By Liu Xin in Urumqi Source: Global Times
Published: 2019/7/26 20:06:03
It’s time Xinjiang people’s own voice is heard by outside world: expert
Government officials, scholars and religion experts from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region defended the country’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization policies in the region against groundless accusations from the US and other Western countries.
China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) released a white paper on Sunday to clarify major historical matters on Xinjiang, like it has never been “East Turkistan” and the Uyghurs are not descendants of the Turks.
In response to US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s recent criticism of China’s policies in Xinjiang, close to 100 scholars and religious experts released a joint letter on July 19 to express their discontent.
Two experts who signed the letter spoke with the Global Times, sharing stories behind the public letter and their opinions on the latest white paper.
Wanting to be heard
Yeerkexi Kuerbanbaike, vice president of the Xinjiang Writers Association, said she learned of Pompeo’s accusations from the news and her first reaction was, “Why did a country’s senior official make such groundless and irresponsible remarks on China’s regional situation and policies in Xinjiang?”
“China is the home of all ethnic groups living here. We have the ability to solve problems that happen within our family, and we are doing quite well on this,” Yeerkexi told the Global Times on Thursday.
“Why would anyone eavesdrop on others and spread rumors and criticism based on guesswork? It’s like the sound of scratching glass with nails, which is deplorable,” she said.
Anger and disappointment with Pompeo inspired a few scholars to pen the letter, and many others echoed their feelings and joined them in the letter’s composition.
“We felt it is time to make our voice heard by the outside world. For foreigners who have never been to Xinjiang, the information about this place has mostly come from the media. However, false stories from Western media and their hysteria over the policies will demonize Xinjiang,” Yeerkexi said.
“We don’t want our home, a place of rich culture and with people from different ethnic groups who live in harmony, to be known or remembered by the outside world that way,” she added.
This is not the first time Xinjiang scholars have written an open letter. After the riots in Urumqi in 2009, they wrote several letters condemning the terrorists.
More than 200 writers and poets of the Uyghur ethnic group released a letter on June 25, 2014 calling for unity and a fight against terrorism and extremism, chinanews.com reported.
Five terrorists drove two cars into a crowd and detonated a bomb in Urumqi, killing 39 and injuring 94 on May 22, 2014. A few weeks earlier, terrorists carried out a suicide attack at a railway station, killing three and injuring 79, according to a white paper released by the SCIO in March.
Abudurekefu Tumuniyazi, head of the Xinjiang Islamic Association and the Xinjiang Islam Institution, was the first religion expert to sign the letter.
“I am also angry with Pompeo’s remarks. China has repeatedly explained its policies on religious protection, ethnic groups, and the development of Xinjiang on many occasions, and foreign diplomats and media have been invited to Xinjiang. What Pompeo and other US politicians have done neglects the truth and is nonsense,” said Abudurekefu.
In January, Abudurekefu sent a letter to the US Ambassador to China, expressing his opposition toward the false accusations about the Xinjiang policies.
He also sent the letter to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during their representatives’ trip to the region.
“I wanted them to know the US was talking nonsense and what the OIC saw in Xinjiang was the truth,” he told the Global Times.
In response to rumors that they signed the open letter under political pressure, Yeerkexi and Abudurekefu said that was nonsense and slanderous.
“Many scholars reached out to me after the letter was released and offered advice on how to perfect it. They also expressed their willingness to sign it,” Yeerkexi said.
Responding to concerns
Yeerkexi said that while writing the letter, a few scholars insisted on mentioning the vocational training and education centers as Western media have distorted such issues.
The training centers play an essential role in Xinjiang’s de-radicalization efforts.
“The training centers offer people who have been influenced by extremism a platform to learn national laws, standard Chinese, and some vocational skills, so they can understand their responsibilities within society and not be influenced by terrorists,” Yeerkexi told the Global Times.
When discussing extremism, Yeerkexi recalled when she worked in Maigaiti county, and saw how it affected young people and children.
Three children were not allowed to attend school by their parents influenced by extremism. It was not because the government didn’t provide educational opportunities; it was because of extremism.
“After recent de-radicalization efforts, children are enjoying their right to education. They are learning various subjects, and their eyes are glowing,” Yeerkexi said.
“Look what the US did after 9/11 against terrorism. When it comes to China implementing counter-terrorism and de-radicalization methods, why does the US criticize China for similar purposes? Isn’t this a double standard?” Abudurekefu asked.
Not for human rights
In response to Western media accusations over human rights violations, Abudurekefu said, “What is human rights protection? Isn’t it protecting human rights to ensure people live a happy life in a stable and safe environment? Isn’t it protecting human rights to let people enjoy religious freedom?”
“Does protecting human rights include doing what Western countries tell us to do? For some Western countries and media, they say human rights not out of real care but out of some political purpose, which is to contain China,” he said.
Abudurekefu met with reporters from the UK at the Islamic Institute in Urumqi in May. He invited the reporters to watch a student prayer meeting.
The reporters declined and said they had a flight to catch. Ten minutes later they returned because, and as they explained, someone had forgotten a notebook. Instead of searching for the missing notebook, they started taking videos of the praying students.
“Eventually, they said they were going to leave. After noticing my insistence in helping them find their missing notebook, a reporter took a notebook from their car and said he had found it,” Abudurekefu recalled, noting how some Western media still remained biased even after witnessing the real situation in Xinjiang.
“Will some Western media and countries think Xinjiang is ‘normal’ when violent attacks happen in the region now and then, and parents worry about the security of their children at work or school every day?” Yeerkexi asked.
“I hope more people read our letter and hear from those who are living in Xinjiang. I welcome everyone to Xinjiang to see what is happening here. They would gain a new perspective on the policies,” Yeerkexi said.
Recently, 37 countries sent a joint letter to the UN Human Rights Council in support of China’s Xinjiang policies, in response to 22 Western countries that had sent a joint letter criticizing China on this issue.
“Many of the 37 countries are Muslim majority countries. Their support for China reveals that they know the country’s de-radicalization efforts are to help differentiate extremism from religion and to protect the religious rights of believers,” Abudurekefu said. .
A true Xinjiang
Alwardawy, a journalist from Egyptian media Algoumhuria Newspaper, who just finished a trip to Xinjiang, told the Global Times that the letter from the scholars and religious personnel is the true voice of people who live in Xinjiang and have a sense of the justice there. The voice comes from people who cannot tolerate lies, and it should receive support from the international community.
The reporter also said that what he saw in Xinjiang fits the descriptions in China’s newly released white paper – people of different ethnic groups living in harmony, the security situation in the region is maintained well, the cultures of ethnic groups have been protected and mosques can be seen in many places.
He said he has witnessed the white paper’s image of Xinjiang.
Gerhard from Germany works at a motor company and has traveled to the company’s branch in Xinjiang several times. He said that he has seen the economic development and improvement of people’s lives there in recent years.
Some politicians in Western countries and anti-China groups have intentionally distorted what is happening in Xinjiang. The newly released white paper can give a full picture to foreigners of a true Xinjiang and the policies in the region.
Source: Global Times “Xinjiang letter signatories blast West’s bias”
Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Source:Tianshannet Published: 2019/7/19 23:11:02
Nearly 100 Xinjiang scholars and representatives from religious groups in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region released a signed letter on Friday to express their anger over US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent criticism of China’s policies in the region.
People who signed the letter include writers, professors and representatives of religious groups. Among them was Abudurekfu Tumunyzi, head of the Xinjiang Islamic Association.
They signed the letter in standard Chinese and the language of their ethnic groups.
Mr. Mike Pompeo,
Recently, we have noted that you have made a number of remarks about China, including false accusations against the ethnic, religious and human rights situations in Xinjiang. As scholars and religious personnel in Xinjiang, we deeply deplore your irresponsible and erroneous remarks.
For a period of time in the past, the rampant spread of extremism and frequent outbreak of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang had caused severe damages to the safety and property of people of all ethnic groups there. At the time, just like what happened after the 911 terrorist attacks in 2001 in Manhattan, New York, people in Xinjiang were living in stress and terror everyday. In response to the strong calls of people of all ethnic groups for combating violent terrorist crimes, Xinjiang has combined crackdown on terrorism with preventive measures. Vigorous efforts have been made to fight violent terrorist crimes in accordance with the law. At the same time, to address the problem at its source, vocational education and training centers have been established in accordance with the law to educate and rehabilitate law-breakers and those who have committed minor crimes, so as to eliminate the influence of terrorism and extremism on them and nip terrorist activities in the bud. Now, Xinjiang enjoys social stability. No violent terrorist attacks have occurred in the past three years, and people have a much greater sense of security, fulfillment and happiness. In 2018 alone, the number of tourists to Xinjiang exceeded 150 million, among which 2.4 million were inbound tourists. Tourists from home and abroad speak highly of Xinjiang’s economic and social achievements, saying that Xinjiang is not only beautiful but also safe and secure.
Your claim that the persecution camps in Xinjiang detain more than one million Muslim minorities is incomprehensible. We have made multiple visits to several centers. We saw with our own eyes the trainees learning the country’s common language and legal knowledge and taking various vocational training courses on skills such as clothes processing, food processing and hairdressing in bright and spacious teaching building. Besides, they are served with rich dishes in clean and tidy canteens, living in dormitory quarters equipped with TV, air conditioning and shower facilities, and enjoying colorful cultural lives on the sport courts or in the libraries. The trainees can have home visits each week and also can ask for leave to attend to private affairs. Their personal freedom is fully guaranteed. Many of them are now aware of the true nature and harm of the extremist religious thoughts. They hate the atrocities committed by the “three forces”, appreciate the education and redemption measures taken by the Party and government and feel fortunate for not falling victim to the violent terrorist activities. Many of them have found suitable jobs, putting the vocational skills they acquired in the training centers into good use. They get paid and can provide a good life for their family.
You said that Xinjiang is butchering systematically the Uyghur culture, but where is your evidence? The constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that the state protects the lawful rights and interests of every ethnic group, and helps ethnic minority regions achieve a faster pace of economic and cultural development. Xinjiang has put a lot of efforts into the protection, inheritance and promotion of each ethnic minority’s culture. Courses on ethnic minority languages are provided by all the schools under the compulsory education system. Roza and Qurban are designated as statutory festivals, and Meshrep, Twelve Muqams, and Qumuz Sing & Instrumental play have been widely disseminated. Xinjiang Radio and Television Station broadcasts in five languages, namely Mandarin, Uyghur, Kazak, Qirghiz and Mongolian, Xinjiang Daily is published in four languages of Mandarin, Uyghur, Kazak and Mongolian, and the numbers of newspapers and journals published in ethnic minority languages across Xinjiang have reached 51 and 116 respectively. The ever increasing cultural needs of people of all ethnic groups have been met.
Your claims that Xinjiang is terminating Islamic beliefs and that Chinese government severely persecutes believers of various religions are not based on facts at all. It is a longstanding basic policy of the Chinese government to respect and protect the freedom of religious belief. Xinjiang has never associated the crackdown on terrorism and extremism with any specific ethnic group or religion. The local government of Xinjiang protects the normal religious activities and fulfills the reasonable religious demands of believers in accordance with the law. In Xinjiang, there are 24,400 mosques and 29,000 religious clerics. There are 10 religious colleges including the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, enrolling more than 1,300 students annually. In Xinjiang, for every 530 Muslims there is one mosque, a figure that exceeds many Muslim countries. In recent years, the local government in Xinjiang has greatly improved the basic conditions of the mosques, which now come with water, electricity, access to roads, natural gas, telecommunications, radio, television, library and pre-worship cleansing facilities. Those efforts have been praised by religious personnel and Muslims.
Your claim that China has stepped up mass surveillance in Xinjiang is even more absurd. Installing surveillance facilities in public areas is a common practice adopted by countries around the world to maintain public security. In the US, surveillance cameras are installed in both big and small cities, and in its 20 big airports, travelers are even asked to pass through facial recognition scanners. So why are the surveillance devices in Xinjiang regarded as “surveillance”? This is utterly double standards!
We urge the US to view the ethnic, religious and human rights situations in Xinjiang in an unbiased and objective way, immediately stop fabricating lies and slanders about Xinjiang, and immediately stop using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
Source: Global Times “ Nearly 100 scholars, religious leaders in Xinjiang refute Pompeo with joint letter”
Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
11 Jul 2019 07:21PM
GENEVA: China said on Thursday (Jul 11) its treatment of ethnic Muslims in “happy” and “secure” Xinjiang region was a model for other nations to follow despite a bombardment of Western criticism.
Nearly two dozen nations at the UN Human Rights Council this week urged China to halt persecution of ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, where UN experts and activists say at least 1 million are held in detention centres.
Chinese diplomat Jiang Duan told the council on Thursday a few hypocritical Western nations were distorting facts to smear Beijing over what it describes as vocational training centres in Xinjiang intended to combat extremism and provide new skills.
“Actually the experience in Xinjiang in this field can be introduced to other countries,” Jiang added, saying the centres help reintegrate people indoctrinated by radicalism.
“Now the situation in Xinjiang is stable, and the people are united, and their rights are fully respected … During the past three years, there has not been a single incident of a terrorist attack, and people in Xinjiang feel much better and much more happy and secure.”
Xinjiang, three times the size of France, is a largely desert region in China’s northwest.
Hundreds of people have been killed there in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur south of Xinjiang.
China has blamed the violence on Islamist extremists and separatists, while Uighur exiles and activists point to frustration at Chinese controls on their culture and religion.
The letter criticising China was signed by the ambassadors of 22 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Switzerland, but not the United States which quit the UN body a year ago.
They urged China to allow international independent experts, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, proper access to Xinjiang.
Bachelet, a former president of Chile, has pushed China to grant the United Nations access to investigate reports of disappearances and arbitrary detentions, particularly of Muslims in Xinjiang.
China’s representative said international organisations and media who visited Xinjiang had found the situation was different from its portrayal in the West, and that officials from countries behind the letter declined an invitation to visit.
He accused Western nations of failing to show concern when Xinjiang suffered terrorist attacks, then making irresponsible assessments after the population’s lives had improved.
“Those allegations by a small group of Western countries and NGOs cannot do away with the tremendous achievements that were made against terrorism and radicalisation and cannot change the fact that Xinjiang people are leading a happy life,” he said.
Source: “Follow our model for ‘happy’ Xinjiang, China tells West”
Note: This is channelnewsasia.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.