The U.S. Congress Attempt to Interfere in China’s Internal Affairs Bound to Fail

Along the way, they praised the good environment and training results of the training centers, believing that these centers are providing pioneering work in “de-extremalization,” a recommendable try to eliminate terrorism from its source.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives flagrantly passed the so-called “Uygur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019,” interfering in China’s internal affairs by disregarding the facts. Such hegemonic acts and power logic have aroused great indignation and strong condemnation from the Chinese people of all ethnic groups. As a senior diplomat familiar with Middle East affairs, the act immediately reminded me of that some people in the United States have carried out “street revolutions” in many Middle East countries under the guise of “human rights” and “democracy.” To overthrow the governments they dislike, they do not hesitate to use terrorist organizations to stir up endless wars and turmoil, thus bringing about a series of disasters in some countries, which had been in perfectly good conditions, causing untold suffering to the people and serious humanitarian disasters. It is the United States that has double standards on the fight against terrorism and human rights issues and uses anti-terrorism as a means of implementing geopolitics, resulting in regional turmoil and unrest.

Facts speak louder than words, and lies cannot become truth no matter how they are disguised. I made two visits to Xinjiang in 2019. On one of these visits, I accompanied ambassadors and major officials of 15 countries and delegations of Geneva-based international organizations. We visited Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar, Hotan and other places, went to vocational education and training centers in several places, and had in-depth talks with teachers and students there. Many of the foreign diplomats came from Islamic countries, including the ambassador to the UN Human Rights Committee from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Along the way, they praised the good environment and training results of the training centers, believing that these centers are providing pioneering work in “de-extremalization,” a recommendable try to eliminate terrorism from its source.

Officials of various countries and international organizations stationed in Geneva pose for a group photo with kindergarten kids in Hotan County, Xinjiang.

Xinjiang People’s Sense of Happiness and Security Significantly Improved

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China covers about one-sixth of the country’s total area, and is one of the country’s five ethnic autonomous regions. In the course of its long history, the Xinjiang region has always been a place where all ethnic groups of China mingle, various religions coexist, and people live, work and make progress in harmony. In addition, Xinjiang had also provided the main passage of the ancient Silk Road.  Last year, we visited 109 religious sites in Xinjiang, including Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Shengyou Lamasery in Zhaosu, and the Kizil Thousand-Buddha Caves, which have been designated as major cultural heritage sites under the state or the autonomous-region-level protection. They are symbols of harmonious coexistence and mutual reflection of different cultures and religions. In Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar or Hotan, we all walked into communities and rural residents’ homes, and had cordial talks with local residents.

When shopping in big bazaars, a wide range of goods are available and in the big squares under the setting sun, people of all ethnic groups enjoy themselves by performing local dances. We also visited the Xinjiang key cases of terrorism exhibition in Urumqi. The acts of terrorism in Xinjiang and other parts of China, have in the past been violent and bloody, exacting a heavy price on the people of all ethnic groups. We also visited vocational skills education and training centers in several cities and had in-depth talks with the teachers and students there. From the conversation and eyes of the students, we could see that they were full of hope for the future, making us feel that the training centers have achieved their initial results, which is encouraging. A few years ago, when terrorism was rampant, we also visited Xinjiang. Compared with the depression in society at that time, the social environment in Xinjiang has undergone obvious changes. Positive trends have risen, negative trends have declined, religious extremism has been consciously resisted, a modern lifestyle can be seen in all walks of life, contact and exchanges among all ethnic groups has become closer, and people’s sense of happiness and security have improved significantly. All these aspects left a deep impression on us as observers.

A music class at the vocational education and training center in Kashgar.

The Truth of Education and Training Centers

Xinjiang is rich in natural resources, the people of various ethnic groups there can sing and dance well, the relationship between the people of different ethnic groups has been described as close as pomegranate seeds, and social life has traditionally been very stable and peaceful. However, since the 1990s, violent terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism have increasingly intensified in Xinjiang, under the instigation of domestic and overseas anti-China forces. These “three forces” have carried out destructive activities in Xinjiang and other parts of China, bringing great harm to the social stability of the region and even China, and causing great pain to the people of all ethnic groups, especially those in Xinjiang. They mutilated ordinary people, brutally killed religious figures, brazenly attacked government departments and deliberately created riots. These acts of violent terrorism and religious extremism brought disaster to the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and exposed their essence of anti-humanity, anti-civilization, and anti-society. Foreign guests in our tour said that terrorism is the common enemy of humankind, and violent terrorists and their acts must be severely punished. This belief has been reinforced after we visited the exhibition.

During our visit to the education and training centers in Turpan, Kashgar and Hotan, we walked into spacious classrooms, canteens and student dormitories, and found that there was no difference from what we saw in other colleges. During the conversation with the centers’ directors and students, we learned that the education and training centers implement boarding management and are equipped with counselors, doctors and logistics management personnel to ensure the normal study and life of the students. Students go home on weekends and can ask for leave in other days if necessary. The education and training centers have indoor and outdoor sports and cultural venues, and often hold various colorful sports and recreational activities. At the centers, we saw many students playing ball games on the playground. In the classroom for tour guide training, young men and women danced gracefully and sang beautifully, and our visiting group took the opportunity to take photos with them. The education and training centers fully respect and protect the customs and habits of students of different ethnic groups, care about their mental health, and provide psychological counseling services to help solve practical difficulties. Considering the problems of some students affected by religious extremism such as low education level, poor Mandarin, weak ability of accepting modern knowledge and communication, the education and training centers guarantee their rights enshrined in the Constitution to learn and use the national common language (standard Mandarin) and provide them with learning conditions. Through education and training, the students have improved their ability to use Mandarin, widened the channels for acquiring modern knowledge and information, and realized that only by learning the national common language well can they better adapt to the development of modern society. When we entered the classroom, some students opened their exercise books for us to have a look. The ancient poems carefully copied by students show their dedication to their studies. When the students recited these ancient poems, we could feel their sense of accomplishment and pride.  In response to the problem that students are affected by religious extremism to varying degrees, education and training centers have incorporated de-extremalization into the whole process of education and training. Through stage-by-stage study of laws and regulations, ethnic and religious policies and religious knowledge, the centers have exposed the harm of terrorism and extremism, making students realize that religious extremism completely violates religious doctrines and is the ideological basis of ethnic separatism and terrorism. This allows students to recognize the essence and harm of terrorism and extremism and the importance of getting rid of the influence and control of terrorism and religious extremism. Through learning and education, they can improve their ability to distinguish right from wrong, resist infiltration and the influence of terrorism, break the shackles of extreme thought, outmoded conventions and bad customs, and strive to improve their employment skills, which fully reflects the government’s humanitarian stance. Because of the lack of vocational skills of many students, which has led to their employment plight, the education and training centers take learning vocational skills as an important way to enhance the employability of students. According to the local needs and employment conditions, training courses in footwear and clothing manufacturing, food processing, electronic product assembly, tourism, beauty salons, and e-commerce are set up to provide multi-skill training to students, so as to ensure that the students can master one or two professional skills after graduation. During the visit, we noticed that the education and training centers pay attention to the combination of course study and practical operation training to improve students’ practical ability. Through the training, the trainees can initially master employment skills, and some of them have find jobs after graduation.

Eradicating Terrorism and Extremism at Their Source

Through the visit, we feel that the Chinese Government, while punishing terrorists in accordance with the law, has taken a series of “de-extremalization” measures by drawing lessons from international practices in anti-terrorism to eradicate terrorism and extremist at their source so as to ensure the long-term stability and economic and social development of Xinjiang. The establishment of vocational education and training centers is one of the important measures. Some Western forces have adopted double standards on the issue of anti-terrorism, vilifying the education and training centers as a so-called “re-education camp,” which is clearly not the case. Facts have proven that the establishment of vocational skills education and training centers in Xinjiang in accordance with the law is an effective measure to protect the basic human rights of the broad masses of the people from terrorism and extremism. Since the establishment of the vocational education and training centers, no cases of terrorism have occurred in Xinjiang for nearly three years.

We also noticed that during the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, 37 permanent ambassadors in Geneva, including such Arab countries as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, jointly wrote to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to positively evaluate China’s achievements in the development of human rights in Xinjiang and in the fight against terrorism and extremism, and to support China’s position on Xinjiang-related issues. All these have fully proven that justice lies in the hearts of the people.

Terrorism is the common enemy of all countries in the world. Combating terrorism and de-extremalization are both global challenges. Over the past years, many countries and regions have actively explored specific ways and means to combat and prevent terrorism and extremism in combination with their own realities. Learning from international anti-terrorism practices, China is committed to eliminating the conditions for the spread of terrorism and strengthening prevention. Based on the actual situation in the region, Xinjiang has carried out in-depth anti-terrorism and de-extremalization campaigns, insisting on “striking with one hand and preventing with the other.” It has not only severely cracked down on violent acts of terrorism in accordance with the law, but also attached great importance to controlling the source. Through various means, such as improving people’s livelihood, strengthening education of the law, and establishing vocational skills education and training centers in accordance with the law to carry out assistance and education, Xinjiang has protected citizens’ basic human rights from terrorism and extremism to the maximum extent. The fight against terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang is an important part of the international campaign against terrorism, and has also made great contributions to the international campaign. Several representatives of various countries to the UN Human Rights Committee, who visited Xinjiang with us, also said that anti-terrorism and de-extremalization are major problems confronted by many countries. Xinjiang’s method of eradicating extremism at its source is of great reference value. Indeed, Xinjiang has prevented and cracked down on terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law, maintained social stability, promoted civilization and progress, and met the people’s ardent expectations for a safe and stable production and living environment. Only in this way can the basic rights of the people be guaranteed to the greatest extent.

In practice, Xinjiang has also continuously improved its anti-terrorism legislation to ensure that anti-terrorism is carried out according to the rule of law, and acts of terrorism are combated in accordance with the law. At the same time, Xinjiang has also done its best to prevent the basic rights of people of various ethnic groups from any form of restriction caused by the anti-terrorism campaign, and ensure people able to enjoy a wide range of rights and freedoms in accordance with the law and guarantee normal social life. As the infiltration of extremism has been effectively curbed, the social security situation has obviously improved, and the people live a peaceful and harmonious life. In 2018, Xinjiang’s tourism industry developed in leaps and bounds, receiving a total of more than 150 million domestic and overseas tourists, an increase of 40 percent year-on-year, including 2.4032 million foreign tourists, an increase of 10.78 percent year-on-year. Total tourism consumption hit RMB 252.2 billion, an increase of 41.6 percent year-on-year. Social stability and the continuous improvement of people’s lives have effectively promoted the all-round development of local people. The people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang have taken on a new mental outlook, and actively pursue a modern civilized life, with an increasingly strong social atmosphere of consciously resisting religious extremism.

Visiting the Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone and seeing the booming high-tech industry and the grand plan for Xinjiang’s development, we clearly sense that under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are confidently working with the people of the whole country in the national reform and opening-up drive for a better tomorrow. The trend of the times is irreversible, and the attempt to reverse it will inevitably lead to failure. What the United States has done in the Middle East has erased its credit, and American democracy and human rights slogans have become mocked jokes. Those politicians in the U.S. Congress who still hold on to the outdated concepts of cold war mentality and zero-sum game are advised to abandon this ideology and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by using Xinjiang-related issues.

Wu Sike is the Special Envoy of China on the Middle East Issue.