Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) hosted a Chinese government delegation including Deputy-Director of the Information Department in Xinjiang Xu Guixiang, several academics and researchers, and China’s ambassador to Qatar on 18 November 2019. Deputy Director made his presentation on the demographic data, development situation, and history of Islam and other religions in the region, before the discussion shifted to other members of the delegation, who specialize in-field-research in Xinjiang, where the local Muslim population is reportedly subjected to the violation of their most fundamental rights. Members of the delegation and AJCS fellows debated several hot issues in China’s policy towards minorities. One Chinese participant refuted the alleged reports on discrimination and harsh treatment, blaming “extremists” and citing a few examples, such as the notion of prohibiting Chinese Muslims from assuming work in government institutions.
Some AJCS fellows probed into questions regarding what Xinjiang Muslims face, especially forced integration and negative repercussions on their sense of identity and religious freedom. They also wondered why the Chinese government does not allow media outlets and international human rights organizations to visit to the region freely and without an official itinerary and imposed monitoring.
The delegation members concluded their visit by calling on the Centre’s fellows to consider corroborating their information on Xinjiang with multiple sources of information as well as visiting the region.