on Xinjiang's alleged "forced labor," saying that the Western reports maliciously attacked China's poverty alleviation work in the region and smeared local government efforts to promote employment.

VOA Chinese released a report in October last year alleging that clothing made by "forced labor" in Xinjiang was likely being sold in the US. 

Global Times reporters visited shoemaking plants and apparel, yarn and textile factories in Aksu, Hotan and Kashi and learned from employees that their average monthly minimum wage was between 2,500 to 3,500 yuan plus performance bonuses.

"I didn't see any countries except China pay such great attention to poverty reduction," Mahmood said. People must learn some skills to earn their living, and some went to the local vocational schools to learn haircutting, cooking and other basic skills, he noted.

Decisive progress has been made in 2019 in the fight against poverty in Xinjiang where 645,000 people shook off extreme poverty and the extreme poverty rate dropped from 6.1 percent to 1.2 percent, according to the government. 

Over the past year, the Xinjiang government has allocated 37.567 billion yuan ($5.40 billion) to poverty alleviation projects, such as providing safe drinking water for 346,000 poverty-stricken people and safe housing for 9,355 impoverished households.

Newspaper headline: Western reports intended to isolate China


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