Fact Check: Lies on Xinjiang-related issues versus the truth
Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a land of beauty, diversity and unity. Fifty-six ethnic groups are closely united as family members, just like pomegranate seeds that stick together, to build a beautiful homeland, maintain social stability, and realize economic development and prosperity, flourishing cultural heritage preservation, ethnic unity and harmony, and freedom of religious belief, with people of different ethnic groups living and working in peace and contentment.
However, some anti-China forces in the West, including the United States, have concocted and disseminated plenty of false information about Xinjiang. They have smeared China’s image, slandered its policies on Xinjiang, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and attempted to deceive the international community and disrupt the stability and development of Xinjiang.
Lies may mislead people for a while, but cannot win the trust of the world. Facts and truthfulness will eventually bust all lies.
Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion at all, but about combating violent terrorism and separatism. The Chinese government has launched anti-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang in accordance with the law to protect people’s lives, which has garnered ardent support of people from all ethnic groups. People in the region continue to embrace peace and prosperity and Xinjiang society continues to develop steadily. These facts are the most powerful tool to debunk lies surrounding Xinjiang.
We have chosen some typical Xinjiang-related rumors and lies fabricated by anti-China forces, and debunked them with facts to set the record straight.
Lie No. 1: Mike Pompeo claimed that the Chinese government had committed “genocide” against Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
In recent years, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has been growing steadily. From 2010 to 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang rose from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, an increase of 2.55 million or 25.04 percent. The growth rate of the Uygur population is not only higher than that of Xinjiang’s total population, which is 13.99 percent, but also higher than that of all ethnic minority groups, which is 22.14 percent, let alone the Han population’s 2 percent.
— Xinjiang enjoys social stability, with the people living and working in peace and contentment. The region has made unprecedented achievements in economic and social development and improvement of people’s livelihood. From 2014 to 2019, the GDP of Xinjiang increased from 919.59 billion yuan to 1.36 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent. The per capita disposable income in Xinjiang increased by an average annual rate of 9.1 percent. Remarkable achievements have been made in poverty alleviation. All 3.09 million impoverished people in Xinjiang have been lifted out of poverty. The absolute poverty problem in Xinjiang has been resolved historically.
— The legitimate rights and interests of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been protected. All ethnic groups, regardless of their population, have the same legal status and enjoy various rights in accordance with the law, including participation in the management of state affairs, freedom of religious belief, receiving education, using their own languages, and preserving their traditional culture.
Lie No. 2: Adrian Zenz released reports claiming Xinjiang has carried out “forced sterilization” on the Uygur women, resulting in a sharp decline in the Uygur population.
Adrian Zenz is not a so-called “expert on China studies,” but a member of the far-right group “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” sponsored by the U.S. government. He is also a key figure in an anti-China organization set up by U.S. intelligence agencies and a notorious racist.
— Adrian Zenz’s “reports” are full of fabrications and data manipulation. The so-called evidence of “forced sterilization” in the “reports” claims that 80 percent of the new intrauterine device (IUD) insertion procedures in China for 2018 were performed in Xinjiang and that the natural population growth rate in Hotan and Kashgar of Xinjiang in 2018 was only 2.58 per 1,000 people. The “evidence” is extremely inconsistent with the facts.
— According to data from China Health Statistics Yearbook 2019, published by the National Health Commission, the number of new IUD insertion procedures in Xinjiang in 2018 came in at 328,475, accounting for only 8.7 percent of China’s total, which was 3,774,318.
— According to the 2019 Xinjiang statistical yearbook released by the statistics bureau of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the natural population growth rates in Kashgar and Hotan were 6.93 per 1,000 people and 2.96 per 1,000 people, respectively, in 2018.
Lie No. 3: BBC Newsnight once reported that Zumrat Dawut (Zamira Dawut) was “forced to go through sterilization” in a vocational education and training center.
Zamira Dawut has never studied in any vocational education and training center. Her elder brother Abduhelil Dawut has previously clarified that.
— She claimed that after “her release” from a center, she was forced to be sterilized and her uterus was removed because she has already had three children. In fact, in March 2013, when Zamira Dawut gave birth to her third child in Urumqi Maternal and Child Care Service Center, she signed a childbirth consent form voluntarily to have a cesarean section and tubal ligation, and then the center conducted the operation. She was never sterilized, not to mention uterus removal.
— She claimed that her aging father was repeatedly detained and investigated by Xinjiang authorities, and died not long ago from an unknown cause. In fact, her father had been living with his children until he died from heart disease on Oct. 12, 2019. He had never been investigated or placed in detention. Her brothers Abduhelil Dawut and Elkin Dawut have both substantiated the facts.
— She claimed that she was served with pork in a relative’s home. In fact, the relative she referred to is her elder brother Abduhelil Dawut’s pairing relative Zhao Qilin. In October 2017, Abduhelil was paired up with Zhao as “relatives,” as part of an ethnic unity program. In January 2018, Abduhelil was invited to Zhao’s home as a guest, in company with his younger sister Zamira Dawut. The meal was prepared by Zhao’s mother, who herself is an ethnic Hui and a Muslim, and only eats halal food. It was impossible for her to provide a “pork meal.”
Lie No. 4: In interviews with foreign media, Mihrigul Tursun said that she was forced to take unknown medications in a vocational education and training center and was diagnosed as infertile by American doctors.
On April 21, 2017, Mihrigul Tursun was taken into custody by the public security bureau of Qiemo County on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination. During this period, she was found to have infectious diseases such as syphilis. Out of humanitarian consideration, the county public security bureau terminated the measures against her on May 10, 2017. Except the 20 days of criminal detention, Mihrigul was totally free while in China. She was never sentenced, nor did she study in any vocational education and training center, let alone being forced to take medications. There are no records of her undergoing a sterilization procedure in China.
Lie No. 5: Xinjiang sets up “re-education camps” to detain millions of Uygur Muslims.
Xinjiang has never had any so-called “re-education camps.”
— The vocational education and training centers established in Xinjiang in accordance with the law were education and training institutions in nature and were preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures taken by Xinjiang. The aim was to eradicate the breeding ground for terrorism and extremism from the source. The relevant measures drew on the international community’s experience in combating terrorism and deradicalization and implemented the idea of using development, education, and other resources to curb extremist ideologies, as advocated in the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. It fully complied with the principles and spirit of a series of international counter-terrorism resolutions, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures have achieved positive results. There have been no violent terrorist cases for over four consecutive years in the region.
— The vocational education and training centers offered a curriculum that included standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law and training in vocational skills to achieve the goal of deradicalization. By October 2019, all the trainees in such centers had completed their studies and graduated, and most of them have found stable jobs and lived a peaceful life.
Lie No. 6: Xinjiang vocational education and training centers exercised “religious control,” political indoctrination, intimidation and torture over the trainees.
The vocational education and training centers fully respected and protected trainees’ freedom of religious belief, ethnic customs and habits, and the right to use their own ethnic spoken and written languages. The trainees could decide on their own whether to take part in legal religious activities when they got home; a variety of nutritious Muslim food was provided free of charge; and the regulations, curriculum, and menus at the centers all used local ethnic languages as well as standard Chinese.