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BEIJING, Oct 16 (APP):The Uyghur population has grown from 5.55 million to more than 13 million over the past 40 years in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, a Chinese foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Friday said.

“Since you asked about the situation in Xinjiang, I have more data at hand to share with you. Over the past 40 years, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has been more than double from 5.55 million to more than 13 million,” he said while responding to a question during his regular briefing held here.

He informed that from 2014 to 2019, the gross domestic product (GDP) in Xinjiang has grown at an average annual rate of 7.2%, the per capita disposable income of Xinjiang residents has grown at an average annual rate of 9.1% and the incidence of poverty has fallen from 19.4% to 1.24%.

Zhao said at the recent General Debate of the third Committee of the General Assembly, 48 countries issued a joint statement to firmly support China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang and firmly oppose the politicization of human rights issues and the practice of double standards.

He said as a matter of fact, the cause of human rights in Xinjiang continues to develop and progress and people of all ethnic groups enjoy full basic rights such as the rights to survival and development, and so on.

The spokesperson said the so-called “persecution” of Muslims and “crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang are deliberately fanned up by some anti-China forces to smear, attack and suppress China. China is the last one to wear the pin of “crimes against humanity”.

Terming Xinjiang affairs as purely internal affairs of China, he said, any attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs through Xinjiang-related issues will not succeed.

“We have said many times that Xinjiang-related issues are never about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about combating violent terrorism and secession,” he added.

Zhao said the preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures taken in Xinjiang have effectively curbed the frequent occurrence of terrorist activities, so that the life safety of people of all ethnic groups is guaranteed and greater progress has been made in local economy and living standards. This is to protect to the greatest extent the basic human rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

He hoped that the relevant party would respect facts, tell right from wrong and treat Xinjiang-related issues objectively and impartially.

“We always welcome objective and fair-minded foreigners, including you all, to visit Xinjiang and see for yourselves.

You can present a genuine Xinjiang to the international community after that,” he added.