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Response to Media Query by Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in New Zealand on the Joint Statement on Xinjiang by New Zealand and Australia

Q: On March 23th, the Foreign Ministers of New Zealand and Australia have issued a joint statement to raise their concern regarding the human rights issues in Xinjiang. What is your comment?

A: Xinjiang affairs are entirely China's internal affairs where there's no place for other country to interfere. Some countries and media have been fabricating and spreading groundless disinformation about Xinjiang to smear China's image, vilify its Xinjiang policy. What is more, some countries recently imposed unilateral sanctions on relevant Chinese individuals and entity, citing the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. Such move disregards and distorts facts, grossly interferes in China's internal affairs, flagrantly breaches international law and basic norms governing international relations. China strongly condemns this and has announced sanctions on relevant entities and personnel.

Xinjiang-related issues are in essence about countering terrorism and de-radicalization, not about human rights. A few years ago, Xinjiang witnessed thousands of violent terrorist cases, bringing sufferings to hundreds and thousands of innocent people. In this context, the Chinese government firmly cracked down on terrorism and took preventative measures to achieve de-radicalization through education. The region has been earnestly implementing the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which is consistent with the principles and spirit of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. There has never been so-called “forced labour” and “religious oppression” in Xinjiang. They are simply malicious and politically-driven hypes, and couldn't be further from the truth.

Over the past 40 years, the population of the Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang has increased from 5.5 million to 12.8 million, and the average life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 years. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including the Uyghurs, enjoy each and every constitutional and lawful right. The fact that Xinjiang residents of various ethnic groups enjoy stability, security, development and progress, makes it one of the most successful human rights stories. Over the past years, more than 1,200 diplomats, journalists and religious personnel from over 100 countries visited Xinjiang and saw the region with their eyes, knowing that what they witnessed was entirely different from some western media reports. The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome all, who really want to know Xinjiang's development to visit the region, but we firmly oppose any condescending presumption of guilt.

Xinjiang-related affairs are entirely China's internal affairs, which deems no foreign interference. China is determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests. We urge the New Zealand side to observe international law and basic norms governing international relations, respect China’s sovereignty, and stop using Xinjiang to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

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