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Chinese FM Spokesperson: Ethnic Minorities in Xinjiang Choose Employment
Voluntarily of Their Own Free Will

2020-10-24

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on October 23, Spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question about employment conditions of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Journalist: For some time certain western politicians and think tanks have been hyping up the so-called "forced labor" issue in Xinjiang. We noted that the Xinjiang Development Research Center released an Investigation Report on Employment of Ethnic Minorities in Xinjiang recently. Do you have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: I note the report you mentioned and hope you will cover it in your reports. Through field visits and in-depth and comprehensive investigation and analysis, the Xinjiang Development Research Center compiled this report, concluding that ethnic minorities choose employment voluntarily of their own free will. The report offers a credible description of the true employment conditions of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang based on verified documents, data and information. Here are some examples:

A research by the Department of Human Resources and Social Security on the employment intentions of ethnic minorities in the four prefectures in Southern Xinjiang showed that the willingness of urban and rural surplus labor force to go out for employment is very strong. For example, Aybagh Village in Kashgar Prefecture's Gulbagh Town has a 1,509-strong workforce, of which 1,288 are willing to go out for employment, accounting for 85% of the total. The three villages in Baghchi Town, Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture have a working population of 1,699, of which 1,493 are willing to go out for employment, accounting for 88% of the total.

In a questionnaire survey of 100 ethnic minority farmers in Kashgar and Hotan prefectures, the vast majority of the respondents expressed that they wanted the government to organize them to work. "It is not easy for us to find jobs by ourselves, so we hope the government can help us find jobs and train us for the jobs,"said Tashi Memet, a farmer from Yingawat Township in Shule County, Kashgar Prefecture. Muhtar Helili, a farmer from Puchakechi Township, Moyu County, Hotan, liked welding. He hoped to join a welding training session organized by the government and to find a job in inland China with the help of the government. Erkin Ublikasim, a farmer from the same township, has two sons working for a company in Nanjing with the help of the government."My two sons make more money in Nanjing than in our hometown. They send money home every month. We are out of poverty now, and I hope the government can organize more people to go out to work,"he said.

The demonstration effect of various measures taken by the governments to promote employment and increase income has stimulated the enthusiasm of ethnic minorities in Southern Xinjiang to go out for employment. Pashagul Keram from Wuqia County, Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture, has worked in Dongguan, Guangdong Province for many years. She has not only made herself better-off, but also influenced nearly 600 fellow villagers to go out to work. A young Kazakh couple Tursun Ali and Aygulsen Jamik were introduced to work in a cotton mill in Shihezi of northern Xinjiang. Deleting their monthly expenses of about 500 yuan, the couple can earn nearly 10,000 yuan of net income. After three years, they used their savings to buy an apartment of more than 100 square meters in Yining city. They also introduced more than 10 fellow villagers to work in their company.

This report stands in sharp contrast to so-called reports on Xinjiang concocted by some anti-China think-tanks and scholars with sheer lies, fake data and malicious speculation. It is also a strong rebuttal to the so-called false claim of forced labor. We hope and believe more and more people with insight in the international community will choose to stand firmly on the side of facts and truth and reject lies.

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