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Lies about “Forced Labour” in Xinjiang: Ignorance and Hypocrisy

  Xinjiang, a Uygur autonomous region in north-western China, is renowned for its quality cotton that attracts customers worldwide. The production of cotton, on which the livelihood of many people in Xinjiang rely, is the blessing of sunshine, rain, land and most importantly, honest diligence. Much to the indignation of those people, some western countries, along with BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) and some undiscriminating company as their underling, fabricate egregious lies about Xinjiang cotton and label it as the product of “forced labour”, something non-existent in Xinjiang. Therefore, the unjustified western sanctions against China and boycott of Xinjiang cotton by BCI is, in essence, the rerun of a repetitive attempt to interfere in China’s domestic issues and drive a wedge among China’s ethnic groups, which is doomed to fail and will meet resolute counterpunch from the Chinese government and Chinese people.

  The entire process of cotton production in Xinjiang is legal and above board. For a period of time, Xinjiang people were low in employment and income, and a large number of migrant workers from other provinces chose to travel to Xinjiang for cotton every year. However, the crying need for the government to raise employment rate of the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang is ever increasing. In order to respond to the call of the people and improve their living standards, the Chinese government starts to provide vocational skills training for workers in Xinjiang. After graduation, they are free to sign labour contracts with any company on an equal and voluntary basis, and will not be discriminated against on ethnicity, gender, or religious beliefs. The Chinese government’s innovative policy not only safeguards the legitimate rights to work for the ethnic minorities, but also strengthens the cause of poverty alleviation in Western China.

  Therefore, the so-called “forced labour” in Xinjiang is absolute falsehood fabricated by some anti-China elements out of thin air. In effect, the existence of “forced labour” is not determined by some countries, organizations and people’s arbitrary judgment, but by a unambiguous definition commonly acknowledged by the international community, which was passed by the International Labour Organization in 1930. In the Forced Labour Convention, “forced labour” is defined as "all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily." However, given the fact that people in Xinjiang choose their vocation and place to work based on their free will and are remunerated fairly and decently, how could anyone claim that they are “forced” with regard to the international definition?

  The Chinese government has enunciated many times that Xinjiang related issues concerns anti-terrorism, anti-splittism and de-radicalization instead of targeting any certain religious belief nor infringing human rights. At present, the overall situation in Xinjiang’s society is stable, the people live and work in peace and contentment, and unprecedented achievements have been made in economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood. Essential human rights, namely rights to survival, health, and development enjoyed by the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are fully guaranteed.

  Numbers speak volumes—from 2014 to 2019, the GDP of Xinjiang has increased from 919.59 billion RMB yuan to 1359.71 billion RMB yuan, with an average annual growth of 7.2%; 3.0649 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty; the average life expectancy of Xinjiang has increased from 30 years in the early days of the founding of the people's Republic of China to 72 years now; the Uygur population has increased from 5.55 million 40 years ago to 12 million. Some western countries simply turn blind eyes to these undeniable facts and blatantly alleged that “genocide” is occurring in Xinjiang, which is a humiliation to the hard work of the Chinese government and Xinjiang people.

  The international community also has its fair judgement—many countries in the world, including Muslim countries, through joint letters and joint speeches on various multilateral occasions, have highly praised Xinjiang's achievements in anti-terrorism and de-radicalization, protection of citizens' freedom of religious belief and raising people’s living standards. At the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, more than 80 countries lent their support for China's legitimate position on Xinjiang related issues in the form of joint or separate statements. The public is not prone to be deceived, and several western countries do not represent the common belief of the world. What the anti-China forces concerns is not "human rights" or the truth. Instead, they engage in political manipulation under the guise of "human rights" in an attempt to fabricate and hype the so-called "genocide" issue, in order to undermine Xinjiang’s security and stability as well as hinder China’s development.

  Time for the final curtain to come down on this Xinjiang-related farce. We believe that people with insight and the international community would choose to listen to the common aspiration of more than 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang rather than trusting the hocus-pocus of some anti-China elements as well as recognize the substantial socio-economic development in Xinjiang rather than heeding to an exclusive caucus that babbles meaningless rhetoric on self-defined human rights. The pure white cotton in Xinjiang brooks no blackening, just as the internal affairs of China brook no foreign interference.

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