|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Virtual Side Event "Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land"|
Your Excellency, Chairman Shawkat Imin,
Dear Friends from Xinjiang
Colleagues and Friends,
Good morning! Welcome to today's event.
Xinjiang is a wonderful land. This well-known saying in China speaks volumes for Xinjiang's scenic beauty and natural endowment, as well as the harmony between different ethnic groups.
Xinjiang has been part of China's territory since as early as 60 B.C. Over the past 2,000 years, Xinjiang has been a hub for cultural and personnel exchanges between the East and the West. The ancient Silk Road and today's Belt and Road Initiative have connected the region with the rest of the world.
It is heartbreaking that since the 1990s, especially after 9/11, the emboldened terrorists, separatists and religious extremists have plotted and carried out thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, causing mass casualty of innocent civilians. To protect local people and ensure social stability, Xinjiang has taken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in accordance with law. There has not been a single terrorist attack there over the past 4 years. The region enjoys social stability and growing economy. People of all ethnic groups enjoy better lives with their human rights better protected.
It should be pointed out that the counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures have the full understanding and support from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. The measures comply with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, and draw from western countries' practices. They are totally legal and legitimate.
It is disappointing that a few western countries chose to turn a blind eye when people in Xinjiang suffered from terrorist attacks, yet keep fabricating lies when Xinjiang's development has entered the best period in history. Everybody knows that they hype up the Xinjiang question and apply double standards, because they desperately want to smear Xinjiang, undermine the local industries and make trouble for China's development.
They fabricated the lie of the century about genocide. The fact is, over the past four decades, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has increased from 5.55 million to 11.6 million, while the average life expectancy has increased from 30 years six decades ago to 72 years today. People are having a better life and enjoying a more secure and stable society. What kind of genocide is that?
They made up the disinformation of forced labor. The fact is, in Xinjiang, 70% of cotton is harvested by machine. Cotton-picking jobs are scarce, well-paid and highly competitive among workers of all ethnic groups. Why is the need for forced labor?
They also cooked up the so-called systematic human rights violations. The fact is, in Xinjiang, the remaining 3 million poor rural population has all been lifted out of poverty. There are more than 24,000 mosques in the region. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinjiang, with a population of more than 25 million, has 980 confirmed cases in total, among which 977 recovered and only 3 died. We put people and their lives front and center. Where are the systematic human rights violations they are talking about?
Xinjiang is indeed a wonderful land. Facts and truths on Xinjiang are there for everyone to see. More than 1,000 diplomats, journalists and religious figures from over 100 countries have visited Xinjiang upon invitation. They are all very much impressed by what they have seen. Today, let's hear the real voice from Xinjiang, see the real scenes from Xinjiang, and get to know a real Xinjiang.
The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome friends around the world to visit Xinjiang after the pandemic, to see with your own eyes a beautiful and thriving Xinjiang, and the secure and happy life of the local people.
I wish to thank Xinjiang for co-hosting this event.