I read Mr. Olsi Jazexhi’s article published by Daily Sabah on Dec. 2 carefully. This is an article in which facts are distorted and basic knowledge is absent. It is hard to believe that its author is a “historian.” He was trying hard to use his experience in Xinjiang to make wrong statements sound credible. In China, we have an old saying which reads, "To listen to both sides, one will be enlightened, but if heeding only one side, one will be benighted." I would like to share with you some authentic information and my observation on measures taken by China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to fight terrorism and extremism, as well as China’s policies on ethnic groups, religious affairs and national development. The threats to Xinjiang Xinjiang has been under serious threats from separatism, extremism and terrorism over the years. From 1990 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. Facts, figures and videos do not lie. On July 5, 2009, separatists, extremists and terrorists engineered a riot in Urumqi which shocked the whole world, causing 197 deaths and over 1,700 injuries. A total of 331 stores and 1,325 vehicles were smashed or burned down. On July 30, 2014, the 74-year-old Senior Mullah Juma Tayier, imam of the Id Kah Mosque, was brutally killed by three terrorists on his way home after the morning Fajr prayer. On Dec. 28, 2016, four terrorists drove into the compound of Moyu County government, Hotan Prefecture, leaving two dead and three injured. This was the last terrorist attack in Xinjiang. On Aug. 30, 2016, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations and many countries including Turkey, launched a car bombing attack against the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. Even today, a significant number of terrorists from Xinjiang are still fighting together with Daesh remnants in Syria. These are hard facts. Anyone who practices double standards on counterterrorism will eventually end up hurting itself. The education centers The essential goal of the vocational education and training centers is to deradicalize those who have been exposed to extremist and terrorist teachings and prevent them from falling victim to terrorism and extremism. Such centers are set up in accordance with the law. They are in fact residential schools, definitely not "concentration camps" or "prisons." The centers deliver a curriculum that includes standard Chinese language, understanding of the law, vocational skills, and deradicalization. The centers employ a residential education model that allows trainees to go back home on a regular basis and ask for leave to attend personal affairs. The trainees also enjoy the freedom of correspondence. Family members can talk to the trainees on the phone or through video chat, or by visiting the training center. The centers guarantee that trainees’ personal dignity is inviolable, and strictly prohibit any form of humiliation or mistreatment. Thanks to counterterrorism and deradicalization efforts in accordance with the law, overall social stability in Xinjiang has been maintained. Not a single terrorist attack has taken place in Xinjiang in three years. Infiltration of religious extremism has been effectively curbed and public order and security have been restored. With effective vocational education and training programs, most trainees have completed the courses and graduated. Having moved on in life, they now work and live as normal people do. Some people have attempted to link the education and training centers with “religious persecution” and “cultural genocide.” Such logic is totally untenable. It is tantamount to setting religion against learning law, standard language and professional skills. How could it be wrong to eradicate the soil that breeds extremism? The prosperity and stability Today’s Xinjiang enjoys the sound and steady economic growth, with living standards of people of all ethnic groups rising constantly. People have a stronger sense of happiness, satisfaction and security. In the first three quarters of this year, Xinjiang's GDP reached $129.5 billion, with a growth rate of 6.1%. From January to October, the tourism industry continued to grow strongly. Xinjiang received a total of 200 million domestic and foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 42.62%. Tourism revenues increased by 43.39% to reach $48.5 billion. One of my friends who toured Xinjiang with his family in September told me that what he saw was a place blessed by peace, harmony and unique culture.
We fully protect the rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy full freedom of religious belief. They have the freedom to believe in or not to believe in religion. Such freedom is protected by law, which no institution, group or individual may interfere with. Xinjiang has 25,000 mosques, churches, monasteries and other places for religious activities, including 24,400 mosques, 29,000 clergy and 10 religious institutions. There is one mosque for every 530 Muslims, a higher percentage than many Muslim countries. The Chinese government fully guarantees the rights of ethnic minorities to use their own spoken and written languages. Ethnic languages are widely used in Xinjiang's judicial, administrative, educational, press and publishing, radio and television, internet, social and public affairs. Among 110 newspapers in Xinjiang, 52 are in minority languages. Sixty percent of 200 periodicals are in minority languages. Xinjiang People's Broadcasting Station currently has 15 radio programs in five languages: Uighur, Han, Kazakh, Mongolian and Kyrgyz. Xinjiang TV has 12 TV programs in four languages: Uighur, Han, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz. The Chinese government has formulated a series of special preferential policies for Xinjiang. We have long practiced a paired assistance program, organizing provinces and cities in the more developed coastal and hinterland areas to provide assistance and guidance to Xinjiang. The program is aimed at promoting Xinjiang's development and ultimately achieving its long-term security and stability and common prosperity across the country. In 2018 alone, 19 provinces and cities provided $22.75 billion in aid and assistance to Xinjiang. They have also helped train professionals for different localities in Xinjiang to lower unemployment and promote exchanges between Xinjiang and other areas in China. Mr. Olsi Jazexhi has selectively ignored these facts. Xinjiang is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are important members of the big family of the Chinese nation, holding together like pomegranate seeds. No force can ever stop Xinjiang from seeking greater prosperity. *China's ambassador to Ankara