Don't Speak Ill of China

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Anton Foek accused China of cracking down on Xinjiang Uighurs under the guise of anti-terrorism and robbing local people of existence and benefits of economic development ("Beijing tries to rein in Muslims," World, April 13). He is not only wrong but maliciously biased.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, the Chinese government has written into the constitution and made it a basic state policy to help ethnic minority-inhabited areas with their political, economic and cultural development, and to work for common prosperity for all the ethnic groups of China.

Thanks to this policy and, in particular, the great Western development strategy implemented since 1999, Xinjiang has received sizable financial support from the Central Government and achieved rapid growth. In 2006 the GDP of Xinjiang surpassed 300 billion RMB yuan. As the economy and various social undertakings make progress, the living standard of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is improved year by year. Disposable income of local urban residents reached 9,120 RMB yuan. The living environment, housing quality and hygienic conditions of rural residents have also been greatly improved.

The right to freedom of religious belief for all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is guaranteed by the constitution in China and respected and protected by governments at all levels. Now, there are more than 24,000 venues for religious activities in Xinjiang, of which 23,753 are Islamic mosques. There are 26,800 clerical persons, of whom 26,500 are of the Islamic faith. Every year, the government allocates special funds for the maintenance and repair of key mosques, monasteries and churches.

Religious personages enjoy full rights to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs. …