Editor’s note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language “Commentaries on International Affairs.” The article reflects the author’s opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
Fifty-four countries voiced their support for China’s counterterrorism and de-radicalization measures in its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at a session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. Belarus, on behalf of the 54 countries, stated that the measures “have effectively safeguarded the basic human rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.” They also expressed their opposition to countries politicizing the issue of human rights, calling on them to stop making groundless accusations against China.
The statement was made in response to the decision by the United States and some other Western countries to accuse China of human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang at a meeting of the General Assembly’s human rights committee. The fact that the number of signatories on the statement supporting China outnumbers the signatories on the letter from the West shows how widespread support is for China’s Xinjiang policy.
In the statement, the 54 countries acknowledged the enormous damage done to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang by terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism. This damage includes serious infringements of people’s human rights, including the right to life, health, and development.
China’s counterterrorism and de-radicalization measures, including setting up vocational education and training centers, have seen safety and security return to Xinjiang and, as the statement said, “the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded.” The statement also noted that there has not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years, “and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment, and security.”
The statement also supported China’s commitment to openness and transparency, making the point that it has invited diplomats, officials of international organizations and journalists to Xinjiang to witness the progress made in the development of human rights and the outcomes of counterterrorism and de-radicalization work.
“What they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what was reported in the [Western] media,” the statement noted. The 54 nations called on “relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang.” They also urged agencies such as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out their work based on reliable information.
The joint statement is recognition of China’s achievements in counterterrorism work and in addressing economic and social development issues in Xinjiang. It also made clear their opposition to the double standards Western countries adopt on human rights and the attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries in the name of human rights.
The counterterrorism and de-radicalization measures adopted by the government in Xinjiang have guaranteed to the fullest extent the basic rights of the 25 million people living in the region. It is an important contribution made by China to the international fight against terrorism, and provides a useful point of reference for the international community, including the West. The western countries that have been quick to criticize China would do well to reflect on why they find themselves the minority voice in the international community on this issue.