A delegation of 32 envoys and senior diplomats from 30 Muslim-majority countries have paid a visit to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to learn about the region’s economic and social development.
The five-day visit took place last week and included envoys from countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan. The delegation visited the provincial capital Urumqi in addition to Kashgar and Aksu prefectures. They were met by Ma Xingrui, secretary of the Party Committee of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
A spokesperson for theFforeign Ministry, Hua Chunying said the diplomats visited mosques, Islamic schools, museums, old city renovation, grassroots communities, technology enterprises, green development and rural revitalisation projects.
“Members of the delegation expressed that the Chinese government adheres to the people-centred approach and has made great achievements in promoting the governance and development of Xinjiang,” she said.
Seeing is believing.Diplomatic envoys from 30 Islamic countries visited #Xinjiang&witnessed ethnic groups living in harmony,religious belief freedom protected,breakthroughs made in poverty alleviation&rural revitalization,which is true reality in Xinjiang. https://t.co/z58ubDGiqQ pic.twitter.com/Qhg1jMn1GS
— Ji Rong嵇蓉 (@JiRongMFA) August 9, 2022
“We sincerely welcome friends from all over the world to have the opportunity to visit Xinjiang in the future to experience the beauty, harmony and development of Xinjiang,” she added.
According to China’s CGTN, the delegation “witnessed Xinjiang’s achievements in social stability, economic development, the improvement of people’s livelihoods, religious harmony and cultural prosperity, expressing their hopes that exchanges and cooperation with the region would be deepened.”
Algeria’s Ambassador to China, Hassane Rabehi, was quoted by local media as saying, “The fruit here is so sweet, just like the life of the people here”, adding that he got to know the “real situation” of Xinjiang, where the rights of people of all ethnic groups are well protected, said reports.
Following the event, a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that envoys expressed that “freedom of religious belief and various rights of Muslims are duly guaranteed.” And that what the delegation saw and heard along the way “is completely different from what some Western media reported.”
The US, its allies and the World Uyghur Congress have accused Beijing of committing genocide against the mostly-Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority which is contested by the Chinese government which claims they are combatting terrorism and separatism.
In 2019, 22 mostly Western countries in a joint statement to the High Commissioner to the UN condemned China’s crackdown on Uyghur Muslims. However, a day later, 37 other countries signed their own letter defending Beijing’s human rights record, and dismissing the reported detention of up to two million Muslims. Nearly half of the signatories were Muslim-majority nations.