The Party chief of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region defended China's policy and debunked accusations of "forced labor" and "genocide" in the region at a virtual event on Monday, while representatives from foreign political parties at the event condemned some Western countries for using human rights as a cover to interfere in other countries' domestic affairs.
Data, stories and facts they shared at the event were a strong rebuttal to some Western countries' blatant smears of China on Xinjiang-related affairs, especially at the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council during which Britain's foreign secretary attacked China on so-called "human rights issues" in Xinjiang, analysts said.
The Monday event, themed "A Better Life for All," focused on how the Communist Party of China (CPC) regional committee of Xinjiang implements various policies to allow local residents to enjoy better lives.
More than 300 foreign guests from 200 political parties, international organizations, media outlets and think tanks from 80 countries and regions attended the event. Representatives of Xinjiang residents also shared their stories with foreign guests.
Chen Quanguo, secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee, shared six stories to show Xinjiang's economic development, improvements in local residents' livelihood, ethnic unity, protection of religions and the battle against COVID-19 in the region.
Chen said that a 91-year-old Uygur resident in Qiemo county in the Bayingolin Mongolian autonomous prefecture is enjoying life with seven sons and daughters, and more than 40 grandchildren.
Chen also said that from 2010-2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang grew by 2.5 million, or 25.04 percent, which is higher than Xinjiang's overall population growth rate (13.99 percent), ethnic minority population growth rate (22.14 percent) and Han population growth rate (2 percent).
Chen's story as well as the data he gave refuted claims that "Xinjiang is committing genocide against ethnic groups."
What Xinjiang has done is just and transparent and aims to improve the lives of its residents. The claims of "forced labor," "genocide," or "camps" are total slander and calling white black, said Chen.
Song Tao, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), said at the event that under the guidance of the CPC, China's Xinjiang has made great achievements in recent years and got rid of poverty at the end of 2020.
"But some countries and a small group of people don't want to see the good situation in Xinjiang… under the guise of human rights, they are attacking China's policies in Xinjiang and trying to sow discord between China and Islamic states," Song said, noting that no matter how the small fraction of people slandered, they would not stop Xinjiang's development.
The event was jointly held by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and the CPC regional committee of Xinjiang. It was part of a series of activities held by the department on "Stories of CPC" to explain the CPC's practices and achievements across China to the international community.
The Global Times has learned that the timing of the event has special meaning: it was the first thematic briefing held by the IDCPC in 2021 - the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. The 46th UN Human Rights Council also opened on Monday.
At the 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council that opened on Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, in a recorded speech, accused China of torture, forced labor and sterilizations that he said were taking place against Uygurs on an "industrial scale" in Xinjiang.
Raab called for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet or another independent expert to be given "urgent and unfettered access" to Xinjiang and said that there should be a resolution at the council to this effect.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday that Xinjiang-related issues are in essence about countering violent terrorism and separatism. Basic facts show there has never been a so-called "genocide" and "forced labor" in Xinjiang.
Such inflammatory accusations are fabricated out of ignorance and prejudice. They are simply malicious and politically-driven hypes, and couldn't be further from the truth. The door to Xinjiang is always open. China also welcomes the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang, Wang said at the UN HRC.
Many party leaders who attended Xinjiang's event via video link also shared their views of Xinjiang's economic development and achievements in poverty alleviation, and refuted rumors of "forced labor" and "genocide" of ethnic groups.
Representatives from more than 100 political parties from Islamic countries also attended the online briefing, showing their interest, understanding and support for China and using the platform to strengthen the exchange of experiences in governance.
Chinese officials said the briefing, held at the beginning of the year marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and the first year for implementing the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), demonstrates the openness and confidence of Xinjiang.
Tep Ngorn, a member of Central Standing Committee of Cambodian People's Party and 2nd Vice President of the Senate, said at the event that there is no one-fit-for-all way to deal with human rights issues, but human rights should not be used as an excuse to interfere with other countries' domestic affairs.
Some countries with malicious purposes are defaming the CPC's image by hyping Xinjiang related topics, a move that is despicable and should be firmly opposed, Tep Ngorn said, noting that he spoke highly of China's efforts to help the development of ethnic groups as well as their cultures.
The cultures and languages of ethnic groups have been preserved in the Xinjiang region and the Chinese government has set an example to the international community in protecting ethnic minorities, Turkish Patriotic Party chairman Doğu Perinçek said in an interview on the sidelines of the event.
In response to claims of "genocide" in the Xinjiang region, Perinçek said that they are lies made by Western countries and are the opposite of the truth.
The Turkish politician said that "forced labor" and "genocide" are conspiracies made by the US and the West for political purposes. "We condemn the deeds of interfering with other countries' domestic affairs and we Turkish people stand with the Chinese people," he said.