BEIJING: China on Thursday released a so-called “white paper” on its northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region amid global concerns over alleged rights abuses against its ethnic Uighur community.
In a 7,622-word paper, titled Employment and Labor Rights in Xinjiang, Beijing said it was “committed to the people-centered philosophy of development, attaches great importance to job security, gives high priority to employment, and pursues a proactive set of policies on employment.”
Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang has drawn widespread criticism from rights group, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), who accuse it of ostracizing the 12 million Uighurs in China, most of whom are Muslims.
A 2018 report by HRW focused on what it said was a Chinese government campaign of “mass arbitrary detention, torture, forced political indoctrination, and mass surveillance of Xinjiang’s Muslims.”
Similarly, Amnesty International has published reports on a “campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation,” saying that the “true scope and nature of what is taking place in Xinjiang remains obscured.”
However, many countries, mostly in the West, continue to condemn Beijing’s actions, with the UK leading 22 other nations at the UN last October in condemning China for its detention of Muslims.
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump also signed a bill condemning the so-called Uighur “re-education” camps.
In the paper, China said authorities in Xinjiang implement a “proactive employment policy, protect the lawful labor rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, and strive to provide decent work and a better life for all.”
“This embodies the common values that are championed by the international community, and contributes to safeguarding social fairness and justice and promoting the all-round development of humanity,” read the document.
The total number of people employed in Xinjiang rose from 11.35 million to 13.3 million from 2014 to 2019, it further said.
It added that Xinjiang has “become a successful example of practicing international labor and human rights standards in underdeveloped areas with large populations of ethnic minorities.”
Walt Disney Co’s latest live action movie “Mulan,” which was filmed in multiple locations in China, has unleashed a fresh maelstrom of controversy on social media after offering special thanks to a group of state organisations in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, where Beijing has reportedly committed severe human rights violations against millions of Uighurs Muslims in detention camps.The $200-million budget film had already provoked a storm of criticism for being filmed in China’s northwest region of Xinjiang, and furthermore, its leading lady Liu Yifei had publicly backed the police crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong, triggering calls overseas for a boycott of the movie.Some sharp-eyed viewers spotted an unexpected text in the movie on Monday, two days after its debut on Disney Plus.To add insult to injury, Disney offered a special thanks to eight Xinjiang agencies in the movie’s closing credit roll, prompting a renewed global outcry on social media platforms. The entities mentioned in the movie’s credits include the publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee and the police bureau in Turpan.Chinese authorities have told major media outlets not to cover Walt Disney Co’s release of Mulan, according to a Reuters report on Thursday.No reason was given in the notice, but the sources said they believed it was because of the overseas backlash over the film’s links to Xinjiang.Set to open in local theatres on Friday, Disney had high hopes for Mulan in China, but starving it of publicity in the country’s strictly censored media would be another blow to the lavish production.Starring big-name Chinese actors – Jet Li, Gong Li, Donnie Yen and Liu Yifei – and based on a Chinese folk story, Mulan was tailored to appeal to audiences in China, the world’s second-largest movie market.The movie was released on Disney’s streaming service in many markets, rather than in cinemas, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region — home to many ethnic minority groups, including Uighur Turks — is predominantly known as East Turkestan in Turkey.Uighur, a Turkic group that makes up around 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, has accused China in the past several years of carrying out repressive policies that restrain their religious, commercial and cultural activities.
China has released the white paper just days after announcing that it will take a delegation of European diplomats to Xinjiang to “help … EU member states understand the real situation.”
The announcement came on the heels of a decision by the US, which has previously sanctioned many Chinese officials over rights abuses against Uighurs, to block imports of specific items from Xinjiang.
Calls for Beijing’s accountability have grown louder in western capitals since June, when at least 50 UN special representatives – special rapporteurs and other human rights experts – issued a searing indictment of China’s human rights record.
Denouncing the Chinese government’s “collective repression” of religious and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, they called for a special session on China and for creating a dedicated expert group to press Beijing to meet its human rights obligations.