Bahraini ambassador hails Xinjiang's development, calls for cooperation

A senior foreign diplomat has hailed the remarkable development in China's Xinjiang and called for multilateral cooperation in dealing with challenges, after a recent visit to the Uygur autonomous region in northwest China.

The region has made "truly remarkable" results in its economic and social development, according to Anwar Alabdulla, ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to China, in a signed article published by China Daily, the country's leading English-language newspaper, on Thursday.

Alabdulla visited Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in August last year and revisited the region last month.

"In just one year I can see further progress in the economic and social development of the region," said the ambassador in the article.

Alabdulla cited statistics to explain why he thought Xinjiang's development is remarkable, but not surprising: the real GDP growth of Xinjiang has averaged 8.2 percent annually since 1952.

"Unfortunately, the rapid and continuous development of Xinjiang has at times been overshadowed on many foreign media sites by often ill-informed reports of terrorism and separatist and sectarian strife," said Alabdulla.

Every year, the China Islamic Association supports the hajj from Xinjiang, to make a pilgrimage to the holiest sites of Islam. Xinjiang has long been a commercial link along the Silk Road between China and the Middle East, he said.

"This link is being further strengthened through new Belt and Road Initiative investments in infrastructure, special economic zones and a host of manufacturing, tourism and commercial projects," he said.

"A sad fact is that extremism, terrorism and divisive sectarian violence against innocent people have become widespread in modern societies across the world," he said. "Extremists collaborate across international boundaries to foment terrorism and illicit activities for the benefit of the few."

"Only through international cooperation can we successfully protect the rights, welfare and future of all our peoples," said the ambassador.

He mentioned in July last year, 50 countries -- including Bahrain, other prominent Arab states and members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation -- sent an unprecedented letter to the president of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressing their support for China's continuous measures to promote peace and development in Xinjiang, protect its territorial integrity against local and foreign extremists, and safeguard human rights in the region for the entire population.

Recently in New York, Bahrain was among the many countries that expressed support for China's position on Xinjiang and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the UN General Assembly Third Committee Meeting, said the ambassador.

"This support does not reflect narrow views or outdated concepts of realpolitik. It reflects the reality that we live in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world where comprehensive social, economic and cultural development must be achieved in a sustainable, safe and secure environment," he said in the article.

"Sustainable and comprehensive development" means creating the conditions for inclusive, extensive and balanced long-term growth to fulfill human aspirations in a fashion that is harmonious with our environment, according to the senior diplomat.

"Sustainable and comprehensive security" is coextensive with development, since it sets the environmental conditions that enable humans to work harmoniously together, and with their natural environment, to achieve our real potential, he added.

"The power of education is important in promoting mutual respect, understanding and methods for constructive conflict resolution. Vocational education and training centers have proved effective in China," he said.

"Many of us have joined the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia with the aim of building the architecture to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development and security, based on dialogue and cooperation within multinational, interconnected networks of peoples, who embrace mutual respect, inclusiveness, fairness, justice, peace and stability," he said.

The Middle East is a region where violence, terrorism and sectarian strife have festered for decades, destroying whole communities and the hopes of generations, the Bahraini ambassador said.

"Like China, we are determined to meet acts of aggression head-on, by enforcing the rule of law, strengthening our defense forces and educating our people on how to combat radicalization, terrorism and foreign interference in our domestic affairs. We must support each other in our commitment to counterterrorism and de-radicalization," said the ambassador.

"We must deflect destructive energies and resources to productive projects that benefit the whole community. Ethnic and cultural diversity -- reflected in so many areas of the world -- naturally entails differences of opinion and approach, but these differences must be mediated through the shared goals and values of the whole nation, and in accordance with laws that are just and seek to protect the welfare of the whole community," he said.

Territorial integrity, peace, security, social and economic development, and respect for human rights are cherished goals that every civilized society must cultivate, nurture and pursue for the greater good of the nation and its people, the ambassador said.

"The long course of human history teaches us that common goals of peace, security and prosperity cannot be accomplished by nations and societies in isolation but through multilateral cooperation with our friends and partners who are equally prepared to strive for what we treasure most," Alabdulla said.