"Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land"
(February 3, 2021)
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
My warm greetings to you all!
My name is Erkin Tuniyaz, now serving as a member of the Standing Committee of CPC Xinjiang Committee and vice governor of the People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. In June 2019, I had the pleasure to attend the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council. Now after one and a half year, I'm very glad to brief your excellencies on the remarkable achievements in Xinjiang's economic and social development.
Xinjiang has been an integral and inseparable part of China, and a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-religious region since ancient times. It has been an important channel for the exchanges between eastern and western civilizations. The famous Silk Road connected ancient China with the rest of the world through this place. In recent years, under the strong leadership of CPC Central Committee and vigorous support of Xinjiang-aiding provinces and municipalities, and thanks to the arduous effort of the 25 million people of all ethnic groups in this region, Xinjiang has made unprecedented achievements in socio-economic development and livelihood improvement.
Economic development continues to improve. From 2015 to 2020, Xinjiang's regional GDP grew from 930.69 billion yuan to 1.38 trillion yuan, with an annual increase of 6.1%. As reform and opening-up deepens, the development of the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt has been further advanced, the industrial structure constantly optimized, and the infrastructure continuously improved, with all prefectures and cities having got access to expressways.
The people's living standards have made significant stride. The urban and rural basic public services have been improved, with the social security system being gradually elevated, free health examination covering all residents, and medical facilities in farming and herding areas getting notably better. In 2020, Xinjiang urban residents' per capita disposable income reached 34,838 yuan, increasing by 5.8% annually over the past five years and 2.4 times that of 2010. The rural residents' per capita disposable income registered 14,056 yuan, up 8.5% annually over the past five years and 2.82 times that of 2010.
A decisive victory has been achieved in poverty alleviation. In 2020, 3.06 million people under the current poverty line were lifted out of poverty. All the 3,666 poverty stricken villages and 35 impoverished counties shook off poverty. The problem of absolute poverty in Xinjiang has been solved historically.
Ethnic unity is further consolidated. Xinjiang has extensively carried out the "Family of Ethnic Unity" and other programs for enhancing ethnic unity and solidarity, so as to promote communication, exchanges and integration among the ethnic groups, guide them to broaden the ways to get better-off, and help them solve practical difficulties in their work and life such as problems in employment, schooling and medical service. All ethnic groups are firmly united as the seeds of a pomegranate that stick together.
Various religions coexist in harmony and stability. Xinjiang protects its people's freedom of religious belief, fully meet the faithful's needs for their normal religious activities. Islamic classics and popular books have been translated and published, infrastructure conditions for religious venues markedly improved and the public service level continuously upgraded. All these have won wide praise and support from the religious believers.
The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang fully enjoy the rights to life and development, and the ethnic minorities' traditional cultures, languages and folk customs are well protected and inherited. From 2010 to 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang grew from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, up by 2.55 million or 25%, much higher than the regional population growth rate of 14%. The Uygur Muqam and Kirgiz epic Manas were enlisted by UNESCO into Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. While promoting and standardizing the use of the country's common language, ethnic minority languages are widely used in judicature, administration, education, press and publication, radio and television, internet and public affairs. In the fight against COVID-19, we have carried forward and practiced the great anti-epidemic spirit, given top priority to the people and their lives, taken scientific and targeted containment measures, effectively curbed the spread of the epidemic and made major achievements in epidemic prevention and control, thus protecting to the maximum extent the life and health of the people across the region.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, Xinjiang of China once suffered tremendously from ethnic separatism, violent terrorism and religious extremism. From 1990s to 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces at home and abroad plotted, organized and launched thousands of violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people, showing callous distain for the people's rights to life, health, development and other human rights. Terrorism and extremism are the common enemy of human society, and the target of joint action by the international community.
We prioritize safeguarding the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups. Upholding the principle of fighting and preventing terrorism at the same time, Xinjiang has been taking aggressive action against violent terrorist crimes while addressing the problem at its source. On the basis of implementing the UN's Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, we took preventive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures and established the vocational education and training centers according to law. With the curriculum centering on the country's common language, legal knowledge and vocational skills and deradicalization being integrated into the whole program, the centers educated and rehabilitated people influence by religious extremism and guilty with minor crimes, in order to prevent them from falling into victims to terrorism and extremism, and maximize effort to protect the citizens' basic human rights from infringement.
By October, 2019, all trainees of these facilities had graduated. Now, they have got stable jobs and are living a normal life. So far, Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist attack for four years in a row, with the infiltration and spreading of extremism being effectively curbed and the number of various criminal and public security cases being substantially reduced. In 2019, Xinjiang received more than 200 million domestic and foreign tourists. The people of all ethnic groups are sharing dividends brought by social stability, and their sense of fulfillment, happiness and particularly security has been obviously enhanced.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Respecting and protecting human rights is China's constitutional principle. The Chinese government has always valued protecting its citizens' right to work and resolutely prevented and eliminated any form of forced labor. Xinjiang's labor and employment security policies and practices are fully in line with the Chinese Constitution and laws, the international labor and human rights standards, and the strong desire of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to live a better life. As they benefit the people's livelihood, meet the people's aspiration, they have also won extensive support from the people. Xinjiang workers of all ethnic groups choose their jobs according to their own wills, and sign labor contracts with employers on the basis of equality, voluntariness and consensus in accordance with national laws and regulations. They will not be discriminated against because of different ethnic backgrounds, genders and religious beliefs.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
In Xinjiang today, the society is stable, and the people live a peaceful and contented life. All ethnic groups living in Xinjiang have their personal experience about it. Following the principle of governing Xinjiang according to law, stabilizing Xinjiang with ethnic solidarity, nurturing Xinjiang with culture, invigorating Xinjiang by enriching its people and building Xinjiang with long-term endeavors, we will seize the opportunities brought by the new development phase, uphold the new development philosophy and accelerate the building of a new development paradigm. We will spare no effort to develop Xinjiang into a region that is united, harmonious, prosperous and culturally advanced, with healthy ecosystems and people living and working in contentment, and a region featuring socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.