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Press Release 20140304

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1. On the Terrorist Attack in Kunming, China

Kunming, capital of China's southwest Yunnan Province, was shocked by a deadly terrorist attack on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

At around 9:30pm local time, eight knife-wielding attackers slashed frantically at crowds at a railway station in Kunming. At least 29 innocent people were killed, and 143 others were injured.

By the afternoon of March 3, police killed 4 assailants on spot and captured the remaining 4 suspects involved in the attack. Order has been restored in Kunming.

Evidence showed that the terrorist attack was planned and organized by separatist forces from Xinjiang.A black, hand-painted East Turkestan flag was confiscated by the police at the crime scene.

This ruthless indiscriminate killing of innocent people is an affront to human rights, and challengesthe authority of the legal system, human civilization, and social order. The suspects will be punished to the full extent of the law.

The whole of China has responded to the attack with a greater sense of unity. In every form of social media, people have spoken out to denounce the terrorist attack and offer their prayers for the victims.

The carnage has also shocked and outraged the international community.

The UN Security Council on Sunday issued a chairman statement, condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attack and extending sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families as well as to the people and the government of China.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the Kunming terrorist attack and expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims, and wished the injured a fast recovery. He said there is no justifiable reason for killing innocent civilians and those who violate laws must be punished.

The US State Department calls this attack "an act of terrorism" and extends its condolences for the loss of life.

In addition, France, Germany, Britain, Australia, South Korea, Pakistan, India, the European Union and many other countries also condemned this terrorist attack.

2. On China’s Religious Policy in Xinjiang

Freedom of religious belief is a basic right bestowed by China’s Constitution as follows: "The state protects normal religious activities."

The Chinese government carries out a policy of freedom of religious belief, which protects citizens' rights of freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles, and promotes healthy and orderly development of religion.

Since ancient times, Xinjiang has always been a region with a number of religions existing side by side. The major religions in Xinjiang today are Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism and Daoism.Most people of Xinjiang's 10 major ethnic minority groups, with a total population of over 11.3 million, believe in Islam now.

At present Xinjiang has 24,800 venues for religious activities, including mosques, churches and temples, in addition to over 29,000 clerical personnel, 91 religious organizations and two religious colleges. In recent years, the number of people from Xinjiang who make the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia each year has been around 2,700.

So far, over 1,800 religious personages in Xinjiang have been elected to posts in people's congresses and people's political consultative conferences at different levels. They have actively participated in deliberation and administration of state affairs on behalf of religious believers, and in exercising supervision over the government in respect to the implementation of the policy of freedom of religious belief.

3. Onthe Development and Progress in Xinjiang

Profound changes have taken place in Xinjiang over the last 60 years, particularly after China's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.

The local GDP in 2008 stood at 420.3 billion RMBYuan(60.2 billion US Dollar), which is 86.4 times higher than that of 1952, three years before the establishment of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, up 8.3 percent on average annually.

In 2008, the per-capita net income of farmers in Xinjiang was 3,503 Yuan, which is 28 times more than that of 1978, while the per-capita disposable income of urban residents reached 11,432 Yuan, which is 35 times more than that of 1978.

The great economic achievements are the results of concerted efforts by all peoples of Xinjiang, and of support from the central government and the entire nation.

From 1950 to 2008, the central government invested 386.23 billion Yuan in Xinjiang, accounting for 25.7 percent of the total investment in the region.

Huge progress has also been made in areas including education, science, arts, health and medical services, employment, social security, as well as the preservation of ethnic cultures.

In Xinjiang, citizens of every ethnic group enjoy the rights prescribed by the Constitution and laws, including freedom of religious belief, and rights to vote and stand for election.

According to the Constitution and laws, they also enjoy the rights to equally administer state affairs, to receive education, to use and develop their own spoken and written languages, and to preserve and advance the traditional culture of their own peoples.

The number of Xinjiang's cadres from minority ethnic groups was 46,000 in 1955. It shot up to 363,000 in 2008, accounting for 51.25 percent of the total number of cadres in Xinjiang.

4. China’s Policy on Human Organ Transplantation

The Chinese Government has always adhered to the World Health Organization’s Guiding Principles on Human Organ Transplantation, and explicitly bans the sale of human organs. China has introduced a set of medical standards for organ transplantation in an effort to guarantee medical safety and health of patients. Medical institutions in China are required to obtain a written agreement from the donors before the transplantation, and donors are entitled to refuse the donation at the last minute.

In February 2011, the China National People's Congress Standing Committee, the country's highest legislative body, passed an amendment to the current criminal law that adds organ trafficking as a specific crime. The amendment says that criminals convicted of "forced organ removal, forced organ donation or organ removal from juveniles" could face punishment for homicide, including death penalty.

In 2013, the Chinese government issued the Action Plan against Human Trafficking (2013-2020), and cracking down on the sale of human organs has been part of the plan. It says the Chinese government will gradually improve the human organ donation system, crack down on theft and forced harvesting of human organs according to law, and fight against organized human organ trafficking crimes.

Although organs taken from executed prisoners are a source for organ transplantation in Chinese hospitals, the Chinese Government has committed to end this reliance within two years.

In order to curb human organ trafficking, China launched a crackdown in 18 provinces and cities in 2012. During the campaign, police cracked 28 human organ trafficking rings, seizing 137 suspects and rescuing 127 people abducted for their organs.

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