(By Chinese Ambassador to Liberia H.E.Ren Yisheng)
For a period of time, some Western countries have crazily fabricated lies of the century on Xinjiang-related issues, slandering and attacking China with no bottom line. A few days ago, at the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the West once again gathered some countries to attack China over Xinjiang and other so-called human rights issues. Recently, the US has also put into effect the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to maliciously suppress Xinjiang’s cotton, tomato, solar photovoltaic and other advantageous industries.
Why does the West hysterically suppress Xinjiang? Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating pointed out explicitly: “China’s rise is simply not in the American playbook – its very existence and at this scale is an affront to America’s notion of itself as the exceptional state, the proselytiser of divine providence. Its great problem is that it is now a state as large as the United States, and with the potential of being much larger – an unforgivable sin for American triumphalists.” In short, the US cannot accept that China may one day overtake it.
The so-called Xinjiang issue is entirely a strategic conspiracy of the US to disrupt China from the inside. Back in 2018, former senior US official Lawrence Wilkerson was quite frank about it when he said the US “would want to destabilize China” and “the best way to do so” would be to “foment unrest and to join with those Uyghurs in pushing the Han Chinese in Beijing from internal places rather than external”. Sheila Carey, Consul and Head of the Economic / Political Section of the US Consulate General in Guangzhou told guests at a cocktail reception in 2021 that the US government hopes US businesses “could understand” that the government is “very clear that nothing is wrong about Xinjiang, but to hype forced labor, genocide and to attack their human rights policies through the Xinjiang issue are an effective means to … fight against the Chinese government” and ultimately “get the Chinese government bogged down”.
Xinjiang cotton accounts for about one-fifth of world cotton production. Xinjiang is also the world’s most important production base for polysilicon, the basic material for the photovoltaic industry, and its solar-grade polysilicon accounts for about 45% of global production. The US deliberately fabricates and spreads lies about “forced labor” in Xinjiang, under the guise of “protecting human rights”, just to suppress the competitive advantages of Xinjiang’s industries, exclude China from the global supply chain and industrial chain, and curb China’s development.
There is a Chinese idiom called “The thief shouts to catch the thief”. The number of American Indians plummeted from 5 million in 1492 to 250,000 in the early 20th century, while over the past 60 years and more, the Uyghur population has increased from 2.2 million to about 12 million, and their average life expectancy has grown from 30 to 75 years. Since 2001, the US has used military force in about 80 countries around the world in the name of “anti-terrorism”, killing more than 900,000 people, including 300,000 civilians, and leaving tens of millions of Muslims homeless. Domestically, the mainstream American society is increasingly fearful, discriminated against, and oppressed against Muslims and Islam. Bloomberg reported that in the 20 years after the “9.11” incident, discrimination against Muslims in the US has been on the rise. The whole world knows whether the US really cares about Muslims. In addition, racial discrimination is still a “cancer” that penetrates deep into the American social fabric. According to a study by the University of Washington, between 1980 and 2018, about 30,800 people died in the US due to police violence, of which African-American victims were 3.5 times as many as the whites.
The so-called US’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act engages in presumption of guilt which runs counter to the basic legal principle of presumption of innocence. The fact is that large-scale mechanized and industrialized production has become the norm in Xinjiang. In cotton production for example, more than 98 percent of seed-sowing is done through comprehensive mechanized methods in most areas. The mechanized picking rate is also over 80%. Is the West indicating that mechanical labor is also a type of forced labor?
The recent visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Xinjiang has further exposed the true face of the West’s political manipulation through human rights issues. They first openly pressured the High Commissioner to visit China and conduct a so-called “investigation” in Xinjiang. After China and the High Commissioner’s Office confirmed the arrangement of her visit to China, they jumped out to interfere and tried to obstruct the High Commissioner’s visit to China. After the High Commissioner’s visit, they were extremely dissatisfied and attacked her. This political farce is self-contradictory and self-defeating.
Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. According to figures available, between 1990 and the end of 2016, there were several thousand incidents of violent and terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers, and causing immeasurable property damage. In response to such real threats, Xinjiang has acted resolutely to fight terrorism and extremism in accordance with law. At the same time, a series of supporting measures have been taken, like improving people’s livelihoods, raising public awareness about law, and offering help through vocational education and training centers. The trend of frequent terrorist activities has thus been effectively curbed. There has been no violent act of terrorism in Xinjiang for five consecutive years and more. The safety and security of people of all ethnic groups have been effectively protected.
Today Xinjiang has enjoyed security, social stability and good development. Between 2014 and 2019, GDP in Xinjiang has an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent, while per capita disposable income grew by an average annual rate of 9.1 percent. All 3.09 million impoverished people by current standards have been lifted out of poverty, making absolute poverty a thing of the past in Xinjiang. All ethnic groups, regardless of their populations, have equal legal status and enjoy freedom of religious belief and various rights in accordance with law, including participating in the management of state affairs, receiving education, using their own languages, and preserving their traditional culture. In recent years, over 2,000 people from more than 100 countries, including experts, scholars, journalists, diplomats and religious figures, have visited Xinjiang, witnessing the social security and stability of Xinjiang, and the people living and working in peace and contentment.
Justice always prevails. At the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council, nearly 100 countries expressed their understanding and support for China’s legitimate position in different ways, opposing the politicization of human rights issues and the use of human rights as an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs. This fully shows that the use of human rights issues to engage in political manipulation is unpopular and will never succeed.
China will continue to follow a development path that suits its own and national conditions, and work with the international community to promote the healthy development of the cause of human rights. The firm pace of the Chinese people’s development and progress is unstoppable, and China’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unswerving.