BEIJING: Diplomats from 12 countries, including Pakistan, visited vocational training centres in Xinjiang upon China’s invitation.
China’s Foreign Ministry had extended the invitation to “any party who abides by China’s laws and regulations and does not interfere with its internal affairs,” a Xinjiang official said on Tuesday.
In response to the remarks of Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the People’s Government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which welcomes United Nations (UN) officials to visit the education centres, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a press conference that “Xinjiang is an open area and we welcome all parties, including UN officials, to visit the region and respect Chinese laws.”
All parties should abide by the principles of the UN Charter and avoid interfering with the internal affairs of other countries or undermine other countries’ sovereignty.
“They should adhere to an objective and neutral attitude and avoid being biased or misguided by wrong messages,” Lu said.
An official from the publicity department of Xinjiang, who requested anonymity, confirmed that foreign diplomats from 12 countries, including Russia, Indonesia, India, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, were invited to visit vocational training and education centres in Xinjiang in late December.
A group of foreign media, including Reuters and TASS, visited the centres from January 3-5.
Li Wei, a Beijing-based anti-terrorism expert, who was invited to visit the education centres in Xinjiang in November, told the Chinese media that many of the 12 countries face the threat of extremism similar to Xinjiang and the visit of the diplomats to the centres would facilitate exchanges on de-extremism measures.
“Xinjiang’s de-extremism measures have taken effect and helped to build a stable society. While many other countries, which have been suffering from extremism and terrorism, have yet to find an effective way,” Li said.
No violent incidents happened in 23 months, which is considered an achievement of Xinjiang’s current de-extremism efforts, experts said.
“Some of the 12 countries have close anti-terrorism cooperation with China. For example, China has brought back terrorist suspects from Xinjiang who fled to the Middle East via Thailand. And the southern part of Thailand is also affected by terrorism,” Li said.