OPINIONS Observer: 'Forced labor' slander violates Xinjiang people's aspirations and rights


Observer: 'Forced labor' slander violates Xinjiang people's aspirations and rights

By Zhan Huilan | People's Daily app

21:00, June 07, 2021

Earning 8,000 yuan ($1,250) monthly with his wife in a textile factory is the new and happy life for Aikebaier Tuluhong in Aksu, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. He used to make a tedious living, herding sheep with his father in the mountains.

Tuluhong shared his story at a recent press conference on Xinjiang-related issues in Beijing, firmly refuting Western rumors about “forced labor” in the region.

Some Western forces have been tirelessly hyping the so-called “forced labor” issue and spreading the false claim of human rights violations in Xinjiang. In fact, it is such rumors that abuse Xinjiang people’s well-being and labor rights. What those forces are doing is nothing more than attempting to put Xinjiang people in poverty, backwardness and chaos, thereby disrupting Xinjiang’s stability and development, and realizing the plot of “using Xinjiang to contain China.”

Figures, instead of baseless slander, tell the truth about Xinjiang workers. Proactive job policies have enabled people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to achieve stable and long-term employment. The total employed population of Xinjiang in 2020 stood at nearly 14 million, up 20.6 percent from 2014.

A better employment situation brings tangible benefits to laborers. Their pockets are better filled through hard work. The per capita disposable income for residents in Xinjiang rose from 15,097 yuan in 2014 to 23,845 yuan in 2020, official reports showed. In November 2020, all impoverished counties in the region have escaped poverty. Decent salaries and a goodbye to poverty are the wish of the people, which could not be achieved through so-called “forced labor.”

When facilitating employment in the region, the Xinjiang government respects the wishes and needs of workers. The government regularly conducts surveys to learn about workers’ job preferences and expectations. A 2020 survey showed that 85 percent of the workforce in a village of Kashgar prefecture were interested in working outside their hometowns. The West’s smears of “forced labor” collapsed.

The Global Employment Agenda adopted by the International Labor Organization says that employment is fundamental to the fight against poverty and social exclusion. With jobs secured, workers of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang have witnessed the improvement of their lives, beaten poverty and bonded closer with each other.

“Lies and prejudice cannot conceal hard facts,” said Tuluhong, adding that anti-China forces in the US and the West cannot shake the determination of ethnic minority employees to create a beautiful life through hard work.

When the US and Western forces stigmatized the employment situation in Xinjiang and try to lecture China on human rights, they are the ones who disobey Xinjiang people’s aspirations for better lives. Difficult for them to admit, the progress of the labor situation and the improving living standards in the region run smack in the face of those Western rumormongers.

Xinjiang’s policies and practices in employment and labor rights have won the hearts of the people, facts revealed. The anti-China forces need to abandon their double standards on the human rights issue on China, and their groundless defamation which goes against the trend of history and the aspiration of people will only fail.

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