Increasing international (and Muslim) support for China’s human rights achievements in Xinjiang (updated)

Update: the letter mentioned below now includes 50 signatories, from countries whose population totals 2 billion. Of these, 28 are Muslim-majority countries.

‘No investigation, no right to speak [meiyou diaocha jiu meiyou fanyanquan]’.

This Chinese saying is particularly relevant for some in a small number of former colonising countries who like to make unfounded statements about China. That they have been used to seeing the world in their image is obvious; that they misunderstand much of the rest of the world is also obvious. But times are changing fast, for the voices from precisely such parts are increasingly strong and being heard.

Xinjiang and its highly successful counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation programs are a case in point. In contrast to the former colonisers, many foreign delegations and journalists from other countries have visited Xinjiang and undertaken proper investigation. Notably, this includes investigators from Muslim-majority and developing countries, which support China’s approach.

One recent result of this process of investigation is a joint letter from the ambassadors of 37 countries, which was sent to the UN’s human rights council. The letter indicates strong support for China’s successes in Xinjiang and its promotion of a Chinese Marxist approach to human rights. \

As Xinhua news reports:

July 12 (Xinhua) — Ambassadors of 37 countries on Friday sent a joint letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to show their support for China on its “remarkable achievements in the field of human rights”.

“We commend China’s remarkable achievements in the field of human rights by adhering to the people-centered development philosophy and protecting and promoting human rights through development,” the joint letter said.

“We also appreciate China’s contributions to the international human rights cause,” it said.

The ambassadors expressed their “firm opposition” to relevant countries’ practice of politicizing human rights issues, by naming and shaming, and publicly exerting pressures on other countries.

“We urge the OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and relevant Special Procedures mandate holders to conduct their work in an objective and impartial manner according to their mandate and with true and genuinely credible information, and value the communication with member states,” the joint letter said.

The letter was signed by the ambassadors to UN at Geneva from Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Nigeria, Angola, Togo, Tajikistan, Philippines, Belarus and a number of other countries from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world.

RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN COUNTER-TERRORISM

As for issues related to China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the UN envoys said that terrorism, separatism and religious extremism have caused enormous damage to people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, which has seriously infringed upon human rights, including right to life, health and development.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers,” they noted.

They mentioned that safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people of all ethnic groups there are safeguarded.

“The past three consecutive years has seen not a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang and people there enjoy a stronger sense of happiness, fulfillment and security,” the envoys stressed.

The ambassadors said they noted “with appreciation” that human rights are respected and protected in China in the process of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.

“We appreciate China’s commitment to openness and transparency. China has invited a number of diplomats, international organizations officials and journalist to Xinjiang to witness the progress of the human rights cause and the outcomes of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization there,” they said, adding that what they saw and heard in Xinjiang completely contradicted what was reported in some western media.

“We call on relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang,” they concluded.

FULL SUPPORT FROM LOCAL PEOPLE

At the end of the letter, the ambassadors, on behalf of the respective country of them, request that this letter be recorded as an official document of the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council and be published on the official UN Website.

Friday marked the last day of the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which started on June 24.

Li Song, the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of China to UN at Geneva, spoke on Friday at a UN Human Rights Council session, expressing appreciation and gratitude to the 37 ambassadors for their supports.

Li Song told the Council that China welcomes those who truly adhere to the principles of objectivity and fairness to come to visit Xinjiang, to take a look and feel its beauty, prosperity, hospitality, development and progress.

Once plagued by terrorist attacks, Li said, Xinjiang was determined to take lawful actions to fight crimes of violence and terrorism, and at the same time to take prevention and de-radicalization means to address the root causes, including the setting up of vocational education and training centers.

“Now these measures have achieved good results and gained full support from the local people,” the senior Chinese diplomat said.

“The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, along with the entire Chinese people, will stride forward to build a brighter future of their own,” Li added.

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