By targeting Xinjiang, Canada barking up wrong tree

In an interview with CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton, China's Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu has dismissed widespread allegations of China's "human rights abuses" against Uygur Muslims, calling the claims "the lies of the century".

On Feb 22, the Canadian parliament passed a non-binding motion claiming China's treatment of Uygur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region "constitutes genocide", putting pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government to take follow-up action.

The motion, passed 266-0, was also amended just before the vote to call on the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympic Games from Beijing if there is no change in China's treatment of the Uygurs.

Although Trudeau and his Cabinet abstained from the vote, some Canadian members of parliament's ideological hostility toward China reveals the real intention behind the move.

Given that the wider international community has praised Xinjiang's socioeconomic progress and the improvement in Xinjiang residents' living conditions and livelihoods, especially in the past decade, the Canadian politician's claim is nothing but a blatant lie. And the facts on the ground expose the double standard and hypocrisy of Canadian and other Western politicians.

Over the past six decades, Xinjiang's GDP has increased by 200 times and per capita GDP by about 40 times, and life expectancy in the region has increased from 30 to 72, revealing the hollowness of the Canadian politicians' allegations.

The Canadian politicians have conveniently ignored the basic facts-that China's central government's socioeconomic programs are not a violation of human rights or the right to religion. Instead, they are aimed at eradicating terrorism in the region. That no terrorist attacks have taken place in Xinjiang since 2017 shows the effectiveness of China's anti-radicalization and anti-terrorism measures.

Also, the extraordinary achievements Xinjiang has made on multiple fronts debunk the baseless allegations of the Canadian politicians.

Many are shocked that Canada, a country with a history of ruthless slaughtering of indigenous people by the white colonizers who now dominate the country's economy, politics and society, is now accusing China, which has always treated all its ethnic groups as equals, of violating human rights.

The Canadian politicians, like their counterparts in many other Western countries, who cannot effectively deal with their domestic problems, tend to use China as a scapegoat to divert public attention from their failures. These politicians revel in slinging mud on others while turning a blind eye on the real issues, including their domestic issues.

Such Western politicians swear by democracy while fabricating lies and using dubious means to spread rumors against countries such as China to fulfill their narrow political goals. Some Canadian politicians have concocted a string of lies to stigmatize China on human rights, alleging that China has built detention camps in Xinjiang to incarcerate minority religious groups.

Why do Western politicians resort to such dirty tricks to slander China?

Probably to use the "China threat" theory and human rights violations to soil China's global image.

The resolution passed by the Canadian House of Commons is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs, which will further deteriorate Sino-Canadian relations. It seems Canadian politicians have become pawns in the hands of the United States administration and are serving the US' cause, and conspiring with other Western politicians to target China.

It is likely that some US politicians and their allies will ratchet up the anti-China campaign, and some countries such as Canada and Australia will make more anti-China actions to please the US hawks-such as the provocative move on the Beijing Winter Games that is tantamount to giving a call to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics, which goes against the Olympic spirit.

The COVID-19 pandemic still poses a threat to many Western countries, including Canada, whose economies have been sluggish and unemployment rates have been rising. In contrast, the Chinese government has effectively contained the epidemic at home, and became the only major economy to achieve positive GDP growth in 2020.

Therefore, Western politicians should stop their efforts to stigmatize China and, instead, seek the truth. Or, they would end up humiliating themselves.

The author is a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy and a professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University of China.

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.