Uyghurs in Xinjiang were forced to become Muslim and have been an integral part of China for thousands of years, Beijing said in a new report, in an attempt to justify its controversial crackdown against the ethnic minority in the far-western region.
China has sought to justify treatment of Uyghurs that Western countries have condemned as “cultural genocide”
Beijing’s report hits back at “double standards” of critics and defends “anti-terrorism” efforts
Experts say the white paper is a classic case of China’s ongoing information warfare
A white paper released on Sunday by China’s State Council Information Office — the Government’s propaganda arm — presents the ruling Communist Party’s interpretation of history, claiming “Islam is neither an indigenous nor the sole belief system of the Uyghur people”.
The report also said that Islam spread into Xinjiang by “the Arab Empire” and that the Turkic Uyghur people “endured slavery” at the hands of “the Turks”.
“Conversion to Islam was not a voluntary choice made by the common people, but a result of religious wars and imposition by the ruling class,” it said, declaring that the Government nevertheless respects “the Muslims’ right to their beliefs”.
Aydidar Kahar tucks her long hair behind her ear and smiles at the camera.
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She takes the viewer on a tour of a mall in Xinjiang — decked out with luxury brands like Versace, Gucci and Dior — before the video abruptly cuts to her sitting at a desk, staring straight into the camera lens.
“Isn’t the department store and the subway you just saw an epitome of the dramatic changes in Xinjiang?” she said, in a video broadcast by Chinese state-owned Global Times.
“Grandma, you have been defaming Xinjiang … people in Xinjiang are living a decent life.”