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Fake news on Xinjiang hurting Western media's credibility

(People's Daily Online)    09:06, February 05, 2021

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. [Photo/ipc.fmprc.gov.cn]

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin refutes Western media reports about Xinjiang while answering questions during a news conference on Thursday.

CCTV: A event themed "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" was jointly held by China's Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland and the Xinjiang regional government via video link on February 3. Could you offer more information on that?

Wang Wenbin: A webinar titled "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land" was jointly held by China's Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva and the government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on February 3 to introduce Xinjiang's socioeconomic development achievements and people's living conditions there to diplomats from more than 50 countries, including nearly 20 ambassadors. The online event also attracted the participation of officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN human rights experts.

At the event, a series of video clips, reflecting Xinjiang's natural scenery, development achievements and people's happy life were played for the audience. Erkin Tuniyaz, vice chairman of the regional government and head of the Xinjiang Islamic Association and the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, and Muhtiram Sherip, the Imam of Yanghang Mosque in Urumqi City further introduced how religious freedom is guaranteed in Xinjiang. Representatives of graduated trainees from former vocational education and training centers appeared at the event and told stories of how they were influenced by extremism and how their lives have been changed after learning skills and graduating from the centers. Popular livestreaming broadcasters, "relatives" of "Family of Ethnic Unity" in which Han officials have paired up with families of Uyghur groups as friends, Uyghur mothers and workers told their personal stories on how Xinjiang has shaken off extreme poverty, developed e-commerce, protected traditional culture, offered free education and maternal and child health-care, and promoted solidarity and unity among people of all ethnic groups.

Russian and Pakistani ambassadors said that Xinjiang's development and people's happy life are really inspiring and helpful for the diplomatic circle in Geneva to get to know the real Xinjiang in an all-round and accurate way. Many diplomatic representatives recalled their visits to Xinjiang and spoke highly of the Chinese government's commitment to promoting sustainable development, safeguarding social order, protecting human rights, improving people's livelihoods. They also expressed firm opposition to politicizing human rights issues and using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.

[Photo/ipc.fmprc.gov.cn]

Bloomberg: The Australian government is calling for the UN to be granted access to Xinjiang. They are looking for immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang. Does the foreign ministry have any comment about this statement from Australia?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, I went back to the readout of the special press conference held by the government of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in Beijing on February 1. At the meeting, a senior official of the Xinjiang government said that Xinjiang is following the right path and everything it does is aboveboard and honest. There is nothing underhand. We welcome people from foreign countries, including relevant officials of the new U.S. government, to visit Xinjiang.

As for the UN's visit to Xinjiang, I can tell you that China has extended invitation long ago to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and we are in communication on this with the UNHCHR. We welcome fair-minded foreigners to visit Xinjiang and learn the real situation there. At the same time, we are firmly opposed to interference in China's internal affairs by any country or individual under the pretext of human rights, and to the hyping-up of the so-called "investigation" in Xinjiang by someone who is already convinced that we are guilty.

 [Photo/ipc.fmprc.gov.cn]

Global Times: The spokesperson of the US State Department said that he is deeply concerned about the report on systematic sexual assault and abuse against women in Xinjiang, and the Chinese government should allow international observers to immediately carry out independent investigations into these appalling charges. We have also noted that the BBC report said that it acquired the latest and detailed testimony pointing to the existence of systematic sexual assault and abuse against women in Xinjiang. Anti-China scholar Adrian Zenz said that the testimony collected by the BBC offers authoritative and ample evidence on these sexual crimes. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, I have already refuted the BBC report and cleared out the situation. Today, I have several more points to add.

First, there is no so-called "re-education camps" in Xinjiang. The vocational and educational training centers set up in Xinjiang in accordance with laws are schools. They are no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK, or the de-radicalization centers in France. They are all active steps to realize preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization goals so as to cut off terrorism and religious extremism at the source. They are in line with the principles and the spirit embodied in a number of international documents on counter-terrorism, such as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. As for more details about the vocational and educational centers, we have talked abundantly about them, and you can also read a white paper titled Vocational Education and Training in Xinjiang published by the State Council Information Office in August 2019.

Second, there is no so-called "systemic sexual abuse and mistreatment against women". China is a country with rule of law. Respecting and protecting human rights is a basic principle of our Constitution, and it's embodied in our legal system and government's work. After the founding of the PRC, we have achieved unprecedented progress in women's liberation and development. Women of all ethnic groups enjoy political rights, rights relating to culture and education, rights of labor and social security, rights relating to property, right of person, and rights relating to marriage and family.

The vocational education and training centers strictly follow the Constitution and law, guarantee the basic rights of trainees, and forbid any insult or abuse on them. At the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's press conference in Beijing on February 1 and the "Xinjiang Is A Wonderful Land" webinar co-held on February 3 by China's permanent mission to the UN Office at Geneva and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, there were female graduates talking about how they got rid of extremist ideologies, learned labor skills and lived a normal life. You may read media reports on it.

Third, regarding Xinjiang's economic and social development, the Chinese side has published eight Xinjiang-related white papers, and the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has held 25 press conferences. More than 1,200 diplomats, journalists and representatives of religious groups from more than 100 countries have visited Xinjiang. In the face of these facts and truths, all the lies and misinformation cooked up by anti-China forces will collapse.

We hope that certain people in the US administration will respect Xinjiang's achievements in stability and development, respect the call of Xinjiang's 2.5 million people of all ethnic groups, respect facts, and act responsibly, instead of being misled by fake news produced by certain media. We firmly oppose any external interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues, and will resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Recently we've seen so many badmouthing misinformation against Xinjiang and China. Several names have repeatedly come up in them, like the BBC.

In a BBC interview with a Uyghur woman named Zumrat Dawut on July 17, 2020, the latter came up with all sorts of testimonies. However, they all turned out to be lies. For example, she claimed to have been detained in a "re-education camp", but the fact is she never studied in any vocational education and training center in Xinjiang. She also claimed she was forced to undergo "forced sterilization" with a hysterectomy, but the fact is when she was giving birth to her third child in the maternity wards of a women and children's hospital in Urumqi in March 2013, she sighed a childbirth consent form voluntarily, requesting "to have a caesarean section and tubal ligation", and then the hospital conducted operation as she required. She was never sterilized, not to mention a hysterectomy. She also claimed that her father was detained and investigated several times by the Xinjiang authorities and died recently from unclear causes. However, the fact is that her father stayed with the family until he died of heart disease on October 12, 2019 and was never detained or investigated. Zumrat Dawut's two elder brothers have offered clarifications on all these.

This woman has become an actor and a tool for anti-China forces' attacks on and hyping up of Xinjiang.

Another familiar name is Adrian Zenz. Adrian Zenz is a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a far right-wing organization established in 1983. He makes a living from fabricating Xinjiang-related rumors and slanders against China. His reports and remarks have been proven to be falsehoods by facts. He fabricated a so-called "Karakax (Moyu) List" where the most frequently cited internment reason was a violation of birth control. In fact, most of the people on the list are local residents of the Moyu county, who have been leading a normal life there. Only a very small number of people who have been affected by religious extremism and committed minor crimes have received vocational education and training in accordance with the law. In his reports, normal police recruitment in Xinjiang is depicted as preparing enforcement personnel for so-called "detention operations"; the "Fanghuiju activity" which is meant to learn people's needs and difficulties by paying visits to households and which is also well-received among all ethnic groups, is described as making preparations for "detention operations"; boarding school and pre-school education which is to fully ensure children's education is imagined as "means to take care of the left-behind children" whose parents were taken away by "detention operations;" and ethnic minorities choosing of their own volition to work outside their villages is portrayed as "forced labor." Such far-fetched, ridiculous fabrications have only revealed that nothing is off-limits for him when he lies to serve his purpose, and his arrogance and unhinged state are fully exposed.

When these facts and truths are out, next time people hear and see reports from BBC and Adrian Zenz on Xinjiang, a question mark will naturally come to their minds-- "Will this be another lie about Xinjiang?"

Full TextForeign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 4, 2021

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(Web editor: Meng Bin, Liang Jun)

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