The Bells Ring for Everyone to Hear!


As it happened in the meetings of the highest Chinese authorities with the top leaders of the European Union in late September and early October this year, China speaks with ‘open letters’ about human rights as on every other issues. And so it is acting regarding the reality of things in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and elsewhere in the country on national and international level.

The well-being of a people, and in general their human rights, much more so of the people in China, where about one-fifth of the world’s population lives and works, cannot be a matter of campaigns. Only a policy and programs with clear short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives pave the way for overcoming the difficulties of comprehensive development but also for extraordinary situations such as the case of the coronavirus pandemic that has tragically plagued the world.

Criticizing a country and anathematizing its policy regarding this vital social aspect is a sensitive question requiring responsibility because everything must be based in the first place on truthfulness, objectivity and constructive findings, which would serve individual countries but also worldwide to enhance the development and well-being of peoples and strengthen international peace and security away from the creation of new ‘cold’ or ‘hot’, ‘racial’ or ‘generational’ conflicts.

The lack of such a cooperative spirit and will and the use of this old card for political fight does not serve anyone, not only the country that is criticized but rather it is to the detriment of the protagonists of this cause because today the world has become so small due to the development of technical-scientific, bilateral and multilateral media exchanges, activity of numerous international organizations, etc. that show the reality as in the palm of the hand.

In this context, the attempt of certain Western countries, mainly through a number of NGOs, to continue the old pattern of attacks against China in the field of human rights, sometimes in one aspect and sometimes in another, seems outdated and meaningless. These days the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has become the focus, and it is noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the forefront.

In addition to the distinct reality in those parts of China, some recent developments have been interesting in the realm of human rights in this country, and two events stand out: the election of China as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for a three-year term (2021-2023) by the UN General Assembly, as well as the visit of diplomatic representatives of 20 Arab countries and of the Arab League to Xinjiang from 19 to 22 October this year.

But above all what is already being appreciated worldwide, not only in diplomatic chancelleries and international organizations, is China’s work in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic which is the best example to show that the human right to health care, to live, and protection of the people are the number one priority not in words but in deeds for the authorities of this country. And even the outstretched hand to massively help other countries, including Albania, with medical material against COVID – 19 in this critical situation speaks of a real solidarity with a human face.

Diplomats in Xinjiang: ‘Seeing is believing’

To unveil the reality in face of the baseless, often malicious, allegations about Xinjiang, Chinese authorities on the highest levels have long invited foreign diplomats accredited to Beijing to visit the region, guaranteeing their journey and offering assistance for their tour’s agenda.

In this context, a group of diplomats from 20 Arab countries and the Arab League paid a visit to Xinjiang from October 19 to 22 this year. Speaking on the tour, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news conference in Beijing on October 26 that the diplomats visited various enterprises, schools, neighborhoods, and got acquainted with poverty alleviation projects and talked to residents of the rural areas, learning more about social sustainability, equality and ethnic unity, improved living and local economic development. They also visited Islamic institutes and mosques to see by themselves the respect and protection of religious freedom in Xinjiang.

According to him, Arab diplomats praised Xinjiang’s achievements in socio-economic development and the protection of human rights. Some of them pointed out that the rumors about the human rights situation in China and especially in the Chinese region of Xinjiang are unfounded and that one should learn from the experience of this autonomous region in the fight against terrorism and radicalism. “China welcomes friends from all over the world to visit Xinjiang and show the world a real, beautiful and diverse Xinjiang,” said the Chinese diplomat.

Earlier, when asked by AFP about a request of EU officials to pay an independent visit to Xinjiang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that friends from all over the world, including the European side, were welcome to visit Xinjiang and see with their own eyes the situation there instead of believing fabricated lies and rumors. “China has agreed and is ready to make arrangements for it. Now the ball is in the court of the European side,” said the spokesman. Following this development, it does not appear that such a visit has taken place…

Some truths speaking for themselves…

Recently, as part of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s campaign against China in the field of human rights, a proposal was made by some American congressmen of “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” stating that there is a large-scale systematic phenomenon of “forced labor” in the “education and training centers” in Xinjiang. Think Tanks in the US and Australia published reports saying that under the guise of its poverty reduction program China has forced nationalities like Uighurs, Kazakhs and other national minorities to work in Xinjiang.

However, according to official Chinese media reports, thanks to the implementation of the poverty alleviation policy through employment in the Xinjiang region, the living standards of residents of all national minorities have improved and the sense of wealth and happiness of people has grown over the recent years. The protection of human rights has reached a new historical level.

After two completely above mentioned different statements, the Institute of Human Rights of the Southwestern University of Political Science and Law, on the basis of respect for all parties, has taken further steps so that the facts speak for themselves. The study and research team analyzed the role of industrial development of this region in resolving the issue of employment of the poor and conducted a field investigation with surveys, questionnaires and detailed interviews to deeply understand the concrete situation of workers from the region of Xinjiang, who work out of birth places.

The study group found that: first, due to inadequate natural conditions, unbalanced industrial structure, serious lack of regional employment opportunities, declining percentage of value added of agricultural industry, surplus rural agricultural labor force and large gap of poverty among residents in rural and urban areas, the issue of poverty in Xinjiang is obvious, therefore poverty alleviation is an urgent need.

Second, the rapid development of secondary and tertiary industries in the Xinjiang region has provided more employment opportunities for residents there. This is in line with the world experience in reducing poverty. Third, the workers of the Xinjiang region are all voluntary migrant workers of their own free will, which has helped to improve their economic situation, their quality of life, and today they enjoy more development opportunities.

Fourth, China has established the basic principles of protecting the rights and interests of workers in accordance with the law and care for the employment of special groups. It has formulated and implemented supportive policies to protect workers’ rights and interests and strictly prohibits by law “forcing others to work”. Based on the results of the survey, the study group concluded that the so-called think tank report is not true.

The Chinese government’s policy of alleviating poverty through employment is an important measure to meet the relevant requirements of the United Nations as well as in full compliance with the requirements of international conventions. Poverty alleviation policy in the Xinjiang region is tailored to the specific situation and needs of the poor. Employment poverty alleviation policy has played an important role in eradicating poverty in this region.

Likewise, this policy should keep the current momentum towards the mechanism of work, transformation and industrial modernization, breaking the chain of transmission of poverty to the next generation, as well as in the field of social improvement, ecology, cultural and public services, to further ensure the equal participation and development of all national minorities, so that they share the fruits of national economic development and live together a happy and prosperous life.

The local government in Xinjiang, according to official data, has invested heavily in qualifying for jobs of people in need, and it turns out that from 2014 to 2019 training departments were opened for 6.95 million people of which 2.32 million were from the four prefectures of the southern part of Xinjiang. The region has also helped 379,400 young entrepreneurs who have provided jobs for 827,400 people. Every year an average of 75,900 people start business.

China in the UN Human Rights Council

Another evidence of China’s human rights record is its election as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for a three-year term (2021-2023) by the UN General Assembly, which is considered as an evaluation not only for what the country has achieved in improving human rights but also for its contribution to the performance of the largest and most prestigious organization in the world which marked the 75th anniversary of its creation last September.

China has always attached great importance to the development and protection of human rights. Following the model with Chinese characteristics, China has made great strides in the development of human rights, said a statement from the Chinese Mission to the UN on October 13, 2020. This is the fifth time China has been elected a member of this body of the UN system which has 47 members who are elected by rotation having a three-year term.

As in other cases, there have been appeals from non-governmental organizations and Western politicians to block China’s election to the UNHRC, referring to the so-called issues of Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang as obstacles. Some media circles have even claimed that being a member of the UNHRC would undermine the review of human rights reports in China.

But the facts are always more stubborn as the truth shows that China has had three reviews of reports on the human rights situation before and according to many representatives of the member states of this body it has turned out that the country has done a good and objective job. And this realistic voice again dominated versus those countries that did not want China in the UNHRC.

Meanwhile, the Chinese reality in this field can be said to have given China confidence and power to express along with several other countries the concerns over the human rights situation in specific Western countries. Speaking on behalf of 26 countries, China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Yun criticized in a speech in the UN General Assembly the Western countries for human rights violations, calling for the lifting of unilateral sanctions and expressing great concern over the systematic racial discrimination. It is not the case to dwell at length but the nationwide protests of the African American population in the US demanding an end to systematic racism and white supremacy in that country are significant enough for the reader.

There is no country without strong and weak points in the field of human rights. All countries, regardless of size or level of development, have something to contribute but also to benefit from interaction in the spirit of multilateralism and not hegemony in this aspect.

Thus, the non-politicization of the vital aspect of human rights and the avoidance of double standard attitudes will make the Human Rights Council more efficient to contribute to the sound development of human rights worldwide. In this spirit, China’s contribution during the three-year term starting in 2021 is an added value because, as many analysts point out, its approach to human rights is characterized by a willingness and self-confidence to share experiences in this regard away from old clichés when Western attitude ruled alone.  As it happened in the meetings of the highest Chinese authorities with the top leaders of the European Union in late September and early October this year, China speaks with ‘open letters’ about human rights as on every other issue. And so it is acting regarding the reality of things in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and elsewhere in the country on national and international level. The bells ring for everyone to hear!