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False claims on Xinjiang 'a hit on economy'
By:Chinadaily

West's fabrications of forced labor will backfire, says government spokesman

Anti-China forces in the United States and other Western countries had fabricated the so-called "forced labor" issue in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to undermine its participation in the global economy, an official said on Friday.

Another of their aims was to undercut Chinese companies' international competitiveness, Xu Guixiang, a spokesman with the government of Xinjiang, told reporters at a news conference in Beijing on issues related to the region.

"We are all crystal clear about their attempts. People in Xinjiang will take resolute measures in response and will never back down," Xu said.

According to Xu, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including the Uygur, have the right to choose their jobs, and it is up to them to decide where they want to go and what they want to do.

"What the government has been doing is improving employment policies and building job-seeking platforms in order to provide a good working environment for employees," he said.

In recent years, the US and some Western countries have suppressed the textile, clothing, agricultural and high-tech industries in Xinjiang by imposing sanctions under the pretext of so-called forced labor.

Yao Yuzhen, president of the Xinjiang section of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said that the reason that many farmers in the region prefer growing cotton is because it is more profitable than other crops.

"From seeding to harvesting and sales, every single procedure is free and decided by themselves. There is no reason or need for any interference or compulsion," Yao said.

According to Yao, cotton production in Xinjiang is highly automated and 69.83 percent of cotton in the region is picked by machines. "So there is no need for forced labor," she said.

Muhtar Rehman, a villager in Shaya county, Xinjiang, has been working as a tractor driver for a cotton-processing company for two years.

He earns about 110,000 yuan ($16,990) a year with more than 30,000 yuan coming from profit-sharing from a 40-mu (2.7 hectares) cotton field that he has transferred to a local cooperative.

"Our life now is much better than before with income greatly improved," Rehman said in a video played at the news conference.

Xu said the unreasonable sanctions imposed by Western anti-China forces had helped Chinese people see through their "false cover" of human rights and had laid bare their hegemony.

"It will only inspire greater support for the sanctioned businesses, which will help them to overcome current difficulties and grow bigger and stronger," Xu said.

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