Pacific Dialogue
Xinjiang: Truths, Lies and Real Human Rights
By Li Fangfang  ·  2019-12-24  ·   Source:

The U.S House of Representatives passed the so-called Uygur act in early December, which threatens to impose sanctions on Chinese officials. Ironically, the bill, which attacks China's anti-terrorism measures, was passed by the Senate on September 11.

For people in the U.S., that date in 2001 was the day terrorism became real for them. But for people in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it started much earlier. The region suffered thousands of terrorist incidents from 1990 to 2016. On July 5,2009, 197 people died and more than 1,700 people were injured in a brutal attack by terrorists in Xinjiang.

After 9/11, the U.S. Government carried out many military actions in foreign countries which many criticized for violating human rights. Now, U.S. politicians are pointing fingers at China's anti-terrorism policies when China is addressing terrorism with peaceful means like improving education and providing vocational training. Thanks to effective counterterrorism measures including de-radicalization, there have been no terrorist incidents in the region for the past three years.

The bill, yet to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, claims that China has a long history of repressing Uygurs in Xinjiang, without presenting any evidence.

Here are some facts.

Among more than 20 million people in Xinjiang, about 60 percent are ethnic minorities, including Uygur and another 53 groups. There are over 61,000 delegates from Xinjiang representing it at various levels at the People's Congress; about 70 percent of these delegates are from ethnic minorities. Also, more than 40 percent of Xinjiang's civil servants are ethnic minorities.

In the past five years, more than 3 million people in Xinjiang have been lifted out of poverty. Since children from ethnic minorities do not grow up speaking Mandarin Chinese at home, they usually get extra points when they take high school or university entrance exams which are in Mandarin. Children in southern Xinjiang, where most Uygurs live, enjoy free education from kindergarten to high school.

Now, people in Xinjiang can go anywhere at any time without having to worry for their safety. Can the U.S. Government ensure the same safety when gun violence is terrorizing the entire U.S.?

The bill insists there is "ample evidence" provided by NGOs, journalists and think tanks to merit meddling into China's internal affairs. These are the same people who triggered the "color revolutions" across the world that were proved to have no basis and added to global instability and violence.

Using the "human rights" card, U.S. high-level officials invent discourse to criticize their political enemies. Do they realize the double standard in this? Think about how the U.S. Government continues to treat Latin American immigrants on the border with Mexico. Children are torn from their parents and kept in cages. In Iraq, Libya and Syria, people continue to suffer from U.S.-backed invasions or interventions. These, along with the racism and oppression of Native Americans, African Americans and other ethnic minorities in the U.S., are all real proof of human rights violations. 

U.S. officials are conjuring up hypothetical issues to distract the nation from real problems: climate change, poverty and terrorism. By targeting China, they are trying to hide these issues when these are the most real and pressing problems for the people. 

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

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