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Progress on rights in Xinjiang detailed
March 16,2019   By:China Daily

March 16, 2019 -- Before a packed room in the United Nations' Geneva Office, Chinese officials, experts and foreign diplomats shared their views on Wednesday about human rights progress in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of China.

Zuliyati Simayi, a professor at the School of Political Science and Public Administration of Xinjiang University, spoke on Xinjiang's history, culture and religion.

Her talk was brief but included key evidence showing how Xinjiang, with an area of 1.66 million square kilometers, has evolved in its long history as a multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural region that borders on eight countries.

"Xinjiang has been an inalienable part of China's territory since ancient times. The various ethnic groups in Xinjiang are members of the Chinese nation. Xinjiang has been a land of multireligious harmony and cultural integration," she told about 300 people who attended, most of whom were in Geneva to attend the ongoing 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Zhang Nan, a researcher at the Anti-Terrorism Law School of Northwest University of Political Science and Law in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, and a member of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, talked about the serious harm done to Xinjiang by violence, terror and religious extremism.

Zhang, who was born and raised in Xinjiang, cited detailed cases of how violence, terror and religious extremism have trampled on the basic human rights of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including the right to freedom of religious belief.

He said China's religious policy, including the fact that schools, except for religious institutions, are not allowed under Chinese law to conduct any religious activities inside the schools, is sometimes misunderstood.

"The legitimacy and necessity of the measures in countering terrorism and eradicating extremism taken by Xinjiang, including the vocational education and training programs, to protect its citizens' lives and property and freedom of religious belief, are beyond all doubt," Zhang said.

Li Changlin, a law professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, detailed the legal basis for fighting terrorism and extremism through vocational training in Xinjiang and said China has built an effective legal framework for combating terrorism.

Yu Jianhua, head of the Chinese mission to the UN Office at Geneva, said, "China will never allow Xinjiang to go back to the days of raging violence, terror and extremism and will never allow those forces to take away the peaceful and happy life from the people in Xinjiang." He added that conducting vocational education and training programs based on law is the right thing to do.

Vadim Pisarevich, deputy permanent representative of Belarus to the UN Office at Geneva, told the audience what he saw after a visit to the vocational education and training program in Xinjiang. "Those young people eat very healthy and they study hard," he said.

Nikita Zhukov, deputy permanent representative of Russia to the UN's Geneva office, who also visited the vocational education and training program in Xinjiang, said he was impressed by the social and economic development in Xinjiang.

Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, Cuba's permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva, said he was impressed by the social and economic progress in Xinjiang.

By: Chen Weihua