Some residents in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday denounced the accusation of "forced labor" in the region, saying the accusation is groundless.
A number of ethnic residents said at a press conference that their jobs are guarantees of their happy lives, and they urged certain people overseas who smear Xinjiang to face the truth.
One of the residents is Mehmut Tursun, who formed a rural cooperative with local villagers in Kumhoyla Village of Aksu, where they grow cotton in standardized and mechanized ways.
"During busy farming seasons in the past, my wife and I would have to spend all day in the cotton field," Mehmut Tursun said. After forming the cooperative, however, he and 52 other families started standard management over the cotton plantation and used machines to grow cotton after they have signed contracts with rural machine service cooperatives.
"You only need to make a phone call, and big machines will be at the field to do farm work," he said. "During this year's seeding period, it only took us two days to plant more than 20 hectares of cotton."
In Xinjiang, residents can grow whatever they want to grow. Also, with machines to help with the cotton plantation, the "forced labor" accusation is simply groundless, he said.
In Taxsay Village of Ruoqiang County, locals used to walk several kilometers to fetch their parcels. Meanwhile, local specialties such as red dates and Qamgur, a type of vegetable, were sold randomly at low prices.
In 2019, Nyersjan Ugyarag opened an e-commerce store in the village.
Since the opening, he managed to help locals sell 30 tonnes of Qamgur and 5 tonnes of red dates. He also bought a 7-seater bus and obtained an operating permit to run the bus from the village to the county seat.
"I like my job. It guarantees our happy lives," he said. "The certain overseas people who smear Xinjiang should face the truth."
Xinjiang has guaranteed the various rights of local workers by implementing 26 international labor conventions and is against forced labor, said Iljan Anagyit, spokesperson for the information office of the regional government.
Religious beliefs, ethnic cultures and languages of workers from various ethnic groups, who are in or outside Xinjiang, are respected and guaranteed in accordance with the law, he said.