Azeem Khan, Secretary-General of Ex Chinese Association was the main speaker, while Ms. Hina Habib and Asad Ali, research associates of ECI also spoke on the occasion. The session was moderated and chaired by Irfan Shahzad Takalvi, founding head of ECI. A select gathering of young and emerging scholars, university faculty and students, media contributors, businessmen and practitioners attended the session.
Eurasian Century Institute (ECI), Islamabad organized a roundtable on “Xinjiang – Understanding the Dynamics from a Pakistani Perspective” on November 04, 2020, under ECI’s Xinjiang Centre platform. The event was organized in collaboration with Ex Chinese Association, Pakistan.
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is of utmost importance for Pakistan, for Pak-China ties in general and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in particular. Due to consistent and comprehensive policies of Chinese central government and XUAR’s regional authorities, Xinjiang is recording impressive growth and development.
In addition, the connectivity initiatives being undertaken by China as part of Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), the land component of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xinjiang is emerging as the new economic hub of the Eurasian supercontinent. Fast growing trade and commercial relations with neighbouring countries are making Xinjiang a pivotal region of China for all the neighbouring countries.
Xinjiang, two times in size that of Pakistan, is home to various ethnic groups including Uygur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Tajik, Kyrgyz and others. All the ethnic groups of China are living in harmony and their lives are recording continuous improvement. Xinjiang is witnessing harmonious and comprehensive economic, social and societal development.
International propaganda against Xinjiang, in the name of human rights violations is baseless and it uses distorted information aimed at destabilizing China, which is now an economic power to reckon with and its regional and global clout is expanding rapidly and consistently.
There are no concentration camps in Xinjiang as certain countries particularly the West led by the US claims. The re-education and vocational training centres established by China are instruments of a vital strategy to fight extremism, terrorism and for de-radicalization. These re-educational and vocational training canters are changing the lives of trainees for better and many of them have already graduated, becoming highly beneficial members of society.
A segment of international media is also falsely propagating a negative picture of Xinjiang, serving the interests of anti-China forces. Reality of Xinjiang is a peaceful, prospering and developing region and society.
Any instability in Xinjiang bodes highly negative for the entire region around it. Thanks to Chinese policies, there has been not a single incident of terrorism in Xinjiang in past about four years and XUAR’s stability is proving vital for regional integration – specially for carrying forward BRI projects such as CPEC.
Unfortunately, the mainstream outlets of information and media in Pakistan also use western media as their source; which portrays neither China nor Pakistan in any positive light.
Researchers, academia, media and concerned citizen should study Xinjiang from a Pakistani perspective, using Chinese sources of information and academic discourse for true picture of the region. There is need to thoroughly aware the intellectual community, media and general public in this regard.
The roundtable ended with announcement of follow-up events on various dynamics of this subject to be organized by Xinjiang Centre, Eurasian Century Institute (ECI), Islamabad. The Institute is already carrying out deep and multidimensional research on Xinjiang with a dedicated team involved in this exercise; and findings are being shared with media, intellectuals as well as general public.