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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador CHEN Xu at Side Event "Human Rights Progress in Xinjiang, China"

(13:30 18 September, Room XXV Palais des Nations)

Distinguished guests,

Dear friends and colleagues,

Good afternoon. I would like to start by welcoming you all and expressing our appreciation for your interest in the human rights progress in China’s Xinjiang.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Over this period, Xinjiang has made tremendous progress in human rights: its GDP is close to 200 billion US dollars; programs for stronger employment, education, health care, and social security are well underway; between 2014 and 2018, 2.31 million people were lifted out of poverty; nine-year compulsory education is provided in the whole region; three-year pre-school education and 12-year basic education is provided in its southern part; free health checkups and critical illness insurance are available to the entire population in Xinjiang; all ethnic groups can fully exercise right to use their own languages in speaking and writing and practice religions, with 24,800 religious sites, including more than 24,000 mosques, in the region. In 2020, the people in Xinjiang will be brought into a moderately prosperous society together with the rest of the Chinese nation and embrace greater progress and prosperity.

All of this was only possible because of a safe and peaceful environment. There was a time when Xinjiang suffered dearly from ethnic separatism, violent terrorism, and religious extremism; the basic human rights of ordinary people were blatantly violated. Addressing both the symptoms and root causes and integrating preventative measures and a forceful response, Xinjiang has carried out a series of measures to countering terrorism and deradicalization, including the establishment of vocational education and training centers in accordance with the law to prevent the breeding and spread of terrorism and religious extremism. As a result, terrorism and extremism lost its breeding ground and momentum and human rights of all ethnic groups have been effectively protected. Not a single terrorist attack happened in the past three years and the people there feel happier, fulfilled, and safer.

Five ingredients are critical to Xinjiang’s success in vocational education and training: fighting extremism in accordance with local conditions; putting prevention first while taking firm action on terrorism and extremism; promoting the rule of law; respecting and protecting human rights; government takes on the responsibility and achieve tangible results. It provides important food for thought for the global fight against terrorism and radicalization.

However, ideological prejudice and a hidden political agenda drive some to falsely criticize China for what is happening in Xinjiang. Not long ago, the permanent representatives of 51 countries sent a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, fully recognizing Xinjiang’s progress in human rights, counter-terrorism, and deradicalization. Many of them spoke from their own experience of having visited that part of China. Today, we are also joined by some PRs who have been to Xinjiang. I look forward to hearing about their impressions shortly afterwards.

I hope the successes in Xinjiang will inspire you to find more ways to counter terrorism and radicalization so as to better promote and protect human rights.

I wish this event a complete success. Thank you.

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