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China slams US enacting law on Uygurs



Residents drink tea at their home in a village in Hotan county, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, June 16, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua] 

Foreign Ministry says legislation twists situation, interferes in nation's affairs

China expressed strong opposition on Thursday after the so-called Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 was signed into law by United States President Donald Trump. Beijing urged Washington to correct its mistakes or face countermeasures and bear all consequences.

The legislation twisted the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, attacked the Chinese government's policies there and trampled on international law and the basic principles of international affairs, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

China demanded the US stop using legislation that disregards facts and confuses right and wrong to damage China's interests and meddle in its domestic affairs, the statement said.

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday saying Trump had signed the act.

China already had expressed strong opposition after the US House of Representatives approved the bill late last year. It was put forward to Trump to sign on June 8.

China's top legislature also strongly condemned on Thursday the enactment of the measure, calling it a brutal action that interferes in China's internal affairs.

Xinjiang has always been China's main battlefield against terrorism and religious extremism. The penetration of religious extremism from abroad has led to frequent terrorist attacks in the past.

Policies halt attacks

Between 1990 and the end of 2016, thousands of terrorist incidents happened in the region, causing a large number of casualties. To tackle the problem at its roots, Xinjiang introduced a series of counterterrorism and deradicalization measures such as setting up vocational and training centers in accordance with the law, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, said in a statement on Thursday.

The centers provided courses in Mandarin, laws, vocational skills and deradicalization programs for people influenced by religious extremism and terrorism. According to the regional government, all trainees in the centers had graduated by December 2019.

As a result, the region has recorded no terror-related incidents for more than three years. Those measures have protected Xinjiang people's right to a livelihood and were supported by Chinese people and the international community, the statement from the committee said.

Xinjiang issues are China's internal affairs, which should never be interfered with by external forces. The National People's Congress urged the US to stop such interference and the damaging of China-US relations, it said.

The Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region called the new law a piece of wastepaper and said it belongs only in the trash dump.

The measure is packed with lies, Cold War mentality and political bias, it said. The US claim that Xinjiang has launched a "large-scale detention program targeting people from ethnic groups" is nothing but nonsense, the Standing Committee said in a statement.

The enactment could even be considered a move to back terrorist forces, it said. The US aims to use those forces to sabotage the development of the region, but at the end of day the US will also fall victim to those forces. Xinjiang issues are never about human rights, ethnic groups or religions, they are about fighting terrorism and extremism, it added.

The double standard adopted by the US on anti-terrorism issues has further exposed its evil intentions to damage China's sovereignty and security, sow discord among China's ethnic groups, undermine the prosperity and stability of Xinjiang and contain the development of China, the Foreign Ministry said.

The measure's enactment will only unite China more closely in the fight against terrorism, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body, said in a statement on Thursday.

"Instead of standing with China in the fight against terrorism, the US viciously attacked China's anti-terrorism efforts in the name of so-called human rights, sending a serious wrong signal to terrorist forces," the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC National Committee said in the statement.

While severely cracking down on violent and terrorist crimes in accordance with the law, Xinjiang has ensured that people from all ethnic groups enjoy the same rights, protects the normal needs of followers of religion and respects their customs, it added.