Somalia is a country with a 100% Muslim population; I would like to introduce the situation of Xinjiang, China, to Somali friends.
A popular song in China is “Xinjiang is a good place”. Indeed, Xinjiang is a beautiful place with 1.66 million square kilometers. It is rich in resources, products, oil, grapes, melons, red dates and so on. In recent years, Xinjiang specialties can be bought all over China, and even export to the outside world in China’s economic development, beef and mutton of Xinjiang have become a delicacy on the Chinese table. Xinjiang is the place that many Chinese yearn for. In 2018, Xinjiang received more than 150 million domestic and foreign tourists.
Xinjiang is an autonomous region with the largest concentration of ethnic minorities in China. Many ethnic groups and religions live in harmony with each other, and their cultures and customs are colorful. There are; the population of more than 24 million in Xinjiang, including more than 10 million Muslims with total mosques of 24.4 million.
Xinjiang is a disaster area of extremists and terrorist violence. Since the last century, more than 1,000 terrorist incidents, such as explosions, assassinations, arson and attacks, have been organized and carried out by some foreign terrorist and extremist forces, which have caused great loss of life and property to the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and seriously damaged the social stability and economic development of Xinjiang.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding Xinjiang security and stability, resolutely cracks down on violent terrorism and extremist crimes according to law, and guarantees the basic human rights of citizens to the greatest extent possible from violation. The most important is to strengthen the governance at the source, prevent future disasters, cut off the channels of terrorism transmission, and implement the plan of vocational education and training in accordance with the law, so that those who have extreme violent thoughts can learn skills, make a living and become rich, return to family and integrate into society. Not long ago, more than 10 envoys and foreign media from Islamic countries visited Xinjiang to understand the real situation and praised the achievements of the plan of vocational education and training. The successful practice of anti-terrorism and de-extremization in Xinjiang deserves global reference. It is an effective measure of Xinjiang to explore ways to remove the environment and soil of terrorism and extremism and prevent violent terrorist crimes. Since its launch, the work has won high recognition and sincere support from people of all ethnic groups across Xinjiang. It has played an important role in achieving social stability and enduring peace and security in Xinjiang and served as a positive exploration and constructive attempt for the international community in countering terrorism and eradicating extremism.
Since 2016, there have been no violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang for more than two consecutive years. Xinjiang economy has grown steadily, people’s living standards have improved continuously, and all kinds of work have been promoted in an all-around way. In 2017, GDP grew by 7.6%, and a per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents increased by 8.1% and 8.5% respectively. Many people who have visited Xinjiang uses social media to praise the progress of the region. Today, Xinjiang is not only beautiful but also safe and stable, economic development and social progress.
There are 56 ethnic minorities in China, with a population of over 100 million. The human rights of ethnic minorities in China are protected by the China Constitution. The Constitution stipulates that the State respects and protects human rights, all ethnic groups in China are equal and common development, the State protects the lawful rights and interests of ethnic minorities and upholds and develops a relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all ethnic groups in China. Discrimination against and oppression of any ethnic group are prohibited; any act which undermines the unity among ethnic groups or instigates division is prohibited. Chinese citizens have the freedom to believe in religion, the government protects normal religious activities, and guarantees citizens’ freedom of religious belief according to law, without discrimination or persecution.
China has a Muslim population of more than 20 million, with nearly 60,000 Islamic clergymen and 35,000 mosques. The Chinese government respects the religious beliefs and customs of Muslims, makes arrangements for 15,000 Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca every year and provides conveniences in charter flight, accommodation, food, medical services, and security. Muslims customs, in food, clothing, festivals, marriage, and funeral are fully respected. Islamic festivals such as Eid Adha, Eid al-Fitr are enjoyed public and statutory holidays in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government advocates great national unity, harmony, friendly coexistence, establishes the concept of religious harmony, opposes inciting religious opposition and undermining the unity between believers and non-believers, and promotes the progress and development of the religious cause. Any individual, any organization or any group shall abide by the Constitution and shall not engage in activities that endanger the interests and legitimate rights and interests of the State and others. “All Chinese ethnic groups unify as a family to realize the Chinese dream”.
By H.E. Qin Jian, Chinese Ambassador to Somalia