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Xinjiang is a Land of Happiness.




By Yu Xueyong, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Chinese Embassy in Maldives

On May 13, the 30-day Ramadan in Xinjiang of China came to a peaceful and joyful end. Early in the morning, the local Muslim citizens from the Flaming Mountain Community flew into the nearby mosque for the Eid al-Fitr rituals. Though wearing face masks, they could still feel the happiness and joy by sharing pleasantries and greetings with each other.

People gathering in front of a mosque in Xinjiang, China at Eid al-Fitr

Such happiness and joy is the most intuitive reflection of the sense of contentment, happiness and security brought to the local people through the sustained economic and social development of the Xinjiang region in recent years.

According to statistics, Xinjiang’s GDP grew by 3.4% in 2020, 1.1% higher than the average of the nation, and over 3 million poor people in the region were all lifted out of poverty. Highway has found its way in all prefectures and cities, and all administrative villages are connected through tarmac roads, buses, power electricity and fiber optic broadband. 99.7% local residents enjoy basic medical insurance, and 100% local people enjoy free health check-ups.

Xinjiang has realized full coverage of nine-year compulsory education in the whole region, and southern part of Xinjiang goes further to cover three-year preschool and 12-year fundamental education.

The number of mosques in Xinjiang is now 10 times higher than it was 40 years ago, and the ratio of mosques per capita is even higher than that of some Muslim countries.

Undoubtedly, these achievements should be attributed to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to the continued successful implementation of the regional ethnic autonomy system and strategies on governance of Xinjiang of CPC, to the unity and hard work of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang as well as the strong support and assistance from the other parts of the country.

At the Third Central Symposium on Work Related to Xinjiang held last September, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era, demanding law-based governance and long-term efforts to develop Xinjiang into a region that is united, harmonious, prosperous, and culturally advanced, with healthy ecosystems and people living and working in contentment.

The strategy has pointed out the direction and injected momentum for the long-term prosperity and stability of the Xinjiang region.

Regrettably, in sharp contrast, some Western countries and media  have recently hyped so much the so-called “human rights abuses in Xinjiang” such as “genocide” and “forced labor” in the region. That came as a complete surprise and is pure Alice in Wonderland.

In recent years, I have been to Xinjiang many times and witnessed with my own eyes the hustle and bustle in local bazaars, the social life running in orderly manner, the people living and working in peace, and all ethnic groups staying together in unity and harmony. When I talked with the local people, I was told that what they want most was “peace” and “tranquility”.

I was not surprised at all. Actually, from 1990 until the end of 2016, thousands of violent terrorist attacks pounded on Xinjiang, causing great pain and suffering to people of all ethnic groups. The 2009 riot in Urumqi alone killed 197 people and injured more than 1,700.

In recent years, the local government has taken resolute and strong measures to combat terrorism, extremism and separatism and has realized substantial progress and significant effects, enabling the local people to enjoy peace and tranquility again.

Isn’t it the greatest human rights for the local people? Shouldn’t the Chinese government be respected and appreciated by the international community for its efforts to safeguard and develop the human rights of the people in Xinjiang?

As for “genocide” and “forced labor,” these terms are strictly defined by international law. It is the atrocities committed by certain countries during World War II that constitute “genocide” and “forced labor”, which was the darkest chapter of human history in modern times. History cannot be erased, nor can it be allowed to repeat.

In fact, what the Chinese government is doing in Xinjiang is fighting against violence, secession, and extremism, which is in the interests of the people. Under no circumstances could the tags of “genocide” and “forced labor” be imposed on China. Otherwise, how could people explain that Uyghur population in Xinjiang increased from 5.55 million to 12.8 million in the past 40 years? How could people explain the life expectancy of Uyghurs in Xinjiang increased from 30 years 6 decades ago to 72 years now? And how could people explain that with 100% mechanized cotton cultivation and 69.83% mechanized cotton picking in Xinjiang, the locals are actively engaged in cotton picking of their own free will and enjoying the lucrative rewards in return?

Obviously, if these Western countries and media are not ignorant and arrogant, then they must be bright persons who play dumb by fabricating sensational lies and rumors such as “genocide” and “forced labor” for the purpose of muddling and containing China with Xinjiang-related issues.

In fact, recently there have been more and more objective and unbiased international voices about Xinjiang. For example, Project Syndicate, U.S. investigation journalism website The Gray Zone, Counterpunch, and other media in Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Sweden, and South China Morning Post in Hong Kong have published articles pointing out that the so-called “forced labor” and “genocide” in Xinjiang are only a means of the western countries to discredit China, and revealing the double standards of the United States and other Western countries on the issue of anti-terrorism and the geopolitical conspiracy of “using Xinjiang-related issues to contain China”.

Just as a famous Chinese poem says that thick mountains could not stop the river from flowing into the sea, it is obvious that the smear campaign of a few countries and media outlets can never negate the good situation of long-term stability and unity in Xinjiang and its prosperous development. The Communist Party of China, the Chinese government and the Chinese people have the confidence and ability to build, develop and govern Xinjiang well.

Xinjiang is a land of happiness. I sincerely welcome Maldivian friends to visit Xinjiang and find out by their own eyes and hearts the unique history, picturesque landscape and remarkable development achievements of Xinjiang. That’s the real image of Xinjiang, a prosperous autonomous region of China.

Night view in Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang, China

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China's National Day Supplement

Remarks on Celebrating the 73rd Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China & the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between China and Maldives





This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past 73 years, earthshaking changes have taken place in China.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has coordinated the overall strategy of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation and the great change that has not happened in a century, have solved many tough problems that were long on the agenda but remained unsolved, accomplished many things of vital importance and long-term significance, and withstood the test of various risks and challenges at home and abroad. The Path of China’s development becomes wider and wider, the Governance of China becomes more and more mature, and the Theory of China becomes more and more prevailing. The Chinese people have successfully built a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fulfilled the first centenary goal. We are embarking on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country, march toward the second centenary goal, and advance toward the grand goal of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

This year is of great historical significance in the development of the CPC and China, as the 20th CPC National Congress will be convened on 16th of October. This Congress will, in response to the expectation of all the Chinese people, set well-conceived goals and tasks for China’s development in the next five years and beyond, and it will draw an overarching plan for China’s future development. Having reached a new historical starting point, China will follow the Chinese path to modernization to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China will work with other countries to make every effort for peace and development, shoulder the responsibility for solidarity and progress, build a community with a shared future for mankind, and embrace an even better world.

At present, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept resurfacing. Global security faces uncertainty. Global economic recovery is fragile and unsteady, and various risks and crises are emerging. The world has entered a new phase of turbulence and transformation. Changes unseen in a century are accelerating. At the same time, the world continues to move toward multi-polarity; economic globalization is deepening, and our societies are becoming increasingly digitized and culturally diversified. Indeed, countries are becoming ever more interconnected and interdependent. Peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Around the world, the people’s call for progress and cooperation is getting louder than ever before.

In response to the common aspiration of the international community for peace and development, and make up the global governance deficit, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Putting the people at the center, this initiative is a rallying call to refocus attention of the international community on development and build a global community of development. At the recent High-level Dialogue on Global Development he chaired, President Xi Jinping announced several dozen concrete major steps to implement this initiative, generating strong impetus for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. He called on the international community to pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, to take the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, to peacefully resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation, and to maintain security in both traditional and non-traditional domains. By putting forward this initiative, he has contributed China’s vision to reducing the peace deficit facing humanity and provided China’s input to meeting global security challenges.

As China has one-fifth of the global population, its march toward modernization has important, far-reaching significance for the world. The path that China pursues is one of peace and development, not one of plunder and colonialism; it is a path of win-win cooperation, not one of zero-sum game; and it is one of harmony between man and Nature, not one of destructive exploitation of resources. We will continue to contribute our input to meeting the challenges facing human development, and make our contribution to creating a new form of human advancement.

This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Maldives. Over the past half a century, China-Maldives relations have withstood the test of international vicissitudes and become more mature and stable. China and the Maldives have been upholding the spirit of friendship and neighborliness, treating each other as equals, conducting cooperation for development, supporting each other with mutual assistance and tiding over difficulties together. China highly appreciates the Maldives’ long-standing understanding and support for China’s just claims on issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns, and China also supports the Maldives in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and national dignity, and will continue to uphold justice for the Maldives at the international arena. The Maldivian government has a longstanding and firm commitment to the one-China principle. The China-Maldives relations have become a model of friendly exchanges, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation between countries with different systems and cultures in international arena.

In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-Maldives relations have maintained a good momentum of steady development. In September 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a historic state visit to Maldives and the two sides agreed to establish future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership, lifting the China-Maldives relations to a new level. In July 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone call with Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih and reached important consensus on deepening and expanding exchanges and cooperation in various fields between the two countries, setting the direction for the future development of the bilateral relations. In January 2022, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a successful visit to Maldives with fruitful outcomes, opening a new chapter in China-Maldives relations. Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid visited China twice over the past year, which enhanced the mutual trust and friendship between the leaders of the two countries, and laid a sound foundation for the future development of bilateral relations.

As an all-round friendly and cooperative partner, China has been always strongly supporting the Maldives to speed up economic and social development and improve self-development capability. Recent years have witnessed fruitful results on jointly building the “Belt and Road” by China and Maldives. The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge is a landmark project of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. Since it opens to traffic 4 year ago, the bridge has witnessed over 100 million crossings by the local people and has dramatically promoted the sustainable development of Maldivian economy and society. As foreign minister Abdulla Shahid said the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge built with China’s assistance had brought enormous changes to the country and greatly accelerated the economic development process of the Maldives and befitted the Maldivian people. So far Chinese companies has completed more than 11,000 social housing units, which have contributed a lot in the improvement of living conditions of thousands and thousands of Maldivian families. Power generation and power grid connection built by Chinese companies meet 80% of all electricity demand of the residents and enterprises in the Greater Malé. Expansion and Upgrading of Velana International Airport Project will further promote the development of Maldivian tourism. The great contributions made by the Chinese side to the development of Maldivian economy and society will further enhance the solid friendship between the two peoples.

Looking into the future on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the two countries should continue with the past and open up the future, promote all-round cooperation to a new high and write a new chapter for the friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation with a more far-reaching eyesight and broader vision. In this regard, I would like to put forward the following 4 suggestions.

Firstly, both sides should blueprint and steer the future development of China-Maldives relations under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.

Secondly, both sides should adhere to the valuable experience to ensure the steady and smooth development of the bilateral relations. Both sides should continue to respect each other, treat each other as equals, help each other with sincerity as well as support each other on the issues of our respective core interests and major concerns. China will continue to support Maldives in safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and in pursuing an independent foreign policy. We believe that the Maldivian government will uphold its longstanding commitment to the one-China principle and firmly support China to defend its core interests.

Thirdly, both sides should deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in full scale so as to benefit the people of the two countries. In this regard, both sides should continue to push forward Belt & Road cooperation with high quality, speed up major projects and tourist cooperation. I hope the Maldivian side could finish ratification of China-Maldives FTA as early as possible in order to boost the post Covid-19 recovery of the Maldivian economy. We should explore new areas of cooperation in telecommunication, big data and marine economy. We need coordinate closely in international affairs to safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law.

Finally, both sides should expand the people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We welcome more and more Maldivian youngsters to further their study in China. A Chinese language center based in Villa College has been set up now, which will further facilitate the Maldivians especially youngsters to learn Chinese language and culture. The visa exemption agreement of the two countries has come to effect. We believe that as the Covid-19 pandemic situation eases and the direct flights resume in the future, the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries will increase, which will further promote the traditional friendship of the two countries.

History has proved and will always prove that maintaining good-neighborly friendly relations with mutual benefit and win-win cooperation between China and the Maldives accords with the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and benefits the peace and development of the region and beyond as well. We believe that with the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties as a new starting point, China and the Maldives will enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and deepen friendship, jointly embark on a new journey of China-Maldives relations and promote the future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between China and Maldives to a new level.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish China enjoy prosperity and its people wellbeing and wish China-Maldives relations flourish in the future.

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