There was a time when the Muslims in the OIC believed the US propaganda that China was oppressing the Uighur Muslims. Consequently, in December 2018, the OIC made a statement that included the following:
Among other situations, the Commission was also briefed on the human rights situation of Uyghur Muslims in China, which shows rising discrimination on the basis of their religion by subjecting them to involuntary conversions in detention camps where they were forced to follow and adopt cultural values and practices contrary to their religious beliefs. The OIC Islamophobia Observatory informed IPHRC that Chinese authorities call these camps as re-education centers to combat violence and extremist ideologies. According to the OIC Islamophobia Observatory, the newly introduced Chinese law namely the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region DeRadicalization Regulations (in October 2018), was excessive in nature as virtually any activity could fall within the scope of its provisions and enables the authorities to justify the presence of detention/ re-education camps.
The Commission expressed concern on these disturbing reports on the treatment of Uyghur Muslims and expressed hope that China, which has excellent bilateral relations with most OIC countries as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, would do its best to address the legitimate concerns of Muslims around the world. The Commission also recalled that the Constitution of China provides clear and full guarantees for the right to freedom of religion and belief, which makes it obligatory on its authorities to ensure the exercise of these rights by all its nationals. The Commission further emphasized the importance of ensuring promotion and protection of human rights and due process guarantees while countering terrorism.
Following this statement, China invited the OIC to send a delegation to Xinjiang to observe for themselves what the actual situation really is. They made this World Muslim Council Uyghurs Report:
“The Council welcomes the outcomes of the visit conducted by the General Secretariat’s delegation upon invitation from the People’s Republic of China; commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China.”
Item 20 in the report on the commissioners’ visit to Xinjiang: The Commission welcomes the outcomes of the visit conducted by the General Secretariat’s delegation upon invitation from the People’s Republic of China; commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China.
So that’s the truth: World Muslim Council Uyghurs Report says there is no persecution of Uighur Muslims but China acted upon some terrorists who were killing and maiming people in Xinjiang, under the control of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) that is classified as a terror organisation by the UN. China was protecting the Uighurs, not persecuting them.
But the US, as usual, will twist every bit of information about China to make it look like China is a horrible country. If you look at any of the US news agencies such as CNN, WSJ, NYT etc, you will not find a single piece of news that tells of China doing something good. All that are reported show how bad China is.
Even the good things that China does are described as bad things. For example, when China locked down Wuhan, it was a violation of human rights. When China placed some Uighurs (who were misled by ETIM) into rehabilitation centres, the US called it “concentration camp”. When China taught the Uighurs Han culture so that they can integrate better into Chinese society and get jobs, the US said they were being brainwashed and the Uighur culture was being wiped away. When they were provided with vocational training and jobs upon release from the centres, the US said they were placed in forced labour. Whatever good China does is reported by US press in a negative way! For some reason, the US government wants US citizens to hate China.
What does World Muslim Council Uyghurs Report say about “genocide” ?
- “Genocide” is clearly defined in international law, which cannot be pinned to China. In the past 60 years, Xinjiang’s average life expectancy has grown from 30 to 72 years. From 2010 to 2018, the population of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang rose from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, an increase of 2.55 million or 25%. The number is higher than that of the whole population in Xinjiang, which is 14 percent, and much higher than that of the Han population, which is 2 percent. How is it in any way “genocide”? There is no so-called “cultural genocide” in Xinjiang either. The Chinese government protects the freedom of religious belief of all Chinese citizens, including ethnic minority groups like the Uyghur community in Xinjiang. There is one mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang. We can see the Uyghur language printed on the RMB banknote. Isn’t this a token of ethnic equality in China?
- There is no so-called “forced sterilization”. Respecting and protecting human rights is a basic principle of our Constitution, and it’s embodied in our legal system and government’s work. Since the founding of the PRC, women of all ethnic groups enjoy political rights and all the other rights. BBC interviewed a Uyghur woman named Zumrat Dawut who claimed she was forced to undergo “forced sterilization” with a hysterectomy. The fact is that when she was giving birth to her third child in the maternity wards of a women and children’s hospital in Urumqi in March 2013, she signed a childbirth consent form voluntarily, requesting “to have a cesarean section and tubal ligation”, then the hospital conducted operation as she required. This woman has become a tool for anti-China forces’ attacks on and hyping up of Xinjiang.
- There are simply no “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. The vocational education and training centers set up in Xinjiang in accordance with laws are schools. They are no different from the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) of the UK, or the de-radicalization centers in France. They are in line with the principles and the spirit embodied in a number of international documents on counter-terrorism, such as the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. By the end of 2019, all trainees who received courses including standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills, and de-radicalization had completed their courses and secured employment. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute identified all buildings with outer walls in Xinjiang as “detention centers” in its report, but they are in fact civil institutions. For example, the “detention center” of Turpan city mentioned in the report is actually a local administrative building.
- There is no so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang at all. The rights and interests of workers from ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang as part of China’s large workforce are protected by law. They are free to choose a profession and can decide on where to work of their own free will. Almost 3 million people have been lifted out of poverty in Xinjiang by the end of 2019.
- Xinjiang-related issues are never about human rights, ethnicity, or religion, but about combating violent terrorism and secession. Xinjiang hasn’t seen a single terror incident in the past 4 years and plus. In 2019, Xinjiang received over 200 million tourists. Since 2018, more than 1,200 people from over 100 countries have visited Xinjiang. That includes UN officials, foreign diplomats posted in China, some countries’ permanent representatives to Geneva, journalists, and religious groups. They saw with their own eyes a region thriving with stability and prosperity and commended its exemplary counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts.