Xinjiang policies justified
Living standards rising in Xinjiang: official
Published: Aug 13, 2018 11:13 PM

Chinese government's ethnic and religious policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have given priority to anti-secession and counter-terrorism so as to maintain stable development, and Western media should see the situation themselves before accusing China, Chinese experts said on Monday.

Gay McDougall, a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said Uyghurs and Muslim minorities were forced into "political camps for indoctrination" in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, BBC reported on Friday.

Chinese experts said on Monday that previous terrorist activities in Xinjiang cost too much and anti-secession and counter-terrorism efforts in ethnic minority regions, especially in Xinjiang, have enhanced the security and eliminated terror threats in the region.

Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies expert and professor at Tibet University in Lhasa, said that "anti-secession and counter-terrorism efforts should and have to be a priority in Xinjiang and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Social development will suffer if the three evil forces - terrorism, separatism and extremism—prevail in these regions."

"Every country has its own situation. Local governments in China's Xinjiang and Tibet regions have implemented policies which fit their situations and have helped promote rapid social development," Xiong told the Global Times on Monday.

The State Council Information Office released a white paper on June 1, 2017 titled "Human Rights in Xinjiang - Development and Progress," which states that Xinjiang has taken a series of measures designed to strike against terrorism. These measures include the promulgation and implementation of the Measures of Xinjiang on Enforcing the Counter-Terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China, the white paper read.

Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that Xinjiang should take measures to fight crime and terrorism based on the conditions.

Aside from counter-terrorism, Xiong said that local governments in ethnic minority regions attach great importance to poverty alleviation, which could help eliminate extremism and strengthen counter-terrorism efforts.

"Civil servants in Xinjiang have been sent to remote villages to promote the targeted poverty alleviation work, which also improves their ties with local ethnic residents," Xiong said.

More than 600,000 people in Xinjiang were lifted out of poverty in 2016. The central government and Xinjiang's regional government set a 14.1 billion yuan poverty alleviation fund and allocated 1.6 billion yuan to relocate residents of poverty-stricken areas, Xinjiang Daily reported in March 2017.

Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Xinjiang, said in an interview with the People's Daily in February 2018 that Xinjiang has also been promoting economic development and improving people's living standards.

In 2017, urban residents in Xinjiang earned an average of 30,775 yuan ($4,473) a year, while rural residents earned 11,045 yuan, or an increase of 7.8 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year, Chen said.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the average income of Chinese urban residents in 2017 was 36,396 yuan. Xinjiang has not been left far behind, and is getting close to it.

Importance of stability

Pang Xiangyang, an official at the Yining publicity department in Xinjiang, told the Global Times on Monday, "As a public servant working at the grass-roots level, I have witnessed the rapid economic development of Xinjiang and its ethnic unity."

Pang said that Yining residents enjoy the same convenient online shopping as other regions in China, and students from different ethnic groups study in the same schools, with their habits being respected. Residents have a sense of security and enjoy a peaceful life."

Officials from different ethnic groups have worked with residents to protect Xinjiang's stability, and residents are aware that social development depends on stability. Residents are now taking an active part in maintaining the social order, and are optimistic about Xinjiang's future, Pang told the Global Times on Monday.

A Xinjiang resident who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Monday that "people should go to Xinjiang to see what is happening. Otherwise, they may get the wrong information and make unfounded conclusions. I think the accusations were made by those who have never been to Xinjiang."

For the sake of the majority's security and social stability, Xinjiang residents understand and surpport the governments' counter-terrorism measures, and the region's security has improved, he told the Global Times.