XINJIANG: The Canadian government has warned its citizens with ethnic ties to Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that they could be “at risk of arbitrary detention” and should avoid visiting the region, a move that Chinese experts regarded as a new round of the China-smearing campaign from the United States and its allies.
“Family members of Canadian citizens with Chinese citizenship have been detained.” And people may be at risk of “arbitrary detention” if they have familial or ethnic ties to Xinjiang, according to travel advisories on the Canadian government website.
Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Tuesday at a routine press conference that the content of Canada’s travel advisories is “groundless.”
China is a country under the rule of law and acts in strict accordance with the law. Any foreign citizen in China, as long as he abides by the law, has no need to worry, Zhao said.
In recent years, Xinjiang has been visited by record numbers of Chinese and foreign tourists, including more than 200 million in 2019.
“We welcome more foreigners to Xinjiang and learn more about the real situation there. In the face of facts and truth, any lie and false information will be defeated,” Zhao said.
Updated on Sunday, the Canadian government travel advisories said that Xinjiang has put in place “invasive security measures” and authorities may “impose curfews and restrictions on short notice.” Although the travel advisories admitted that “accurate information is hard to obtain,” it still highlighted that “there are reports of extrajudicial internment and forced labor camps.”
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Canada portrays the prosperous and stable Xinjiang as a place of “arbitrary detention” to create an image of terror, and to pave the way for the intervention of the Five Eyes Alliance in Xinjiang-related affairs.
By hyping what has never existed in Xinjiang to sensationalizing stories, Canada misled the public, denigrated China’s achievements and even legitimacy in Xinjiang governance, said Li. “This is a very insidious and malicious act.”
As one of the most active countries to urge a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Canada’s parliament passed a nonbinding motion in February saying China’s treatment of the Uygur Muslim minority in Xinjiang region constitutes “genocide.”