Mr Shi Ting Wang, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, has reiterated that there are no concentration camps in the Chinese Xinjiang Province but rather educational training and vocational camps, as part of efforts to address terrorism.
He said following the establishment of Vocational Education and Training Centres in 2016, there has been no single record of terrorist attacks in the Province.
Speaking at a media engagement on Wednesday in Accra, Mr Shi said terrorism and extremism are the common enemies of humanity.
He urged the western media to desist from propagating falsehood about Xinjiang.
He said terrorism and extremism has a long history in Xinjiang; stating that since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks in the United States, the “East Turkistan” forces inside and outside China have stepped up their collaboration as terrorism and extremism spread around the globe, trying desperately to establish “East Turkistan” through “Jihad” (holy war).
He said between 1990 and 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.
Mr Shi said as result, many innocent people were killed and several hundred police officers died in the line of duty; declaring that the property losses incurred were enormous.
“In the face of these real threats, Xinjiang has taken a resolute action to fight terrorism and extremism in accordance with the law,” the Ambassador said.
“There have been no violent terrorist cases and incidents for three consecutive years in Xinjiang.”
He said the spread of extremism has been effectively contained, public security has notably improved, and people of all ethnic groups are able to live and work in peace with a much stronger sense of gain, happiness and security.
Mr Shi said Xinjiang was a key battlefield in the fight against terrorism and extremism in China; recounting that in past Xinjiang had been plagued by terrorism and religious extremism, which pose a serious threat to the lives of the people in the region.
He said addressing both the symptoms and root causes and integrating preventative measures and a forceful response, Xinjiang had established Vocational Education and Training Centres in accordance with the law to prevent the breeding and spread of terrorism and religious extremism, effectively curbing the frequent terrorist incidents and protecting the rights to life, health, and development of the people of all ethnic groups.
The Ambassador, who said worthwhile results had been achieved; noted that currently there are no people at the centres because they have been trained and graduated.
He said there was now peace in Xinjiang and that its doors were opened to visitors and tourists.
Mr Shi said for sometime now, some governments and media of western countries distorted facts, smear and unjustifiable criticism of Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts.
“They claimed that “one million Uygur Muslims in concentration camps!” … “Ethnic Cleansing and Cultural Genocide!” … These are completely groundless and erroneous.”
Mr Shi said the Xinjiang issue was by no means an issue of human rights, ethnicity or religion, but an issue of anti-violence and anti-separatism; “Xinjiang is China’s Xinjiang. The Xinjiang-related issues are purely China’s internal affairs”.
“Only by abandoning double standards, enhancing political mutual trust, reaching strategic consensus, and promoting exchanges and cooperation, can we effectively curb and combat terrorism and extremism in the interests of world peace and stability.”
Xinjiang (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) is situated in northwest China and the hinterland of the Eurasian Continent, covering an area of 1.66 million sq km.
It borders eight countries: Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Since ancient times, Xinjiang has been home to various ethnic groups, and different cultures and religions coexist.
It has also been an important channel for communication between civilizations of the East and the West, and was an important section of the famed Silk Road which linked ancient China with the rest of the world.