The 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues


On June 12, 2021, the Xinjiang related press conference in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region invited several representatives of ethnic minority people from Kashgar, Hotan and Aksu and invited them to share their experience after their graduation from the vocational education and training center. Their true stories of how they got rid of religious extremism, achieved stable employment and lived a happy life.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi,capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Elijan Anayat: Dear friends of the media, good morning. Welcome to the Xinjiang-related press conference in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. My name is Elijan Anayat, spokesman of People's Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Recently, some foreign hostile and anti-China forces have set up the so-called “Uygur Tribunal” in the U.K., shameless “hearing” of the “genocide” in Xinjiang, which is absolutely ridiculous. In response to this question, the 9th and 40th Xinjiang Related Press Conference held by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Beijing have already pointed out the truth. This is a pseudo court with a predetermined position for hostile forces to attack and smear Xinjiang and interfere in China's internal affairs.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Elijan Anayat, spokesman of People’s Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region answers questions at the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Today, in view of the so-called “Uygur Tribunal” fabricated evidence, to smear the vocational education and training center, we invite some graduates of the vocational education and training center to participate in the conference and invite them to share their experiences of learning training out of religious extremism, achieving stable employment and living a happy life. Their stories can debunk the Western anti-China forces' attacks and smears with facts. They are Ayisanguli Erivas from Aksu City of Aksu Prefecture, Maierdan Adili from Keping County of Aksu Prefecture, Zubiyan Yasheng from Kuqa City of Aksu Prefecture, Tiguri Yusan from Shule County of Kashgar Prefecture, Alimujiang Apusametti from Zepu County of Kashgar Prefecture and Memetaziz Aimerjiang from Luopu County of Hotan Prefecture.

Now, let's invite Ayisanguli Erivas to tell her story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Ayisanguli Erivas speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Ayisanguli Erivas: Hello everyone! My name is Ayisanguli Erivas. I'd like to start with my daughter's video.

Ayisanguli Erivas: My daughter is right. I am a confident and beautiful woman who owns a big nail salon and I live happily with my husband and two daughters. But like my daughter said, I used to be a bad mother.

When I first got married, my husband sold fertilizer to make money. I stayed at home to take care of our children. We were living a good life. But everything changed when I was scolded by women wearing burqas as a “faked Muslim”.

In order to be a “real Muslim”, I did not allow my husband to drink or smoke, and eating out was out of the question. I even went against my nature of being beautiful. I began to wear a black burqa so that no one could see my face. When I saw those fashionable and beautiful women, I would curse them in my heart and say, “You will go to hell when you die.” I even began to beat them. My sisters and old friends stopped talking to me anymore.

The children's school performance became worse and worse. After a series of arguments, my husband was afraid that the children would be infected by religious extremism, so he chose to divorce. A happy family of four just fell apart like that.

Under the persuasion of my family, I came to the vocational education and training center to study. I finally realized that I had been infected with religious extremism. I also painfully realized that piety and fanaticism for religious extremism were the cause of the disintegration of my family! Although I worked hard to learn knowledge and skills, I found it hard to forgive myself.

After graduation, the “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” helped me open a clothing store selling all kinds of fashionable and beautiful clothes. I also used the techniques I learned in the vocational education and training center to do the hairdressing and manicure in the store, which was extremely prosperous. But no matter how busy I was, I went to pick up the kids from school every day, preparing nice breakfasts and dinners. And I also took my children to restaurants. I also spent time in accompanying the children on the playground on the weekend. I also pick out some nice clothes for my children every time I get stock.

I like chatting with neighbors, friends and guests more and more in the store. Those fashionable women who were beaten and scolded by me before, had become my regular customers in my store, and some of them had become my good friends. When I worked on my nails or dress, my friends and I would talk about the fashion styles and manicures. Sometimes when I was too busy, they would pick up the kids for me. Every year, I gave them some clothes for free and did free manicures for them. We were almost a family!

As to my ex-husband, he was courting me again! Unbelievable! He would come to help me with stock and delivery and he worked hard! Customers thought that he was the owner and he would proudly tell them, “The beautiful and capable Ayisen is my boss, and I would like to work for her for the rest of my life.” Upon hearing that, my face blushed and I would pat him gently with my hand, just like the time when we were in love.

Our children were also very happy, “Mom was not close to us before, and she used to do many strange things. It seemed that you might fight with dad at anytime. We were very scared, because we thought you didn't like us. Now mom care about us in particular, she picks us up from school everyday and cooks a lot of delicious food. She also accompanies us when we are doing our homework and she takes us out to play during the holiday. We know that mommy loves us and we believe that mom and dad will be together again!”

Even my neighbor Aymunis Samamuti told me, “When you just graduated from the vocational education and training center and you said hello to us in the street, everyone was stunned. We didn't recognize you at all. In the past, we could only see your eyes and your clothes were always black or gray. You never talked with people and didn't smile at all. But now you are a fashionable, beautiful, lively and cheerful woman in front of us, who is a completely different person! Before I thought you were a difficult person to get along with. But now everyone is willing to make friends with you, I feel like I'm prettier now since I made friends with you!”

When I walked down the street with my two daughters, we were attracting great attention. The children were also very proud and kept calling me mom, as if to tell the world this gentle and beautiful woman was our mother! And I was so touched that my heart was going to melt.

Now, I have remarried with my husband, and our family has returned to the old days of peace and happiness. I am particularly glad to have been to the vocational education and training center. I am thankful to the Party and the government for helping me to regain my happy family. I think that a woman should be a good mother who loves beauty, life and her family.

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Ayisanguli Erivas for her story. With the influence of religious extremism, Maierdan Adili still relied on his parents at his twenties. But after learning the standard spoken and written Chinese language and skills in the vocational education and training center, seeing his family enjoy the new house, farmlands and sheep given by the state for land exchange and poverty alleviation and great changes of his hometown, Maierdan Adili deeply felt that the Party and the government's warm care never miss anyone on the way out of poverty. Now, let's invite Maierdan Adili to tell his story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Maierdan Adili speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Maierdan Adili: Hello everyone! My name is Maierdan Adili, 24 years old. I'm from the Xingfu Village, Aqale Town, Keping County, Aksu Prefecture. My standard spoken and written Chinese language which was learned from the vocational education and training center is not very good, sorry about it.

The Keping County is the most southwest county of Aksu Prefecture, and it's famous for “the township of yellow apricot”. It is also called “the township of camel” and “the township of Qamagur”. It sounds great, right?

But in fact, Keping County is a state-level poverty county, we have a jingle: “ A road with seven lights, a loudspeaker listened by the whole county, half throttle out of the county.”

Keping has the meaning of “flood” in Uygur. And you will know that there's a lot of floods. In the 60 years between the founding of the People's Republic of China and 2010, there were more than a dozen severe floods. The dams built in the past could not hold back the flood and the floods washed away many roads, farmlands and water channels. When there was no flood, there was a serious shortage of water and there was very little land for planting. In those years, people who live in Keping had hard times, they paid a lot but their incomes are not high.

But it was history, the Keping County in 2019 had managed to be removed from the list of poverty counties! I also graduated from the vocational education and training center, and I am running a barber shop now. The life is getting better and better.

In the past, my family had a small land and a small adobe house. Six people only relied on my father to do odd jobs to earn money to make both ends meet. I was young then and didn't understand how life was difficult at home. Later, I became infected with religious extremism and began to reject other ethnic groups. I did not associate with Han people, and became involved in criminal gangs.

It was the vocational education and training center that got rid of the religious extremist thoughts in my mind and taught me how to make money. I lived a rich life every day and my mentality was getting better. But I was a little worried about the difficulties at home.

Unexpectedly, every time I met my family, there was good news. My family moved into Xingfu Village, a new village built by the county with the national relocation project of poverty alleviation from inhospitable areas. The new 79-square-meter house had water, electricity and heating. The government gave us 25 mus of land and helped us raise cattle and sheep to earn money. We didn't pay too much money and have all of these!

With the help of the “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” and the “village committees”, the family's 25 mus of land was transferred out, earning 10,000 yuan per year. 10 sheep were sent to the Xiyangyang Company for trusteeship, and dividends were paid twice a year; My mother became a forest ranger, my two brothers went out to learn handicraft work. All had steady income. So my father's pressure was much less. By 2018, the income of our family per capita reached 5,920 yuan, and we were out of poverty! I thought that after we moved to the Xingfu Village, we already had the best life, but it was just the beginning of happiness.

Wusman Zudong also felt the same happiness just like me. Wusman Zudong is 56 years old. He used to live in an apartment of 50 square meters with seven people of his family. The adobe house was rent from others, six children slept on one big bed. The family is particularly difficult and there's not enough food to eat. After moving here, he lived in a new house, with his own land and sheep. And he found more surprises--one is farming for free, besides, the village also gave subsidies; the other one is that vegetable greenhouses were free of charge, and vegetables were subsidized too. Speaking of these, he was very excited.

I was excited too, for the family was out of poverty. I was particularly thankful for the Party and the government for giving us live good life. I also wanted to improve my living conditions of the family and change my own destiny with my own hands.

I wanted to open a barber shop because I had learned to cut hair in the vocational education and training center. The “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” and the “village committees” were especially supportive. They helped me find a shop, get a license and lower the rent from eight thousand to six thousand. With a 6,000 yuan start-up grant, my barber shop opened in the vicinity of Qilang Township.

At the beginning, no body knew the new store, I just had a few customers. The town cadres contacted the cadres of the Qilang Township, promoting my business to everyone they met. They helped me with promotion. The effect is particularly striking. My business was getting better and better, and I had four apprentices later. I became the owner and teacher.

Now the shop's business is very good and customers often line up. Although I am tired, I am happy. On average, I can earn more than five thousand yuan a month, and apprentices have their incomes too. When regular customers come, I will give them a discount. I make my own money and have enough confidence.

In order to encourage people to become rich by themselves, the government had built a row of storefronts specially for starting businesses. providing them with start-up funds. According to officials, it is “helping the poor by offering them aspirations”. At the time, the villagers were particularly active, the storefronts were very popular, and then the village had supermarkets, car repair shops and cosmetics shops.

In addition to being able to start a business, there was no need to worry about finding jobs. There are many agaric greenhouses in our town, which are specially built by the government for the surplus labor force. We think that agaric is a very good project, which is easy to plant and valuable. The price of agaric is 80 yuan per kilogram. There are so many people working in the greenhouse. It is very busy.

In fact, not only in our village, there are many ways to make money in the county. There are more than ten big enterprises, like the Xiyangyang Company, where many workers raise sheep and earn high salaries. I heard that there is a clothing company, the factory has a woman named Asma Musa, who used to take care of two kids and two elderly people. The family depend on her to work as a seamstress to make a living, with an income of only five or six hundred yuan a month. Now she works as a leading technician at the factory, earning 3,500 yuan a month.

Since we live in good days for a long time and see more and more people get rich, I can feel that with the Party and the government, poverty alleviation is really a start. The Keping County is a typical example.

The county now has 29 kindergartens. Every town and village has a health center and clinic, every family has basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents, serious disease insurance, medical assistance, supplementary medical insurance and annual free physical examination.

The country spent more than two billion of the Subashi reservoir began to store water. The living environment is better when floods are gone. There's no water shortage on the farmland. I heard that each farmer gains one mu of land. These farmland can grow red dates, pomegranates and pitaya.

With the care and help of the Party and the government, life for people in Keping is getting better and better day by day, just like my family. In 2019, the income per capita had exceeded 20,000 yuan! This year is the second year after Keping was lifted out of poverty. Our life will be happier and happier!

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Maierdan Adili for his story. The persecution of women and children by religious extremism can be described as extreme cruelty! Pattiguri, who had fallen into the abyss of darkness, knew it was a terrible nightmare! The best out of the worst, she woke up from the nightmare in pain after learning in the vocational education and training center! Now, let's invite Pattiguri Yusan to tell her story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Pattiguri Yusan speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Pattiguri Yusan: Hello everyone! My name is Pattiguri Yusan, a student graduating from the vocational education and training center. In the past, I learned from the Internet and TV that some Western media slandered Xinjiang, with rumors like detention of Uygur, preventing them from using Uygur language and restricting their freedom, preventing them from practicing religion. I would like to share my personal experiences, so that more people who care about China and Xinjiang can truly understand the damage that religious extremism has brought to me and my family, and how I have been studying at the vocational education and training center.

I was married on August 15, 2009. At first, I thought that this is the beginning of my happy life, it turned out to be the beginning of my worst nightmare, which was out of my expectation.

After graduating from junior high school, I was still a little girl. But my father forced me to marry a man, a religious extremist. After I got married, I had to do take part in the illegal “Tablig”. I couldn't talk to any men outside and I couldn't wear beautiful, clothes with bright colors. I had to wear burqa. When I was a little disobedient, he would hit me, kick me and reproach me. I was very sad. I cried and resisted, but slowly, I was too afraid to fight back and I was used to take that. I also felt my life is hopeless.

I began to frequently associate with people with religious extremists’ ideas. When I attended an illegal scripture teaching activity in a neighboring village, I met a man named Yusufu. We watched videos and pictures of “jihad” many times, in attempt to achieve our imaginary happy life in another world through “jihad martyrdom into heaven”. By April 2014, I was blinded by religious extremism and I decided to go to attend the “jihad” despite my family's persuasion.

I had two kids, and I relentlessly weaned the child who was still nursing. In order not to arouse others' suspicion, I took my three-year-old daughter to Urumqi. Later in order to reduce the burden on the way, I listened to the arrangement of Yusufu and gave my daughter to his friend without hesitation. And then I followed him to Guangzhou with his sister and other people . We wanted to find the route of crossing the border illegally. We hid ourselves from place to place and we were afraid of being caught by the police.

At that moment, I overheard Yusufu's conversation with his sister. I learned that my daughter was ill. It seemed that my daughter was very sick and she was dying. At my repeated request, 15 days later, I returned to Urumqi and went the “friend's” home to look for my daughter, but I couldn't find her. So I had to report the case to the local police station.

After reporting the case, I know that my daughter was forced to take illegal lessons at the home of the so-called “friend”. My daughter was too young to recite the scriptures, so they didn’t let her eat or drink. And they often beat her and scolded her. After searching, the community police found my daughter with bruised body and skull fracture. She got blood in her ears, nostrils and eyes. She was on the verge of death. We rushed her to the hospital. Despite the doctors did their best to save her, my daughter eventually left me and this world forever……

The loss of my daughter made me felt as if a knife were being twisted in my heart. I would never see the little girl I loved again, or hear her call me “mommy”. My mind was all the scene of my daughter was beaten, the sound of her crying and screaming, her despairing eyes and she called me mommy in pain.

When my daughter needed protection most, I was not there for her. I killed my daughter! This was not the happiness I want, this was not the result I want! The death of my daughter made me be in pain and sorrow every day, I didn't have happy life at all. The departure of my daughter let me finally understand that I was poisoned by religious extremist thoughts! Why was I so stupid? I fell into the trap of those devils who murdered my daughter! I hated my foolishness for believing to their lies; I hated myself for my cruelty in leaving my little girl behind me forever in that underground lair; I hated the bad guys who preach religious extremism to me, which brought me on the road of breaking the law and committing crimes. I do regret it!

At this time, the police found me to investigate the case of my daughter. I realized that I knew nothing about laws. If I didn't fight back today, more people would lose their children tomorrow. I took the initiative to expose those violent terrorists to the public security departments. I hope the murderer who killed my daughter will be severely punished by the law. As a mother, I failed to fulfill my responsibility as a guardian to my daughter. I also violated the law by sending my little girl underground to learn illegal scriptures and engage in migratory jihad.

With the help and education of the police and village cadres, I take the initiative to choose the vocational education and training center to learn. In the vocational education and training center, teachers taught me to learn the standard spoken and written Chinese language, laws and regulations, professional skills and “deradicalization” knowledge. We ate free and delicious food, lived in clean and complete facilities every day, and lived a very fulfilling life. In the vocational education and training center, our curriculum arrangement was diverse every day, reading, singing, dancing, playing volleyball and playing tennis. I not only learned the standard spoken and written Chinese language and legal knowledge, but also learned the sewing techniques. In the vocational education and training center, I returned to the happy campus life. With the care and help of teachers and students, I passed the examination with excellent results and completed those courses.

After graduation, the government helped me open an e-commerce convenience supermarket. While running the supermarket, I helped the villagers design and cut clothes with the sewing skills I learned in the vocational education and training center. Now I have a a stable income of 3,000 yuan per month.

Now my son is in the first grade of primary school. He wears clean school uniform every day and sits in the spacious and bright classroom to study. He plays happily with his classmates in the campus. With the help of a series of government policies to benefit the people, my family and I have been living a better and better life year by year. I have completely put the dark past behind me!

The stable life has not come easily, I cherish the beautiful life now. I am very happy and also very contented, this is the happy life which I really want!

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Pattiguri Yusan for her story. Now, let's invite Memetaziz Aimerjiang to tell his story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Memetaziz Aimerjiang speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Memetaziz Aimerjiang: Hello everyone! My name is Memetaziz Aimerjiang., a dancer in Luopu County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Now I work in the performing team of Luopu County Cultural Center.

I've loved to dance since I was a kid and I've always wanted to dance on the big stage. And my dream was almost destroyed by the “Three Forces”!

I didn't have too much schooling, but I like to have fun. I often went out to sing and dance with my friends. When there was wedding, I would go there to dance and have great fun. Then I opened a restaurant with my wife and got to know some so-called “friends” who told me, “Don't let “infidels” come to dinner, don't sing or dance at the wedding, or you'll go to hell!” I trusted what they said. I was unhappy when people of other ethnic groups came to eat. Although I did not drop them out, but I would put on a terrible look. I also went to people's weddings and tried to stop them from singing and dancing.

My life became a mess. The restaurant had closed and I couldn't live a normal life. I still didn't let my wife go out to earn money because I thought the money she earns is not halal. When my parents knew the situation and they were very angry with me. They asked the cadres of the village committee to persuade me to go to the vocational education and training center.

“What did I do wrong? Why am I like this? Maybe I should go there to study and find out what went wrong?” After some ideological struggle, I finally decided to go to the vocational education and training center to study. I learned the standard spoken and written Chinese language and legal knowledge there, and I knew that I was infected by religious extremist thoughts. If I went on like that, I would surely lead to disaster!

I was especially grateful for my choice. The vocational education and training center not only discouraged me from continuing my mistakes, but also encouraged me to continue my dancing dream. At first I walked into the dance hall of the vocational education and training center, I fell in love with the spacious and bright classrooms, the large mirrors on the wall and the cheerful music. There are professional teachers here and friends who love dancing like me and we practiced and lined dancing together. I felt that I was getting closer and closer to my dream. Every day I practiced basic skills in the rehearsal hall, if others practiced five minutes, I would practice 20 minutes, and then hard and tired to insist that. I believed that as long as I was willing to work hard, my dream could come true!

After graduation, I did not hesitate to find the work team of “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” , I said to them: “I'm good at dancing, can I join the performance team?” And they said: “Yes, of course, you are such a good dancer and we are about to look for you!” The work team and the village cadres especially supported me, and I successfully became a dancer in the performance team of the cultural center.

Every time we went to the countryside to perform, people came early, waiting for the start of the performance. When the music started, they danced and sang along, unprofessional but earnest in their enthusiasm and joy. “Excellent! One more……” there was filled of the cheering, the laughter and the whistling, all the trouble was gone.

Before I went to the vocational education and training center, the village was full of religious extremism. It was like a dark cloud hanging over our heads, making people suffocate. Originally happy wedding was infected by some people so we could not sing or dance, and no familiar Dolan Maxrap, no friends and relatives laugh and the wedding soon ended, it didn't like a wedding at all.

After the work team of “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” came here, many cultural activities were held in the village. Through the of deradicalization, the dark clouds over the head of the common people were blown away. The wedding had cheerful songs and dances. We drank tea, ate dried fruit, dim sum, grab meal (polo), and then we invited each other continue to dance and sing. The bride and groom in the happy crowd received everyone's blessing, and we are so happy!

The clouds had gone and the sun shone. Xinjiang is a home of singing and dancing, everyone likes singing and dancing. Our cultural tour activities to the countryside have been performed more than 100 times, we sent applause and cheers everywhere. The changes make me more deeply feel the concern of the Party and the government!

Early morning in the village used to be quiet. Now, early in the morning, the crisp laughter of children and the honking of motorbike horns have awakened the whole village. Mothers get up early to prepare breakfast for their children, ride electric bikes to work at factories. The rows of colorful electric cars on the road and smiling faces under helmets make me feel proud of the beautiful scene!

Like the city, the village has the “morning peak”, but the “evening peak” is even busier, you can't find a idle person in the village! The village has built a cultural activity room and sports square. After people finishing their works, eating their dinners, in addition to see our performance, they also go to the library to read books, check breeding, planting information. Every family has a TV, they can also use the internet at home. Young people use the network to start their Wechat business and sell the agricultural and sideline products. I also like the internet, you can read news and learn the popular dance. Cultural workers like us can not lag behind!

The year before last, the county built a literary brigade night market, made a “night economy”. Night was even lively than the day, we watch the performance, dance, drinking kavas, eating barbecue…… The tiredness of a busy day had gone long ago. After coming home, villagers could take a hot bath and have a good sleep. Such a life was so comfortable! Looking back on the old days when I was distorted by religious extremism, I am especially grateful to the party and the government for giving me a new life, and to the vocational education and training center for pulling me back from the brink.

You can see that the life of the common people is getting better and better, full of energy. Whether it was on the big stage for the people or under the grape arbors of farmers' homes, whenever there is music, everyone will dance the Uygur dance. We use our cheerful rhythm and the light steps to express our gratitude to the Party and the government, and our love for a better life. I will always dance for people, dance out of my happiness and dance out of the happiness of each of us!

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Memetaziz Aimerjiang for his story! The Yarkant River, as a branch of the Tarim River, has been breeding people of all ethnic groups for thousands of years. Memetaziz Aimerjiang is just one of them. Now, let's welcome to Alimujiang Apusametti tell his story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Alimujiang Apusametti speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Alimujiang Apusametti: Hello, everyone! My name is Alimujiang Apusametti, and I’m from Zepu County of Kashgar Prefecture in Xinjiang. I’m a guide of the Yarkant River Custom and Culture Museum.

From Zhang Qian’ s visit the West Region to the King of Shache and his son’s agreement to serve the Han Dynasty, to the king of Yutian eliminating the rogue across thousands of miles away, then to Lin Zexu who promoted water conservancy while stationing his troop and guarding the borders, there have been so many stories taking place in the Yarkant River basin. Ever since the Han Dynasty, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang had exploited the vast land of our country together with people from other places in it. We have collectively created a huge Chinese-nation family that has multiple elements but one entity.

The Yarkant River is surging in the body of Karakoram Mountain, and it flows under the Chogori Peak. The river nourishes 4,4 million mus of oasis, which is the biggest one in Xinjiang. Along it, there lies my hometown. The river breeds millions of people in Southern Xinjiang and I’m just one of them.

Although I can clearly talk about the history of the Yarkant River, still once upon a time I was easily made believe the fake history made up by the religious extremists. I became the accomplice of them separating the nation and devastating the unity among ethnic groups. Thankfully, I went to study in the vocational education and training center after that, and it was because of this that I didn’t fall into the abyss.

After graduation, I decided to learn correct history and it was started from the Yarkant River that raised me. So, the “Four Halls and One Center” that the county set up for enriching people’s cultural life became the place that I liked to go most when I was free, especially the library.

In the books, the famous king of Shache and his son in the Yarkant River’s history have taught me a good lesson.

After the West Han Dynasty united the West, Yan, the king of Shache once studied for a long time in the country. The government of the West Han Dynasty was taking care of him to the particular extent, so he was having a good feeling towards them. After being the king of Shache when he came back, he practiced all kinds of policies established by the central government of Han Dynasty and he managed his cities in accordance with the regulations and the legislation of Han Dynasty. He not only maintained the unity of our country, but he also taught his son Kang to remember the beneficence of Han Dynasty and keep on maintaining the unity of the West Region and the inner lands of our country. He swore he would never betray his country.

At the end of the West Han Dynasty, the society was in a great chaos and the Huns regained the control over the West Region. Yan determined to die rather than surrender, he protected more than a thousand officials, soldiers, and their families of the Han Dynasty because they didn’t have enough time to withdraw. After the East Han Dynasty reunited the West Region once again, people of all ethnic groups in the West Region and the Han people were much more closer.

I’m also the child raised by the Yarkant River, and I even enjoy the good policies of our party and our government. But, in the past...Whenever I thought about this, I feel ashamed.

Every time when I finish reading and go home, I will tell what I read to my children. This is because identifying what is right and wrong should be started from the early childhood. After telling them about this several times, there comes an idea in my mind: There must be so many that don’t know about the history of the Yarkant River and the importance of maintaining national unity and ethnic unity, which equals zero resistance to the thoughts of religious extremism. This is too dangerous! I have to tell what I know to more!

What a coincidence! It was right when I was reading books in the library that I heard the museum in my county was hiring guides. I have been well trained with the standard spoken and written Chinese language in the vocational education and training center for several years. The job suits me, given that it was not only about telling the history that interested me, but also about having more people know the local history.

Good news never come alone. After the working team of “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” and the community cadres knew my thoughts, they specially came to my house to encourage me and helped me get the opportunity of seeking employment. They offered me learning materials as well while helping me make drastic efforts to master the standard spoken and written Chinese language. All of their efforts were not wasted. I got the job!

The night before I went to work, I was so excited that I could not fall asleep. My mind was overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness. I originally worried that our party and our government would abandon me, the cadres would stay away from me, the people around would discriminate me, and the company wouldn’t need me. But I was all wrong! It was just because of their help that I got a new life.

So, after being the guide, apart from telling the history of the Yarkant River, I also like to talk about the story of Liu Guozhong, “The Most Beautiful Countryside Official of China”.

He’s a secretary of village party branch in our Zepu County. In order to settle the problem of irrigating the farmland, the honest man took the villagers digging the canals. In order to get the electricity in, the man in his 50s slept on Bazaar with his own blanket. In order to pave the tar road, he took the whole village to dig the sand. He taught the villagers to grow walnuts and peppers to make themselves rich while leaving his land dying. The poverty was rid, but Secretary Liu had gone forever ...

Whenever speaking of this, I will think about the work team of “Fanghuiju campaign involving help from civil servants of all levels ” and the community cadres. I will think about them helping me settle the plan of support, helping me back and forth, celebrating the success of my employment, as well as encouraging me to live a good life, which moved me a lot. Our party and government not only helped me, but saved me!

In these years, thanks to the favorable policies made by our Party and government, my hometown had changed quite a lot. The Yarkant River is just a typical example.

The Yarkant River in the past didn’t have enough water supply in the irrigating area when it was Spring, whereas in Summer there was a lot of floods. This problem had been existing there for so many years. People love the river, people also hate it. When the flood came, the houses of the farmers would be washed away and the fields of them would be overrun and devastated. The cattle and the sheep would be killed. Though they were unwilling to do so, people had to cut down the trees so that they could control the flood. They were risking their lives controlling it. The rain was supposed to be a good help for farmers. The farmers in the Yarkant River basin was really afraid of it!

Last year, at the end of May, Altash Water Conservancy Project which has been invested with 10 billion yuan by our Party and government had completed its main part of construction. From 2011, workers had to go up and down through a meandering plank road with a length of more than 6,000 meters every single day. A great amount of material resources had to be lifted to the altitude of nearly 3,000 meters by shoulders. In some places, the slope was up to 90 degree. The narrowest part had a space only for two feet.

For several years, the designers, the architects, the specialists, the workers, and more than 4,000 farmers and herdsmen left their hometowns and went across mountains and rivers for their new homes, going through the freezing winds, walking on foot to the top and over the cliffs. After all the sufferance and painstaking efforts, they finally finished constructing the main-body of the dam. The water which had been a problem for one-thousand-year was truly “tamed”!

Today, the floods become less and the water for irrigation becomes more. We don’t have electricity shortage. The ecological environment becomes more beautiful. People have no hatred towards the Yarkant River, and all they have is love!

There are many things that have benefited our descendants like this, such as the tidy houses that are for good settlement and enrichment, the wide road and the modernized industrial park. People of all ethnic groups have tasted the sweetness of the Yarkant River, living a happy life in our motherland. They sing the song of joy along the surging river.

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Alimujiang Apusametti for his story. Now, let's welcome Zubiyan Yasheng to tell her story.

Photo taken on June 12, 2021 shows Zubiyan Yasheng speaks at the the 41st Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues in Urumqi, capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Photo by Xinjiang Daily/ Xie Long

Zubiyan Yasheng: My name is Zubiyan Yasheng, and I’m a graduate student of the vocational education and training center of Kuqa City in Aksu Prefecture. Now, I’m a village cadre of Kumuerik village in Wuzun Town.

Once, there were people spreading the thoughts of religious extremism to me in the village. They took me to the lecturing site to attend the lectures of so-called “religious personnel”. They told me that “Han people are pagans” and “Muslims cannot live the houses built by the government and using the money given by the government is sinful”, as well as “Muslim women should kill the pagans as well”. I listened and believed their words. I became more and more isolated, and my actions became more and more extreme. I never bought anything that was not produced by Muslim. I started to show hatred to Han people around me. All I was thinking was that “entering the heaven by starting the holy war and dying for the religion”. Because of this, my friends started to keep a distance from me and my mother had tears all over her face. She kept persuading me to go to the vocational education and training center. In April of 2018, I went there for help.

In the vocational education and training center, I see through the true faces of those so-called “religious personnel” by learning laws like The Constitution of People’s Republic of China, The Criminal Law of People’s Republic of China and The Counterterrorism Law of People’s Republic of China as well as The Regulations of Religious Affairs. They are not religious personnel at all, but they are the criminals who spread the thoughts of religious extremism. Their very purpose is to brainwash us and trick us into committing crimes while turning us into hellish devils. Now that I think of it, were it not for the education and training center, I might have walked on a path of crime and become the bullet of extremists committing crimes.

The vocational education and training center open courses like e-commerce, computing, cooking, and hairdressing, Every student can choose one or two courses to learn according to their own interests and hobbies. I chose the computer major and I learned how to operate the office software such as Word and Excel. When it was graduation, I could proficiently use the computer to deal with words and data.

After graduation, because of my good foundation of the standard spoken and written Chinese language, the proficiency in operating the computer, the outgoing spirits and singing and dancing talent, I became a member of the village committee. I often organize some cultural activities with the villagers to enrich their spiritual and cultural life. Every time when I see the smiles on their faces, I will feel quite successful.

Recently, I had heard that some foreign media said “the students of the vocational education and training center have suffered from cruel punishments and female students have got raped.” These are all the lies that they made up. They have never been to the vocational education and training center. They have never communicated with us. They’re not qualified at all to make any irresponsible judgments on the vocational education and training center. As you can see, I am very healthy. Do I look like I have been tortured? I’m now thinking about finding a boyfriend, starting my own family and giving birth to some healthy babies. The lies they made up can deceive others, but not us.

Elijan Anayat: Thanks Zubiyan Yasheng for her story. The vocational education and training center is a place that saves people. It's also a place that makes people who don't know about law, who don't understand law and who don't abide by law start to know about law, understand law and abide by law. In contrast with the present and the past, the graduate students from it show more hatred and antipathy towards those extreme thoughts that bring them devastation. They cherish more the good life that came in a hard way. They have personally felt and witnessed the harmonious stability and the prospering development of Xinjiang. Now, let's watch a video about the real life of these students.

Elijan Anayat: Facts have proved that the vocational education and training work carried out in Xinjiang has eliminated the soil and conditions for the breeding of terrorism and religious extremism to the maximum extent, effectively guaranteed the right to life, health and development of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and not only achieved social stability in Xinjiang, but also effectively maintained regional security and stability. All the activities of the so-called "court" such as "holding a court session" and "trial" are clumsy performances of hostile forces in their attempt to "control China by Xinjiang". We are firmly opposed to the attacks and slanders of the U.S. and Western anti-China forces! We believe that Xinjiang not only has prosperity and stability today, but also will have a better tomorrow!

This is the end of the press conference today. Thank you all for listening!

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