The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is situated in northwest China and in the hinterland of the Eurasian Continent. As the biggest province, Xinjiang accounts for one-sixth of Chinese land area and 47 ethnic groups are distributed in Xinjiang. The land border is 5,600 kilometers, bordering Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanistan. Its culture, ethnicity, religion and character are extremely diverse, and the internal and external environment are extremely complicated.

China is a unified multi-ethnic country, and the various ethnic groups in Xinjiang have long been part of the Chinese nation. Throughout its long history, Xinjiang’s development has been closely related to that of China. However, in more recent times, hostile forces in and outside China, especially separatists, religious extremists and terrorists have tried to split China and break it apart by distorting history and facts. They deny the fact that Xinjiang has been the part of China’s territory where various ethnic groups have lived together, many cultures have communicated with each other, and different religions have coexisted since ancient times. They call Xinjiang “East Turkistan” and clamour for independence. They attempt to separate ethnic groups in Xinjiang from the Chinese nation and ethnic cultures in the region from the diverse but integrated Chinese culture.

History cannot be tampered with and facts are indisputable. Xinjiang has long been an inseparable part of Chinese territory; never has it been the so-called East Turkistan. The Uygur ethnic group came into being through a long process of migration and integration; it is part of the Chinese nation. In Xinjiang, different cultures and religions coexist, and ethnic cultures have been fostered and developed in the embrace of the Chinese civilization.

Never in Chinese history has Xinjiang been referred to as “East Turkistan”, and there has never been any state known as “East Turkistan”. From the 18th century to the first half of the 19th century, as the West made a distinction between the various Turkic languages (branches of the Altaic languages), some foreign scholars and writers coined the term “Turkistan” to refer to the region south of the Tianshan Mountains and north of Afghanistan, which roughly covered the area from southern Xinjiang to Central Asia. The advocacy of this so-called “East Turkistan” has become a political tool and program for separatists and anti-China forces attempting to split China.

Regarding human rights, the West emphasizes on political rights with freedom, but China believes that the happiness of people is the greatest human right. In order to improve people’s living conditions, housing, water and electricity, medical care, transportation, education and culture need to be greatly improved in remote areas, and the government needs to do practical things instead of talking to realize those targets.

Western values are derived from their experience, habits and mindsets, but the facts show that those values cannot be applied to China. The approach with Chinese characteristics has been adopted in Xinjiang to improve people’s livelihood. Chinese down-to-earth approach has lifted 800 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years and contributed 70% to the world’s poverty reduction. Xinjiang also proposes that no nation can lag behind in modernization, and poverty alleviation will be realized in 2020. Those achievements are visible and tangible and Western criticism is hypocritical because they can only criticize Xinjiang’s governance with religious freedom and human rights.

From the western criticism on Xinjiang’s governance, it reflects an inherent notion that the correct political approach cannot come from China and those unchanging views of liberal universal values are still supreme. Moreover, the society will naturally be stable and prosperous if there is a European or North American national governance system. But the practice has proved that this idea is too naive and ungrounded.

By the end of World War II, some countries formed alliances with the United States which have indeed experienced prosperity. After the Cold War, the West claimed that there is no other way to develop for the world except the liberal western democracy. However, those countries that subsequently followed the Western system have experienced too many governance failures. In terms of governance, China believes that development is the first word and China always treats and solves problems in the process of development. Its achievements are obvious to all.

It is a matter of principle to correctly treat historical issues. The historical and dialectical materialist stance, viewpoint and methodology help us gain a clear understanding of our country and its history, ethnic groups, culture, and religious affairs. They help us to properly understand and treat historical issues concerning Xinjiang. This is essential to maintaining the Chinese people’s sense of cohesion and identity, the country’s unity and long-term stability, and the security, stability and development of a wider region.

Xinjiang is enjoying sustained economic development, social stability, a better standard of living, unprecedented cultural prosperity, harmonious coexistence of all religions, and solidarity among all ethnic groups. The region is experiencing its most auspicious period of development and prosperity. Hostile foreign forces and separatist, religious extremist and terrorist forces that have colluded to distort history and tamper with facts run counter to the trend of our times and will be cast aside by history and the people.

Xinjiang belongs to all ethnic groups in the region and the country. It is the common responsibility and aspiration of the Chinese people, including all those in Xinjiang to carry forward cultural heritage and build a shared spiritual home based on Chinese culture. Under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Xi Jinping as the President and with the support of the whole country and its people, all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are striving to achieve the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. Xinjiang is now marching to embrace an even better future.