Xinjiang Takes on a New Prosperous Look in Ethnic Unity
Ambassador Ma Xinmin Publishes Article on Sudanese Voice
9 February 2021
Situated in northwest China and in the hinterland of the Eurasian Continent, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the largest autonomous region in China with the most numerous ethnic groups. Since ancient times, Xinjiang has been a multiethnic region where diverse cultures blend and coexist. It is also a transport hub on the Silk Road. Now, Xinjiang stands out for its enduring ethnic solidarity and takes on a new look on its vast land.
China always has territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction over Xinjiang. With a review of history, we can easily find that through the long formative process of turning China into a unified multiethnic country, Xinjiang’s development has been closely related to that of the whole country and the Chinese nation. From the 2nd century BC in the Han Dynasty to the end of the 19th century in the middle and late Qing Dynasty, the vast areas both north and south of the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang were called the Western Regions. Xinjiang was formally included in Chinese territory in 60 BC. In successive dynasties, China has had territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction over Xinjiang as its traditional territory. After the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the central government has adopted the system of regional ethnic autonomy and established the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in the light of both the traditional coexistence of various ethnic groups and the actual circumstances. It was all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and across the country that worked together to develop China’s vast territories, build the diverse Chinese nation and form a community with a shared future in which everyone is bound together.
China always works hard to enhance the protection of human rights among all ethnic groups living in Xinjiang. Xinjiang has been home to various ethnic groups since ancient times. Harmonious scenes in which people with various ethnic background live joyfully together can been seen everywhere from the Pamirs to Junggar Basin and from at the foot of Altai Mountains to the Tarim riverside. In recent years, the Chinese government has been taking the protection of human rights of all ethnic groups as a lifeline project to safeguard locals’ interests. It has taken wider views and concrete actions in putting in place the system of regional ethnic autonomy. Organs of self-government are established for the exercise of the right of autonomy in areas where various ethnic minorities live in compact communities, whereby their right to get engaged in the development of political, economic, cultural and social causes is safeguarded. In the meanwhile, classroom teaching is delivered in both the standard Chinese and local ethnic languages. This ensures the right of various ethnic groups to have religious freedom, use their ethnic languages and carry forward traditional ethnic cultures, and eliminates language barriers and enhance people-to-people ties among all ethnic groups. The autonomous regional government has opened in Urumqi the Xinjiang Islamic Institute as well as eight branches across Xinjiang. The Koran and other religious books have been translated and published in Chinese, Uygur, Kazak and Kirgiz languages. Muslims of all ethnic groups could conduct, either in mosques or at home, normal religious activities, including reciting scriptures, attending religious services, praying, preaching, fasting, and celebrating Islamic festivals. In addition, the “United as One Family” initiative and other social events aimed to cement ethnic unity, launched in the autonomous region, have contributed to frequent exchanges and friendly ties among cadres and the masses of all ethnic groups. Through an array of successful practices that win public support, the human rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are truly safeguarded, and people from various ethnic groups share an increasingly strong desire to ensure unity, promote stability and seek development. This helps bring strong positive energy for shared progress and lay a solid foundation for social stability and progress.
China always does its utmost to advance economic and social development in Xinjiang and improve people’s living conditions there. The ensuing 65 years after the establishment of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has seen an 80-fold growth in Xinjiang’s economy, with significant progress in all undertakings and a big improvement of local people’s living conditions. As an essential part of China’s poverty reduction mission, the local battle against poverty in Xinjiang has achieved a decisive progress. As of the end of 2019, a total of 2.92 million people from 737,600 households have been lifted out of poverty. The poverty incidence dropped from 19.4 percent at the end of 2013 to 1.24 percent. The autonomous regional government rolled out a slew of preferential policies regarding medical care, social security and housing which are widely acclaimed by all ethnic groups across the region. Today’s Xinjiang is in a period of unprecedented prosperity in history and is making strides toward moderate prosperity in all aspects.
But meanwhile, politicians of a certain country and some western media still treat China with bias and even hatred. Their wide accusations against China on issues related to Xinjiang demonstrate that they deliberately ignore the aforesaid facts and statistics and distort China’s approach to interacting with the world in good faith. Facts speak louder than words, and fair-minded people can tell right from wrong. When it comes to judging the governance in Xinjiang, the various ethnic groups living there understand and know better than anyone else. No violent and terrorist incidents have occurred in Xinjiang for the past four years. Benefiting from peace and stability, locals are able to hang out in the bazaar and play with their children in public parks, without safety concerns. Storefronts are enabled to do business in a safe environment. Up to now China has released eight white papers on economic and social development in Xinjiang, and the autonomous regional government has held a total of 25 press conferences in this regard. More than 1,200 diplomats, reporters and representatives of religious organizations from over 100 countries have been invited to visit Xinjiang. Seeing local prosperity and stability in Xinjiang with their own eyes, they all applauded the achievements in Xinjiang’s fight against terrorism and extremism. As many foreign friends said, they viewed China as a mystery before they came but were fascinated after they arrived. We are delighted to see that Arab and Islamic countries including Sudan are not deceived by the lies told by the US and other Western countries, but stand for justice with the Chinese people. We welcome more Sudanese friends to visit Xinjiang after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, experience the autonomous region in person for what it really is and tell true stories about Xinjiang to the world.
By the majestic Tianshan Mountains and Kunlun Mountains, Xinjiang has experienced epoch-making changes and wrote a remarkable chapter of miracles of development. As an integral part of China, Xinjiang will definitely be made a greater success. There is no doubt that under the firm leadership of the Communist Party of China and with the endless efforts of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and the aid of the whole nation, Xinjiang will, with great pride, embark on a new journey toward leapfrog development and lasting peace and stability, and enjoy a broader development future.