West viewing Xinjiang through prism of bias: China Daily editorial

Local residents dance at the International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, in April. [Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

Abuse of sympathy is often the result of a lack of empathy.

This is true of the ambassadors from 22 countries to the United Nations who signed a letter on Wednesday to top UN human rights officials condemning China's treatment of Uygur and other minority ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Heeding the one-sided stories of some Western journalists or those Uygurs who not only harbor resentment against China but also cherish the ill intention of seeking the region's independence, these ambassadors can hardly reach an informed judgment about what has happened and is happening in Xinjiang.

Few Western media organizations have reported on the terrorist attacks several years ago in the autonomous region. Those that did, did so with bias.

A story by the head of the National Endowment for Democracy published in The Washington Post last Thursday about the horrifying riot on July 5, 2009, was a typical example of this.

In that riot, 197 innocent people were killed and 1,700 more injured. Without showing any sympathy to the dead and injured, the author called the riot "the struggle of the Uygur people to defend their rights".

Looking at what happens in Xinjiang through such a prism of bias, it is not uncommon for Westerners to have a double standard when it comes to terrorist attacks in China and the country's efforts to combat terrorism and extremism in the region.

The vocational training centers China has organized are meant to equip Uygurs, in particular Uygur youths, with knowledge and skills so that they can land a job to make a decent living, which will hopefully keep them away from contact with extremism.

Such training has proved effective. Xinjiang has witnessed no terrorist attacks in more than three years; tourist trips made to Xinjiang from home and abroad reached 150 million last year; its economy has grown by 40 percent over the past five years; and the Uygur population has increased from about 9.8 million to over 12 million in over a decade with their religious rights and activities strictly protected by law.

It seems as if what those Westerners, who always point accusing fingers at China for what it has done and is doing in Xinjiang, want to see this region being plagued by terrorist attacks. It seems as if they consider a Xinjiang plagued by violence as the one respecting human rights and a peaceful Xinjiang the one lacking any respect for human rights.

They need to develop their empathy with China by putting themselves in Chinese people's shoes. If their sympathy always goes to those willing to take innocent people's lives, we have more than enough reason to tell them that their sympathy is misplaced.