Ⅰ. Xinjiang’s Achievements in Economic and Social Development Are Significant
In a certain period, Xinjiang was subject to the hazards of terrorism, religious extremism and secessionism. On July 5, 2009, ethnic separatist Rabiye Qadir incited thousands of extremists to carry out large-scale beating, smashing, looting and arson in Urumqi, Xinjiang, causing 197 death and more than 1,700 injuries. According to incomplete statistics, thousands of violent and terrorist attacks occurred between 1990 and 2016, severely damaging people's right to subsistence and development.
Against this background, the Chinese Central government beefed up the rule of law and stepped up lawful actions against the violent terrorist crimes. Enhancing legal awareness and education has been one of the intensified efforts. Such efforts laid a solid foundation for ensuring social stability and long-term security in Xinjiang. There have been no violent terrorist cases and incidents for the last three consecutive years in this region.
Meanwhile, since 2012, the Chinese Central government has further increased its inputs for Xinjiang's economic and social development. The annual transfer payments from the Central government to Xinjiang reach about 400 billion yuan (around 57 billion US dollars). 19 provinces and municipalities in China have also made paired contributions to Xinjiang.
In recent years, Xinjiang's GDP has maintained an annual increase of 8.5% and reached 1.22 trillion yuan (around 174 billion US dollars) in 2018. In the first 10 months of 2019, the region has attracted more than 200 million tourists, generating more than 300 billion yuan of revenue. The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang now live and work in peace and contentment and have a high degree of fulfillment in education, health and employment. Over the past five years, more than 2.3 million people have been lifted out of poverty, with the incidence of poverty reduced to 6.51% from 22.84%.
Ⅱ. China's Policy on Religion and Xinjiang’s Religious Development Should not be Distorted
The Constitution of China stipulates that citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief and that the country protects normal religious activities. All parts of China, including the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, fully implement the policy on freedom of faiths. All citizens, religious or not, equally enjoy political, economic, social and cultural rights. No citizen suffers discrimination or unfair treatment for believing in or not believing in any religion. There are now over 10 million Muslims, 20,000 mosques, 29,000 Islamic clerical personnels, 103 Islamic associations and 10 religious colleges in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
The Xinjiang regional government has taken various measures to ensure successful pilgrimages to Mecca for Muslims. Every year, charter-flights, medical care, interpretation, and other services are provided to the pilgrims. So far, more than 50,000 Muslims in Xinjiang have been able to go on pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.
In order to prevent terrorism and extremism, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region government has set up some vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law and drawing on the experiences of other countries. By teaching standard Chinese language, knowledge of laws and practical skills as well as ways of de-radicalization, these centers go a long way in helping people influenced by violent, terrorist and extremist thoughts to live a normal life. It is a shame that certain people defamed these centers as "detention camps" and negated the vocational education and training work in Xinjiang with a vicious motive to vilify China's ethnic and religious policies and hold back China's development.
Since the end of 2018, China has invited more than 1,000 people in 70 groups from 91 countries to visit Xinjiang. What they saw and heard on the ground was a far cry from the picture painted by some American and Western politicians or media outlets. Many of the trainees in the training centers unshackled themselves of religious extremism, learned practical skills, later on found a job and started a happy life.
Ⅲ. Any Attempts to Destabilize Xinjiang and Contain China Are Doomed to Failure
The so called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019" passed by the U.S. House of Representative not long ago ignores and distorts the true situation in Xinjiang. It turns a blind eye to the social stability and harmony, economic prosperity, decent living conditions and the sound working environment for all ethnic groups residing there. It calls black white and makes farfetched accusations against China. It interferes in China's internal affairs in blatant, rude and gross ways. It severely contravenes international laws and the basic norms governing international relations.
Facts speak louder than words. It is crystally clear that the Xinjiang-related issues are by no means issues of human rights, ethnicity, or religion but issues of anti-terrorism and anti-secessionism. China’s measures adopted in Xinjiang with regard to counter-terrorism and de-radicalization are in nature more or less the same with those practiced in many other countries around the world including the U.S. The U.S., impassive when the lives of people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang were threatened by terrorism, ironically becomes agitated and upset when things calm down. By smearing and attacking the autonomous region, it is bent on undermining the solidarity of various ethnic groups in China and sabotaging Xinjiang's prosperity and stability. Its sole attempt is to contain China's development. It behooves the U.S. to discard its ideological prejudice and stop adopting double standards on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.
No one is in a better position to judge the Xinjiang-related issues than the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Any attempts to destabilize Xinjiang are doomed to failure. The purposeful rumors, insults and falsified accusations will never eclipse the actual progress being made on human rights in Xinjiang, nor will it impede the solidarity of all ethnic groups there. Xinjiang’s prosperity and China’s stability and development can never be derailed.