By Zhao Yong
China is a unified multiethnic country, and the various ethnic groups in Xinjiang have long been part of the Chinese nation. Xinjiang was formally included in Chinese territory in the Han Dynasty(202 B.C.-220A.D.), and since then Xinjiang has always been a part of Chinese territory. The history of XingJiang proves it is the indivisible part of China, and administering Xinjiang is the duty and internal affairs of Chinese government.
In 1955, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was established. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, all ethnic groups in Xinjiang united and worked with other groups across the country, opening a period of unprecedented social progress for this region. The people of Xinjiang built and developed their hometown economically, socially and culturally. The road to prosperity should have been smooth if not disturbed by hostile forces in and outside China, especially separatists, religious extremists and terrorists from 1980s, who tried to destabilize and split Xinjiang from China by distorting history, religion and facts. They denied the fact that Xinjiang has been a part of China where various ethnic groups have lived together, many cultures have communicated with each other, and different religions have coexisted since ancient times. They attempted to separate some ethnic groups in Xinjiang from China’s big family of ethnics.
Religious extremism, which constitutes the ideological base of ethnic separatism and terrorism, is by nature anti-human, anti-society, anti-civilization, and anti-religion. Terrorism intended to realize its political and extreme goals by unrestricted terrorist attacks. Separatism, extremism and terrorism violate the principles of human rights, crazily kill ordinary people, brutally murder of Islamic scholars, blatantly attack on government agencies, maliciously riot to seriously endangering public safety.
From 1990 to the end of 2016, separatists, religious extremists and terrorists plotted and carried out several thousand acts of terrorism such as bombings, assassinations, poisoning, arson, assaults, and riots in Xinjiang. Many innocent people and police officers were killed. The property losses incurred were enormous. The smooth economic and social development in Xinjiang was seriously undermined.
In order to protect the safety of people’s lives and property, maintain social stability and national unity, in accordance with laws, Xinjiang administration determined to crack down on all separatist, extremist and terrorist activities. In recent years, especially after 2016, on the one hand Xinjiang stepped up the fight against terrorists and extremists, on the other hand Xingjiang adopted a variety of measures to rejuvenate economic and social development. By all these methods, Xinjiang successfully eliminated the soil and conditions of terrorism and extremism, effectively curbing the frequent occurrence of terrorist activities, and won the fights against extremism and terrorism. Up to now, there have been no violent terrorist and extremist incidents in Xinjiang for nearly five years. The public security situation has improved significantly. The people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang live and work in peace and with satisfactions.
Economy grows strongly and social stability realized. In recent years, Xinjiang has been implementing the people-centered development principle, focusing on ensuring and improving people’s livelihood, and vigorously promoting projects benefiting people in employment, education, medical care, social security and other fields. This region has made unprecedented achievements in economic and social development and improvement of people’s livelihood. From 2014 to 2019, the GDP of Xinjiang increased from 919.59 billion yuan to 1.36 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent. The per capita disposable income in Xinjiang increased by an average annual rate of 9.1 percent. Remarkable achievements have been made in poverty alleviation. All 3.09 million impoverished people in Xinjiang have been lifted out of poverty. The absolute poverty problem in Xinjiang has been resolved historically.
The legitimate rights and interests of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been protected. All ethnic groups, regardless of their population, have the same legal status and enjoy various rights, including participation in the management of state affairs, freedom of religious belief, receiving education, using their own languages, and preserving their traditional culture.
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language stipulate that citizens have the right to learn and use the standard Chinese spoken and written language. The state provides them with related conditions. While promoting education in the Chinese language, Xinjiang also offers courses in the spoken and written languages of ethnic minority groups in accordance with the national curriculum plan for primary and secondary schools.
This safeguards the right of students from ethnic minority groups to learn their own spoken and written languages. It also effectively promotes the inheritance and development of ethnic minority languages and cultures.
All ethnic groups empowered with equal rights in every sectors. For example in human birth sector. In recent years, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has been growing steadily. From 2010 to 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang rose from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, an increase of 2.55 million or 25.04 percent. The growth rate of the Uygur population is not only higher than that of Xinjiang’s total population, which is 13.99 percent, but also higher than that of all ethnic minority groups, which is 22.14 percent, let alone the Han population’s 2 percent.
Presently, all ethnic people in Xinjiang are enjoying prosperity and harmony, thanks to the long-time and unified endeavors by both citizens and government of the largest province of China.
• (Mr. Zhao Yong is Charge d’Affairs of the Embassy of China in Nigeria)