Speaking at a two-day business conference on Xinjiang that concluded on Saturday, Xi said China’s strategy for Xinjiang was correct “and must be respected in the long term.”
“The entire party must view the implementation of the Xinjiang strategy as a political task and work hard to implement it comprehensively and thoroughly to ensure that Xinjiang̵
“We must also continue the leadership of the Sinicization of Islam to achieve the healthy development of the religion,” Xi said. The Chinese leader added that “it is necessary to tell the story of Xinjiang in a multilevel, comprehensive and three-dimensional way, and to propagate Xinjiang’s excellent social stability with confidence.”
Even before the mass detention policy, Muslims in Xinjiang faced increasing restrictions on the practice of their religion, from limits on wearing the veil or growing a beard, to the pressure not to fast during Ramadan.
Xi said current policies in Xinjiang have brought “unprecedented results” in economic growth, social development and improving people’s living conditions. He added that “the sense of gain, happiness and security among people of all ethnic groups has continued to increase.”
His remarks come amid growing condemnation by Western nations, including the United States, of alleged human rights violations in the region. Last week, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill called the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” which aims to ban certain imports from Xinjiang and impose sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations in the region.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly this month, French President Emmanuel Macron called for an official investigation into Xinjiang.
The Xinjiang government said in a statement to CNN that the birth rate in the region dropped from 15.88 per 1,000 people in 2017 to 10.69 per 1,000 people in 2018. The statement said the decline was due to ” full implementation of political family planning. “
Former inmates who spoke to CNN testified that they received or were aware of forced sterilization. Numerous other witnesses spoke of widespread abuse and forced indoctrination in the camps.
CNN’s Beijing office, Ivan Watson, Rebecca Wright, and Ben Westcott contributed to the reports.