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Spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs answers questions on the so-called Genocide issue

Spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Hua Chunying answers questions on the so-called Genocide issue at the regular press conference on February 19, 2021. The full text is as follows.

The Paper: There are reports that the Canadian foreign minister said his government is gravely concerned about human rights conditions in Xinjiang and hopes independent investigators can conduct work in China. Canada's Conservative Party moved to officially designate China's actions in Xinjiang "genocide". Several U.S. lawmakers have reintroduced the updated version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the House of Representatives. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne earlier urged China to "allow international observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to be given immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity". Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: Indeed, lately certain people in Canada, the United States and Australia have been clattering noisily and spreading lies on Xinjiang. But frankly speaking, every time they do so, the world just sees more clearly their ignorance and absurdity, and their self-claimed moral high ground of democracy and human rights is further chipped away.

As to the true situation in Xinjiang, the Chinese side, including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, has given detailed information in many ways. Regrettably though, these people apparently don't want to listen and couldn't hear it. I would like to stress the four points today.

First, allegations of "genocide" and "forced labor" are lies of the century. They were ugly farces directed by a handful of colluding individuals in the political, media and academic fields in Western countries including the United States, Canada and Australia. These people have never been to Xinjiang. They have no idea what a beautiful place it is and how residents are enjoying their lives. Xinjiang's Uyghur population more than doubled in the past 40 years. Have they ever seen this kind of genocide? Perhaps in their mind, ethnic minorities in Xinjiang can only live with poverty, unemployment and discrimination just like minority groups in their own countries. Do they mean to deny the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang their right to choose a profession of their own free will, get equal treatment in seeking employment, and create a better life with their own hands? Foreigners, including many of you here, are free to learn Chinese. Don't ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, as citizens of the People's Republic of China, have the right to learn the common language of their own country? We can see the Uyghur language printed on the RMB banknote. Isn't this a token of ethnic equality in China? In 2019, Xinjiang received over 200 million tourists. If those accusing China truly wish to know the real Xinjiang, they are most welcome to visit the region, talk with the residents and see for themselves. That being said, we are firmly against the so-called investigation based on presumption of guilt.

Second, genocide actually took place in Canada, the United States and Australia. In the 1870s, the Canadian government included assimilation of indigenous people in its official agenda and openly advocated the killing of the Indian bloodline. Starting with indigenous children, residential schools were set up to carry out cultural genocide policies. School-age children of indigenous communities were forcibly taken from their families, converted to the Christian church and taught the English language. Incomplete statistics show over 150,000 indigenous children were sent to such schools, of which more than 50,000 died of abuses. The crimes the Canadian government has committed against the indigenous people throughout many years include depriving them of their land and resources and assimilating their language, heritage and culture. As a result, there is a disproportionately high occurrence of depression, drug use, alcoholism, suicide and crimes in the indigenous community. In Canadian prisons, 60 percent of inmates are indigenous residents. Indigenous women and children are 12 times more likely to be murdered or to go missing compared with other groups, with the likelihood being 16 times higher than white people.

In the United States, in nearly 100 years after the country was founded, native Indians were expelled and killed during the Westward Expansion. Their population dwindled from 5 million to 250,000, less than one twentieth of the original. In recent years, in the name of fighting terrorism and upholding human rights, the United States roiled turmoil in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, causing millions of innocent casualties. Caught in the conflict are without exception Muslim countries.

In Australia, there was the infamous White Australia Policy. Under genocide policies, 100,000 aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families, separating children from parents and leaving them heart-broken. The lingering pain inflicted on the Stolen Generations can still be felt clearly today across the whole society.

These true episodes in these countries' history would probably not come to people's mind today if certain individuals were not turning a blind eye to domestic issues while leveling groundless accusations against China. I wonder what the politicians from the three countries you mentioned have to say to the record of blood and tears of their minority communities? Will they condemn it?

Third, some in the West like to talk about human rights with other countries condescendingly, acting as a judgemental "lecturer". But I believe, no matter when and no matter which country or society we are talking about, the first order in protecting human rights is to ensure every individual's right to life and health and defend the value and dignity of every life. To live a life free from want, with food on the table and a roof over one's head, that is what I call basic human rights.

During the recent Spring Festival holiday, the usual mass movement in China was not possible due to COVID-19. However, the Chinese people had a safe and happy holiday strolling in parks, going to the cinema and enjoying the company of loved ones at home. Over this period, movie theaters sold 160 million tickets; express delivery service increased by 260 percent; local tour booking saw over 300 percent increase in orders. At the same time, a cold spell gripped the southern U.S. state of Texas, causing power outages affecting millions of households. Without electricity to heat their homes, people are in dire straits. Dozens of lives have been claimed. All this has given us a deeper understanding of what human rights truly mean and how to better protect them. We are more convinced that we are on the right path and have every confidence in the future.

Fourth, relevant individuals in the three countries disregard plain facts and keep concocting and disseminating lies about Xinjiang with no moral scruples. Their true aim is to use human rights as a cover to meddle in China's internal affairs, undermine China's security and stability and contain its development. But these attempts are all futile. A word of advice to them: attend to their own people and focus more on addressing domestic problems. Should anyone choose to harm Chinese interests, we will surely make firm and necessary responses.

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