Western countries led by the United States have recently taken a series of moves alleging the Chinese government is "committing genocide and crimes against humanity" in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
These accusations are based on a 2019 report authored by Adrian Zenz, who claimed that China was committing "genocide" in Xinjiang. Full of lies and malevolence, the report, after it was published, was widely cited by the Associated Press, CNN and BBC, all of which further hyped that China is launching a "massive detention campaign against Muslims", and "the biggest human rights crisis has occurred since the 1990s". These Western media outlets, with fake witnesses, pictures and data, have fabricated more so-called evidence about the "genocide" in Xinjiang and used lies to justify lies.
The biggest lie about the "genocide" is that Xinjiang has set up so-called large-scale detention camps for millions of Muslim people in the region. However, the reality is that in the late 1990s and early 21st century, Xinjiang was infiltrated by religious extremist forces that committed frequent terrorist activities in the region. To educate local residents to strengthen their resistance to the influence of terrorism and extremism, vocational skill education and training centers were set up in Xinjiang. These centers sign a training agreement with recruits which clearly defines the training objectives, training methods, graduation standards and assessment methods, and issue certificates to them after they meet the assessment standards.
Through training, the vast majority of trainees have proved unsusceptible to extremist thought and are law-abiding, self-supporting members of society. Due to such training programs, Xinjiang has seen no violent or terrorist activities for four years in a row. Why should such centers be denigrated by US-led Western countries as being similar to Nazi "concentration camps"?
There are some Western scholars and think tanks exposing the lies being spread about Xinjiang. Maxime Vivas, a French writer, has visited Xinjiang twice and wrote a book on what he saw, truly recording Xinjiang's achievements in combating violence, terrorism and extremism as well as its economic and social development. He believes that those who are willing to hype fake stories and lies about Xinjiang have never been to the region.
On Feb 18, 2021, The Grayzone, a US website, published a report claiming the US State Department's "genocide" charges against China were based on distorted data and groundless assertions from far-rightists. The chief of the website even pointed out in an interview with Chinese reporters that Adrian Zenz is actually a far-right Christian fundamentalist.
Over the past 40 years, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has grown from 5.55 million to 12.7 million, and their average life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 years. Those politicians and media outlets that talk of "genocide" in Xinjiang must be well aware of the West's colonialist history of slave trafficking and slaughter of indigenous peoples as well as the Nazi concentration camps. They must know full well that there is no "genocide" in Xinjiang. The reason why they are so keen to fabricate the "lie of the century" about Xinjiang is because they want to make use of it to harvest multiple "strategic gains".
For the US, China's rapid rise is its "original sin". As long as China develops rapidly and the US is unwilling to give up hegemonism and power politics, it will be difficult for the current China-US relations to improve.
In the context of the "strategic game" between China and the US, the Xinjiang-related struggle between China and the US-led West will be a long-term one. The fact that the US has always tried its utmost to smear Xinjiang reflects that China's governance of Xinjiang is correct and effective, and China must adhere to it.
Xinjiang faces many problems and difficulties, and a great deal of basic work needs to be done to further promote its development. What China should do is to build a better and long-term stable and prosperous Xinjiang, which will be the most powerful response to the "genocide" lies of the US-led West.
The author is a researcher with the Chinese think tank Grandview Institution. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.