CHINA ON THE FRONT FOOT ON XINJIANG A glance back to the end of the Trump Presidency, and Secretary of State Pompeo — frustrated by the Administration’s failure to make China “more compliant” — raised the anti-China rhetoric + accused China of genocide — of attempts to eliminate the Uyghurs by mass murder and birth control manipulation. China has always denied the allegations + repeatedly points out that the Uyghurs’ population has increased from 10m to 12m during the period that China confronted terrorism caused by Islamic extremists. No matter, the allegations have been repeated across the Western world + in recent attempts to “hurt” China economically, the West has focused on allegations of modern slavery + boycotts of Xinjiang produced goods. Last week President Xi took an important step forward when he visited Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, for four days. With an eye on the future, he said Xinjiang “is no longer a remote area, but a core hub”. Once among China’s poorest regions, it is now one of the most economically vibrant, with energy projects, mining, agriculture and trade driving growth. Xi also visited Xinjiang University and the Museum of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the latter to show support for Uygur ethnic culture. He urged the authorities to “tell the Xinjiang story”.
As the SCMP reports, the BRI was launched in 2013 with development in mind, the building of infrastructure linking neighbouring countries by land and sea to the rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe being about growth, prosperity and mutual benefit. Xinjiang’s location + size give it a major role; accounting for one-sixth of Chinese territory and one-quarter of the nation’s land border, its adjoining seven Central Asian countries offers unparalleled opportunities. China is readying itself to make Xinjiang a cornerstone of China’s Belt+Road Initiative going forward.
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