China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has attached great importance to the protection of minority rights and has made remarkable achievements in social development and human rights protection, a Chinese expert said Tuesday.

Chen Tong, president of the law school under Xinjiang Normal University, made the remarks during a side-event on China’s human rights protection of ethnic minorities amid the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council.

People attend a group wedding at the Kanas scenic area in Aletai, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 1, 2019. [Photo: IC]

People attend a group wedding at the Kanas scenic area in Aletai, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 1, 2019. [Photo: IC]

“Among the representatives to the National People’s Congress from Xinjiang, more than 60 percent are ethnic minorities,” Chen told the audience at the side-event sponsored by the China Society for Human Rights Studies.

From 1978 to 2016, Xinjiang’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increased from 313 yuan (46 U.S. dollars) to 40,427 yuan (5882 dollars), up by 128.2 times, he said.

By the end of 2016, there have been 15,721 health institutions and 51,000 doctors in Xinjiang, higher than the national average, Chen said, adding that there is one mosque for averagely every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, which has satisfied normal religious needs of local people.

As for the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang, the expert said that they were launched in accordance with the law to help those who were swayed by extremism and terrorism return to the right track, obtaining skills to support themselves and integrating into society.

The centers have no essential difference from those institutions in western countries in dealing with crimes or terrorism such as “early intervention,” “de-extremization” and “community correction” facilities, he said.

These centers in Xinjiang offered a contribution from China to the global efforts in fighting terrorism, he added.

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