An online briefing on the development of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, titled Better Life for All, is hosted from regional capital Urumqi on February 22 (XINHUA)
Many foreign public figures like Dogu Perincek from Turkey and Kawa Mahmoud from Iraq have been regular visitors to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, and have seen the changes in the once impoverished area over the years. When an online international meeting was held on February 22, where local officials gave a briefing on the socioeconomic developments, they were among the representatives from more than 80 countries and regions who shared their views and experiences.
The meeting coincided with the high-level segment of the 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, where British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab attacked China on issues related to Xinjiang.
Some of the 300 overseas participants to the online briefing expressed concern over the recent spate of distorted media coverage of Xinjiang, which they said was following the lead of the U.S. Government and press. All of them commended the development policies that have improved living standards, healthcare and education in the region, especially for women.
The following are edited excerpts from what some of them said at the event:
Seeing is believing
Zarko Obradovic, Deputy President of the Socialist Party of Serbia
The fact that 99 percent of people in Xinjiang are covered by health insurance speaks volumes about what China does in this part of its territory.
I mention this because these are solid data. They have all contributed to the improvement of the living standards of Xinjiang's residents and calmed down the atmosphere in Xinjiang. Violent activities have become a thing of the past.
It is evident that such a situation isn't favorable for some Western power circles, because if China is stable, it improves its development potentials on the domestic and international scale. They are trying to keep the [Xinjiang] issue alive in order to be able to criticize China and depict it in a negative light.
However, all of the data, what China has been doing in Xinjiang, is completely opposite [to Western allegations]. [The government] is working on the development of Xinjiang and other parts of China, conducting a policy defined by the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The critics of China are not interested in facts; for them, it's only important that there is criticism. The improvement in the position of people, economic development, social care and healthcare, decrease in poverty, construction of many roads… are not what the critics are interested in because they don't care what is going on and what people can see with their own eyes.
Dogu Perincek, Chairman of the Patriotic Party of Turkey, is interviewed on the sidelines of the online briefing (XINHUA)
Dogu Perincek, Chairman of the Patriotic Party of Turkey
Terrorism invented under the guise of religion not only endangered China, but the Middle East [and beyond]. China's anti-terrorist achievements have brought great hope to Turkey.
Worldwide, terrorist organizations are tending to merge with support from imperialist countries in the West. Many of them [sprouted from] seeds spread by the United States in an unofficial way.
Xinjiang people's living conditions are improving as [they acquire] vocational and linguistic skills as well as knowledge of law and rules. Therefore, the so-called "forced labor" and "genocide" are just imperialistic conspiracy. Turkey respects China's measures and stands with the Chinese people.
The Belt and Road factor
Kawa Mahmoud, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Kurdistan Communist Party, Iraq
China's anti-terrorism measures have extended to a broader scope including education, health and women's rights. I have been to Xinjiang many times. I have seen Xinjiang's progress myself when I was there, which has paved a solid way for cutting down terrorism.
Besides, the Belt and Road Initiative has proved effective in the global joint work of cracking down on terrorism by creating more jobs in the participating countries, since economic progress is the foundation of getting people deradicalized.
One of the core concepts of the CPC is that all the ethnic groups in the country belong to one community with a shared future, which is an inspiring idea. I find that the Chinese from different ethnic groups are really getting along with a common goal of self-improvement. They are equal, united and always ready to help under the country's ethnicity policies.
As far as I know, when promoting government officials, the policies don't discriminate against the ethnic minorities; instead, those from the ethnic minorities enjoy a priority, particularly in those autonomous regions with a large proportion of ethnic minorities. This leads to balanced and sustainable development.
An enlightened policy
Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain
Problems of unrest, of dissatisfaction can all create the conditions in which extreme ideas can grow. It's essential to do something [to address the] underlying economic, social, cultural, and religious questions that can sometimes create a fertile ground for terrorism, division and ethnic and religious conflict.
A vital part of the successful efforts to combat terrorism in Xinjiang has been the way in which the Chinese Government and the [local] authorities directly address the problems of poor communication, lower level of economic development, poor social conditions and bad housing.
People will be attracted to extreme ideas and ideologies and sometimes to violence when they lose hope, when they feel that there are no alternatives. Out of desperation they will turn to ideas that propose extreme remedies.
The investment into Xinjiang is to modernize it and to give people a better life, better education and health services. All of these things help to eliminate the conditions in which extremist ideas can thrive.
The central and local authorities are genuinely acting in the interests of the people. China's policies are very positive and constructive though they may not seem perfect in other parts of the world.
The country has pursued a very enlightened policy that has enabled the ethnic minorities to grow. That is a spectacular success.
(Reporting from Urumqi)
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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