URUMQI, April 24 (APP): China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region enjoys social stability and sound economic development while the people belonging to all ethnic groups including Muslims living in a complete harmony, Deputy Governor Erkin Tuniyaz said.
“Xinjiang’s religious freedom and social and economic stability is well maintained and presence of concentration camps and allegations of genocide and forced labour are blatant lies,” he said while briefing a group of foreign media stationed in Beijing.
He said the region’s government fully protects normal religious activities and needs of believers and makes great efforts to improve the conditions of religious venues and activities.
“We protect believers’ normal religious activities and needs and make great efforts to improve the conditions of religious venues and activities,” he added.
The deputy governor said no restrictions have been imposed on Muslims who want to observe the fasting during the month of Ramazan and they are fully free to offer prayers in the mosques as the normal religious practices are protected by the Chinese Constitution and Xinjiang’s regulations on religious affairs.
However, the rules forbid activities that disrupt public order, harm people’s health or obstruct the national education system under the guise of religion, he added.
About anti-terrorism and extremism drive in Xinjiang, he said, “Our efforts are not against any particular religion or ethnic group and it is in line with the United Nations Charter.”
“We welcome the UN officials, relevant world organisations and foreign media to Xinjiang who are interested to assess situation in the region in a fair and objective manner,” he added.
Sharing some details about efforts for fighting and preventing terrorism, he informed from 1999 to the end of 2016, separatist, terrorist and extremist forces launched thousands of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, killing ordinary people, assassinating religious leaders, endangering public security, attacking government organs, and planning riots.
So far, Xinjiang has seen no violent terrorist attack for three consecutive years, with infiltration of extremism being effectively contained, he added.
Erkin also dismissed allegations of forced labour in the agriculture sector and said the rights of labourers have been protected under the laws and regulations and the government has ensured mechanised sowing and harvesting of cotton crop in the region.
“The allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang are baseless as there are rules and regulations to protect the rights of the labour and workers,” he added.
Xu Guixiang, Spokesperson of Xinjiang People’s Government told the journalists that the training centers and vocational education are designed to save those who committed minor crimes or offences, adding that all the trainees have graduated and got jobs with the support of government.
Xu said the ambassadors and senior diplomats and journalists from various countries visited Xinjiang and expressed their complete satisfaction over the situation in the province.
He said a total of 10 Islamic institutes have been established across the region to train clergy in mosques, so as to meet people’s religious needs.
People could access religious information through channels including authorized religious sites, periodicals and websites, he said.
To improve the infrastructure in mosques, “Xinjiang has also launched a programme to add facilities including tap water, electricity, heating, toilets, and radio and television to such places,” he said, adding mosque clergy members have been included in the social security system and were granted living allowances every month.
Elijan Anayat, Spokesperson of Xinjiang Government declared that all the trainee at vocational and training centers have graduated and started their own business or joined jobs in Xinjiang and other parts of China.
“There was not a single incident of terrorism happened in Xinjiang during the last four years,” he added.
He said, “All Muslims in Xinjiang enjoy complete religious freedom and they offer five-time prayers and observe fasting.”
There are more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang representing a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average.
Xinjiang Autonomous Region, home of around 22 million people mostly Uygur population, borders eight countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and India.