Morgunblaðið Publishes A Signed Article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian Entitled Some Facts on the Xinjiang-Related Hot Issues

On March 8, the famous Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið published a signed article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian entitled Some Facts on the Xinjiang-Related Hot Issues.

The full text is as follows:

Recently,some Icelandic officials and citizens showed concerns about Xinjiang-related issues, which had also been reported by the Icelandic media. Many of the relevant reports did not correspond to the reality. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the facts of some hot issues regarding Xinjiang, and hope you find these useful.

1. The establishment of vocational education and training centers is conducive attempt and proactive exploration for preventive counterterrorism and de-radicalization

From the end of 90s last century to 2016, Xinjiang suffered from terrorism and religious extremism, which also plagued the local people. Xinjiang established vocational education and training centers in accordance with the laws to prevent the escalation of violent terrorist activities. These centers were essentially the same as “community corrections” enforced in the US, the DDP (Desistance and Disengagement Programme) in the UK, and the de-radicalization centers in France, and were fully consistent with the principles and spirit of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. These centers were not so-called "concentration camps". They delivered curricula that included standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills, and de-radicalization. The trainees graduated after reaching the expected criteria. The human dignity, personal freedom and religious practice of trainees were protected by law. The centers were run as boarding facilities and trainees could go home and ask for leave to tend to personal businesses. Trainees could decide on their own whether to attend legitimate religious activities when they went home. By the end of October 2019, all trainees had completed their courses, secured employment, and started a better life. At present, there is no vocational education and training center in Xinjiang. There has been no violent terrorist case for more than four years in a row in Xinjiang,which proves that the preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures have already yielded good results.

2. Allegation of “ethnic cleansing against Uyghurs in Xinjiang” is the lie of the century and totally groundless

Before former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left his office, he released a statement that China has committed crimes against humanity and genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other members of ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang. This allegation is based on flimsy lies concocted by anti-China scholar Adrian Zenz and Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which has long been funded by US government and arms dealers. Leading the charge in slandering and demonizing China, both of them have no credibility at all. Crimes against humanity and genocide are clearly-defined in international law. Such a thing has never happened, is not happening and will never happen in China. In fact, the Uyghur population increased by 25.04 percent from 2010 to 2018, higher than the increase of the whole Xinjiang population, which stood at 13.99 percent, and much higher than the growth rate of the Han population, which was 2 percent. The ethnic minorities enjoyed favourable treatment on the Chinese birth control policy. There is no so-called "forced sterilization "against Uyghur women. The life expectancy of Xinjiang residents grew from 30 to 72 years over the past six decades or so. Xinjiang now enjoys economic development and social peace while local people live a happy life. Languages, traditional cultures and customs of all ethnic minorities in Xinjiang have been well protected and inherited. In 2019, Xinjiang received over 200 million tourists. The region has invited diplomats, journalists and ordinary people from many countries, who have been deeply impressed by unity, amity and happiness among various ethnic groups as well as the scenic views of Xinjiang.

3. There is no factual basis to the so-called "mass forced labor in Xinjiang"

This rumor comes from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Choice of impoverished people in southern Xinjiang to work in the mainland and increase incomes of their own volition is distorted as "forced labor". In fact, workers from ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang have the freedom to choose their professions and locations of work. Their rights to enjoy remuneration, rest and leisure, occupational safety, social insurance, freedom of religious belief, speaking and writing languages of their own ethnic groups are protected by law. The government takes various measures to promote employment and builds employment information platforms to create conditions for satisfactory work and stable income of all ethnic groups. None of ethnic minority workers is forced to work outside the autonomous region. Certain people maliciously hype the so-called "forced labor" to deprive people in Xinjiang of their lawful right to pursue a better life through labor. What they want essentially is for Xinjiang to regress to close and backwardness, which goes against the will of people there.

In general, the so-called Xinjiang issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion but about fighting violence, terrorism, separatism and radicalization. As a Chinese saying goes, "seeing is believing". I hope you will view what's happened in Xinjiang in a fact-based way and stop gathering vaporous rumors and hearsay. After COVID-19, we welcome Icelandic friends to visit Xinjiang, see the real situation there and get a better understanding of China.

Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Jin Zhijian