Anywhere in the world if tyranny rules in which basic human rights are usurped, freedom of expression is denied, opportunities to grow are snatched and curbs are put on the public to exercise their religions, the shine is taken off from such a region and eventually development, peace and stability take a backseat.

If the doctrine of the west and the US is accepted, that Xinjiang, China’s northwest Uyghur Autonomous Region, is the worst area in these terms where the Chinese government has unleashed hell on Uyghurs, the territory must have hit rock bottom in all sectors, suffering societal torments, educational downturn, economic decline and collective disasters. Contrary to all odds, Xinjiang, despite being victimised by venomous propaganda, is scoring well in a multi-faced development index. Indicators in different spheres of life spell successes throughout the region.

In the backdrop of economic development that realised a historic leap, Xinjiang’s GDP rose from 791 million yuan (about 115 million US dollars) in 1952 to 1.22 trillion yuan in 2018, an average annual growth of 8.3 percent. Per capita GDP increased 37.7 times on an inflation-adjusted basis to 49,475 yuan.

At the forefront of China’s westward frontiers, Xinjiang’s total imports and exports exceeded 20 billion US dollars in 2018. The region leads the nation in agricultural mechanisation and efficient water conservancy irrigation, and has become China’s biggest cotton production base. A great number of water conservancy, transport and energy projects have been completed, further improving the region’s infrastructure.

Xinjiang’s GDP increased 6.1 percent in 2018. The tertiary industry served as an important driver of economic growth, which contributed 62.3 percent to economic growth.

Xinjiang received more than 150 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2018, a year-on-year growth of 40 percent, and 75.89 million tourists in the first half of 2019, up 46 percent year on year.

With 21 civil airports, traveling in and out of Xinjiang by plane has become the first choice of many people.

With the rapid economic development in Xinjiang, disposable household income has experienced huge growth in recent years, lifting Xinjiang’s residents to a moderately prosperous level.

Suitable and focused policies targeting poverty-stricken areas in the four prefectures of southern Xinjiang have also seen great results. From 2014 to 2018, 2.31 million people, including 1.89 million from southern Xinjiang, were lifted from poverty. The government spent 69.59 million yuan to relieve poverty in Xinjiang from 2014 to 2018, with emphasis on people and a livelihood-centred development. More than 70 percent of the public budget expenditures in the region were spent on improving livelihoods and continuously boosting nine welfare programmes focusing on employment, education, medical services and social insurance.

The infrastructure construction in Xinjiang also guaranteed a more convenient and higher-quality life for the residents in the region. Xinjiang has comprehensively pushed forward construction of water, electricity and road access in remote and under-developed regions, provided safe water for 10.5 million rural residents, achieved 78.3 percent tap water access in rural areas, and ended the history of a lack of electricity, tap water and transport in remote areas.

Xinjiang’s net enrolment ratio of school-age children used to be less than 20 percent, and the illiteracy rate was up to 90 percent and per capita life expectancy was merely 30 years.

After 70 years of development, the number of primary schools increased from 1,335 in 1949 to 3,368 in 2018, and high schools from nine in 1949 to 1,278 in 2018. The region has also continuously improved the equalisation of basic public cultural services, protected cultural heritage and driven the development of ethnic cultures. The prosperity and progress of Xinjiang cannot be separated from the great support of the central government and the selfless help of all Chinese.

Believe it or not, nevertheless all success trajectories, around 22 various rumours are still swirling around. As lies always fall flat, the sham of heresies is being exposed.

The first rumour is that the vocational education and training centres in Xinjiang are “concentration camps” detaining over one million Uyghurs. The facts are that the vocational education and training centres, established in accordance with law in Xinjiang, are no different in nature from the community corrections in the US, the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) in the UK, and the deradicalisation centres in France. All of them are useful measures and positive explorations for preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalisation, and are in line with the principles and spirit of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other counter-terrorism resolutions.

It has a solid legal basis and follows well-defined legal procedures, and is done in a way that makes no linkage to any specific region, ethnic group or religion. There is no such thing as “suppression of ethnic minorities” or “persecution of Muslims”.

The second rumour is that the vocational education and training centres in Xinjiang carried out “political indoctrination and intimidation” over the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. The facts are that vocational education and training centres in Xinjiang provided courses on standard spoken and written Chinese language, legal knowledge, professional skills and deradicalisation, to address the inadequate language proficiency, lack of legal literacy and job skills, as well as the varying degrees of religious extremism influence among their trainees. The purpose of the centres is to tackle terrorism and religious extremism at the root, not so-called “political indoctrination and intimidation” by any means.

Through all-round learning, the trainees have freed themselves from the influence of terrorism and religious extremism. Their overall capacity has been improved, as evidenced by a markedly increased understanding of the law, the ability to speak and write in standard Chinese, acquisition of practical skills and the general improvement in employability. Most of them have found jobs that give them a stable income, and notably improved their families’ living standards.

Another rumour is that Xinjiang’s special operations against violent terrorist activities aim to suppress ethnic minorities under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Facts are that Xinjiang had suffered long and deep from terrorism and extremism. Statistics show that from 1990 to 2016, ethnic separatists, religious extremists and violent terrorists plotted and conducted several thousand violent terrorist cases and incidents, killing a large number of innocent civilians and several hundred police officers, and causing immeasurable property losses. These incidents inflicted untold sufferings on the people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

The face of a grave and complicated counter-terrorism situation and the urgent demand from people of all ethnic groups for suppressing violence and terrorist crimes and protecting life and property safety, China’s Xinjiang region has taken a series of active measures. Responding to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other counter-terrorism resolutions, Xinjiang has upheld the principle of not linking terrorism with any particular region, ethnic group or religion, and acted in accordance with the law to crack down on violence and terrorist activities that violate human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic unity and aim at separating the country. Since 2014, a total of 1,588 violent and terrorist groups have been taken out, 12,995 violent terrorists arrested and 2,052 explosive devices seized. Such operations have effectively curbed the rising trend of frequent terrorist activities and protected people’s right to life, right to health, right to development and other basic rights to the maximum extent. These measures have received full support from people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Through law-based counter-terrorism, deradicalisation and vocational education and training, Xinjiang has not seen a single violent terrorist case in the past three-odd years. Extremist infiltration has been effectively curbed, public security significantly improved and people’s sense of fulfilment, happiness and security markedly enhanced.

In October 2019, more than 60 countries spoke in support of China’s Xinjiang policy at the United Nations General Assembly. Among them, over 30 are Islamic countries. In contrast, none of the few countries criticising China’s Xinjiang policy are Islamic countries.

Since late December 2018, more than 1,000 people from over 90 countries have visited Xinjiang in 70-plus groups. They include UN officials, foreign envoys to China, representatives of relevant countries to Geneva, journalists and members of religious groups. After their visits, they expressed the view that Xinjiang’s counter-terrorism and deradicalisation efforts are in line with the purposes and principles of the UN in fighting terrorism and upholding basic human rights and that these efforts deserve to be fully recognised and emulated by others.

Another rumour is that Xinjiang has demolished a large number of mosques. Facts are that Xinjiang has seen sound development of the religion of Islam. The number of mosques in Xinjiang has grown from some 2,000 at the beginning of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s to 24,400 today, more than 10 times that in the United States. In Xinjiang, there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average.

Xinjiang takes the preservation and maintenance of mosques very seriously. Some cramped and dilapidated mosques, those with poor layout designs and those inconvenient for religious activities have been rebuilt, relocated or expanded in light of the needs and wishes of local Muslim communities. Such adjustments have been welcomed by religious leaders and believers.

There is a rumour that the Chinese government forces sterilisation, abortion and birth control on Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

The facts are that the Chinese government protects the lawful rights and interests of all Chinese without distinction of ethnicity. Over the years, the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities have enjoyed a preferential population policy. In the four decades between 1978 and 2018, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang increased from 5.55 million to 11.68 million, accounting for 46.8 percent of the total population of the autonomous region.