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Spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the EU Speaks on a Question Concerning the Resolution on Xinjiang by European Parliament

Q: On December 19, the European Parliament passed a resolution accusing China of restricting the human rights and religious freedom of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and expressing welcome to the Act on Xinjiang adopted by the US Congress. The resolution also points out that Europe should impose targeted "sanctions" when necessary. What is your comment?

A: Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs. Xinjiang-related issues are not about ethnicity, religion or human rights, but about deradicalization and fighting terrorism and separatism. Chinese media recently broadcast two documentaries on the fight against terrorism in Xinjiang. They used a multitude of facts to expose the various malicious acts conducted by the terrorist group Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), such as indoctrinating extremist thinking, inciting ethnic hatred, harming women and children and committing terrorist attacks. They also recorded China's efforts and sacrifice in fighting extremism and terrorism. Unfortunately, the European Parliament gave little heed to these facts and played a seriously flawed and misguiding video in its building that vilified China's fight against violence and terrorism as persecution against ethnic minorities. The so-called resolution is an ill-intentioned attack on China's Xinjiang policy. The Parliament is thus confounding black and white and telling glaring lies in disregard of facts. This constitutes a blow to justice and good faith, a serious breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations and a gross interference in China's internal affairs. We express strong indignation and firm objection to it.

Setting up vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang aims to eradicate extremist thinking at its source, let the rule of law prevail, and contribute to employment by teaching job skills, so that those affected by extremism and terrorism could reintegrate into society and return to a normal life as soon as possible. As we all know, in the 20-plus years before the end of 2016, Xinjiang suffered a great deal from terrorist attacks. The astonishing terrorist attack on 5 July, 2009 alone caused 197 deaths and more than 1,700 injuries. To our regret, the European Parliament has not shown any sympathy or support to the Chinese people for their suffering and sacrifice. The deradicalization and preventive measures on counter-terrorism taken by Xinjiang have produced notable results: there has not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have a much greater sense of security and happiness. Moreover, setting up vocational education and training centers is a concrete step taken by China in keeping with international initiatives on counterterrorism and deradicalization, such as the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. The European Parliament slanders, discredits, and attacks China's efforts, and shows disrespects for the victims of terrorism. This is totally unacceptable.

Some MEPs claim that there are "more than one million" students in these centers, which is completely baseless. According to my knowledge, all the students have completed their training, and have found jobs and are now leading a better life with the help of local governments. Since the end of last year, Xinjiang has received more than 1,000 international visitors from over 90 countries and regions, including EU officials and United Nations Under-Secretary-General of the Counter-Terrorism Office. They saw with their own eyes the positive results of the preventive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures taken in Xinjiang. Not long ago, at the dialogue with Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, representatives of over 60 countries, including many Muslim countries, spoke positively of Xinjiang's counterterrorism and deradicalization measures. Those who have visited Xinjiang have seen with their own eyes that people are living a safe and content life, that different ethnic groups coexist in harmony, and that the rights to religious freedom and education are well protected by law. This is the truth.

Improving and promoting human rights is a common task for all countries. It is quite difficult to understand that some MEPs are busy pointing fingers at other countries and even calling black white, while making little time for seeking solutions to the EU's own human rights issues, like those concerning refugees, racism, violent crimes and gender discrimination. The Chinese government and people have firm resolve to defend national sovereignty, security and development interests. We advise the relevant MEPs to respect facts, discard bias and stop stirring up troubles and putting on anti-Chinese farces, and to put more energy in addressing their own human rights issues and in promoting the growth of China-EU relations and world peace and stability.

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