Officials and teachers in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have debunked claims of "forced boarding" of ethnic minority students by sharing their stories and views on local education.
At a press conference on Sunday, Elijan Anayat, a spokesperson for the Xinjiang regional government, said some United States and Western anti-China forces have fabricated lies of "forced boarding" of students in Xinjiang in an attempt to smear the region and find excuses for "using Xinjiang to contain China."
Mirgul Maimaitimin, a local elementary school teacher, said that it is entirely up to the students and their parents to decide whether they will attend boarding school.
"Parents can visit their children any time in the school, while students spend weekends, summer and winter vacations at home with their parents," she said. "There is no such thing as 'forced boarding.'"
She noted that the schools provide a good learning and living environment.
Tusungul Turdi, a kindergarten teacher from Akto County whose own daughter is at a secondary school, said her students and her daughter all benefit a lot from Xinjiang's free education that also covers boarding schools.
"I am glad to see my child grow up happily under such an environment," she said.
"In fact, boarding schools in Xinjiang are no different from those in other areas of the world," Elijan Anayat said.