“Thick Mountains Could Not Stop the River from Flowing into the Sea”:Break Xinjiang-related Lies and Fallacies

LUO Weidong, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto

A saying goes that, you could never learn the true magnificence and beauty of China without visiting Xinjiang. This kind of beauty is not only limited to scenery and people, but also economic growth, social stability, solidarity among all ethnic groups. By the majestic Tianshan Mountains and Kunlun Mountains, the Pamir Plateau and the Tarim River, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is vibrant and picturesque, presenting a good situation of people living and working in peace and harmony.

For some time, some media in certain countries with ulterior motives have made groundless accusations against Xinjiang, China, and disseminated many lies and fallacies. In order to avoid Canadian friends who have not been to Xinjiang from being misled without knowing the truth, today I would like to give you a real and vivid picture of Xinjiang. 

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government has enriched the strategy for the governance of Xinjiang with the following guidelines: governing Xinjiang in accordance with the law, maintaining stability in the region through ethnic unity, nourishing the cultures of Xinjiang, promoting prosperity among the local population, and developing Xinjiang from a long-term perspective. Currently, China’s Xinjiang is enjoying sustained economic development, freedom of religious belief and the improvement of people’s livelihoods. Different ethnic groups live together in harmony and enjoy unprecedented cultural prosperity. 

It has been proved that Xinjiang’s development can bring more benefits to people of all ethnic groups.

From 1952 to 2023, the GDP of Xinjiang increased from 791 million yuan to 1910 billion yuan. By the end of 2020, the problem of absolute poverty in Xinjiang has been solved historically. 

With its unique advantages in location, policy and resources, Xinjiang has further implemented the innovation-driven development strategy in order to follow the new path of industrialization,focusing on the development of the region’s “eight major industrial clusters”, such as oil and gas exploration, strategic energy production, and the grain, cotton, fruit and livestock industries. Xinjiang is striving to create a forward-looking and strategic “incubator”, and cultivating new quality productive forces.

The living standards of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have steadily improved, and the happiness index has kept rising.

Over the past 6 decades, the population of Xinjiang increased 4 times to more than 25.85 million, and the average life expectancy has increased from less than 30 years to 75.65 years. The Uygur population in Xinjiang has doubled from 5.55 million to more than 12 million.

Xinjiang has made employment the priority among its measures for improving the people’s wellbeing. It has adopted a pro-employment strategy and proactive employment policy. While promoting employment, Xinjiang guarantees legitimate labor rights and interests in accordance with the law. People of all ethnic groups enjoy complete freedom of labor and employment. In the past decade, the annual per capita disposable income of Xinjiang residents has more than doubled. Their livelihood has been ever improving through their work with more job opportunities and higher income.

Great importance has been attached to documenting and protecting excellent traditional ethnic cultures of Xinjiang.

Various outstanding cultures and traditions are well preserved and passed on to succeeding generations. Religious freedom and harmony is fully respected and protected. Lawful religious practices are managed by religious groups and the believers themselves with no external interference. 

Xinjiang promotes the use of Putonghua as the standard spoken language in accordance with the law. At the same time, all ethnic groups have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages. People can freely choose which language to use for communication. Furthermore, Xinjiang Radio and Television Station broadcasts television and radio programs in several languages on a daily basis. Xinjiang Daily newspaper along with several local newspapers are published in multiple languages as well. Additionally, the streets of Xinjiang display shop signs that incorporate both Mandarin Chinese and minority languages.

The three major heroic epics of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including the Kirgiz Manas, have all been officially published. A number of significant historical and cultural heritage sites of ethnic minorities, like the Id Kah Mosque, have been carefully preserved and protected.

In 2023, Xinjiang received over 265 million visitors from home and abroad,which is a record high and achieved a total tourism revenue of nearly 300 billion yuan.

With the deepening of the Belt and Road Initiative, today’s Xinjiang has become a pivotal area of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

A major corridor for opening up has taken shape. A large number of major projects in infrastructures like transportation and water conservancy have been completed and put into operation. A group of local enterprises speed up “going global”.

The foreign trade of Xinjiang surged by 51.4 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2024, much higher than the national growth rate, with the region’s total imports and exports reached 63.69 billion yuan during this period, ushering in a “good start”…

My friends, the solid achievements made in the cause of human rights and social development in Xinjiang are there for all to see. These figures are visible and tangible, and these achievements have been made by the people of all ethnic groups under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

But meanwhile, politicians of certain countries still treat China with bias and even hatred. Their wide accusation of “forced labor” in Xinjiang demonstrates that they deliberately ignore the aforesaid facts and statistics. The enforcement of the so-called “Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act”on the basis of such a lie to go after Xinjiang companies is aimed at hoodwinking the international community and containing Xinjiang’s development.

The sanctions on Xinjiang cotton are essentially an attempt to use “forced labor”as a pretext to create forced unemployment and poverty in Xinjiang, undermining prosperity, stability and development in Xinjiang and curbing China’s development .

Xinjiang cotton is popular around the world for its long fiber length and high strength. The cotton industry is one of Xinjiang’s pillar industries and an important source of income for people in the region. In recent years, mechanization of cotton production has been increasingly prevalent in Xinjiang, by using drones to spray pesticides and autonomous tractors to sow seeds and harvest cotton. All companies involved in the industrial chain sign contracts with their employees in accordance with China’s Labor Law and Labor Contract Law to guarantee their legal incomes and social security benefits. Where is the so-called “forced labor”? Such lies cannot stand the scrutiny of the fact that Xinjiang people live a happy life.

These people spread lies to smear China because they cannot stand the following facts: Xinjiang is moving from the hinterland to the frontier of opening-up under the Belt and Road Initiative; Xinjiang is becoming a hub connecting China with markets in Central Asia and Europe; Xinjiang products is selling globally; Xinjiang people of all ethnic groups are closely united as family members and living a good life, just like pomegranate seeds sticking together to each other.

Such intention and behavior so as to mess up Xinjiang and contain China is in itself against human rights. “Thick mountains could not stop the river from flowing into the sea.”Protected by more than 1.4 billion Chinese people and supported by more and more foreign friends, Xinjiang will only get better and better.

Xinjiang is open to the outside world. We sincerely welcome more Canadian friends to visit this beautiful and promising land of China. Xinjiang is the place for you to explore stunning snow mountains, pristine lakes, vast grasslands, and seemingly endless deserts all at the same time, to appreciate the intangible cultural heritage such as Muqam art and DoLan culture, to taste the mouthwatering ethnic snacks, and to feel the beauty, harmony, prosperity and stability of Xinjiang. Welcome to China, welcome to Xinjiang!