Counselor LIN Bin's Article on the Daily Post Entitled "Human Rights Protection--There Will Always Be Room For Improvement"

On December 12, 2019, the Vanuatu Daily Post and its website published an article by Counselor LIN Bin entitled "Human Rights Protection-There Will Always Be Room For Improvement". The full text is as follows:

December 10th marks the Human Rights Day. It reminds us that all countries need to continuously improve human rights situation. China is a major country with a civilization of 5,000 years. Its vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers is free from war, terror and displacement. Over 800 million people have got out of poverty. With steady economic development and continued social progress, 1.3 billion Chinese people of all 56 ethnic groups have the chance to lead happy and fulfilling lives. For over ten consecutive years, China has contributed to over 30% of global GDP growth. It has created a development miracle in human history, and today the miracle continues. This is a great human rights endeavor and practice.

On the issue of human rights, the people of our respective countries are in the best position to tell. Over the past 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, a well-established system to safeguard human rights has been put in place. China has improved the institutional system which ensures that the people run the country, continuously enhanced the judicial protection of human rights, safeguarded Chinese citizens' freedom of speech and religious belief in accordance with the law, promoted and protected the rights enjoyed by vulnerable groups in an all-round manner and conducted extensive international exchanges and cooperation on human rights. What enables China to make such great achievements? It is socialism with Chinese characteristics, a right path endorsed by Chinese people as it suits China's national realities.

China has achieved in several decades what took developed countries several centuries to achieve. It represents a tremendous contribution made by China to the global human rights endeavor. In March this year, the UN Human Rights Council adopted China's report on its third Universal Periodic Review in a smooth process. Over 120 countries took the floor to highly commend China's development achievements and highly recognize the outlook on human rights with Chinese characteristics. They said that China's experience and practices in safeguarding human rights and the right to development and eliminating poverty are worth learning and drawing upon. This fully demonstrates that China's human rights development path, achievements and determination to promote human rights situation have won wide recognition of the international community.

No country can dictate the definitions and standards of democracy and human rights, let alone impose its own will on others. Certain western countries politicized the issue of human rights and pointed fingers at China on ethnic, religious and judicial issues. They have taken aim at China's Xinjiang policy most recently. We are prompted to refute that and make necessary clarifications.

Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about fighting violence, terrorism and separatism. Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks, elements of terrorist, separatist and extremist forces launched several thousand terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, causing massive casualties as well as property loss. In the "July 5" incident alone, 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 injured. Some of the terrorists have even gone to countries like Syria and fought for ISIS. A few of them are trying to go back to China. This is a problem not only for China but also for the U.S. and some European countries.

Faced with severe circumstances, the government of Xinjiang Autonomous Region lawfully fought violent and terrorist crimes while addressing the root causes. The efforts include advancing de-radicalization, economic growth, ethnic solidarity, social harmony and stability. Borrowing international counter-terrorism experience, China started vocational education and training in Xinjiang, which was also a step answering the call of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. Thanks to those efforts, Xinjiang hasn't seen a single terrorist attack over the past three years. Those endeavors are endorsed by all 25 million people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They are also China's contribution to the global counter-terrorism cause.

The international community speaks highly of China's Xinjiang policy. Since the end of 2018, over 1,000 representatives have visited Xinjiang in more than 70 groups, including officials from various countries, regions and international organizations, and people from the press, religious groups and the academic circle. They acclaimed that Xinjiang's experience in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization was worth learning from. In March this year, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation adopted a resolution which commended China's efforts in providing care to Muslim citizens. In July, ambassadors of over 50 countries to the UN Office at Geneva co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, applauding China's respect and protection of human rights in its counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts. In October, at the Third Committee session of the 74th UNGA, more than 60 countries commended in their statements the tremendous human rights progress achieved in Xinjiang, China.

The Chinese government protects the freedom of religious belief of all Chinese nationals, including Xinjiang Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. There are nearly 200 million religious believers in China. Among them are more than 20 million Muslims and over 380 thousand clerics. There are approximately 5,500 religious groups and over 140,000 places of worship registered for religious activities. In Xinjiang, there are 24,400 mosques, which means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average. Those are all facts that can be found in the seven white papers on Xinjiang published since 2015. Apparently what some people in Western countries lack is not means to get the correct information, but the courage and conscience to admit the truth.

The United States keeps criticizing other countries' human rights conditions, despite the fact that itself has pulled out of the Human Rights Council, is not party to important human rights instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, has turned a blind eye to the prevalent and grave human rights violations at home, and has just been criticized by recent UN reports and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Certain people in the U.S. show unusual concern over Uighurs in China's Xinjiang, but they seem to forget that the U.S. is the only country that issued a Muslim ban. In recent years, the U.S. started warfare in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan under the pretext of counter-terrorism, killing and injuring millions of innocent people. These countries are literally all Muslim countries. All this has triggered international aversion and revealed America's double standards, hypocrisy and malicious intentions.

There will always be room for improvement in human rights protection. We will continue to handle our domestic affairs well. The most powerful response to slanders is lasting prosperity, stability, ethnic solidarity and social harmony in China, including Xinjiang. We are as always willing to step up exchanges and mutual learning with Vanuatu and other countries to pursue common progress on the basis of equality and mutual respect and with a responsible and constructive attitude.

Embassy of The People's Republic of China in The Republic of Fiji All Rights Reserved