China’s Xi Stresses ‘Ethnic Unity’ on Trip to Minority Region

Chinese President Xi Jinping focused on minority issues during a visit to a western province neighboring Xinjiang and Tibet -- regions where foreign governments and others say Beijing commits human-rights abuses against ethnic groups.

Xi said during a visit to a residential area in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, that the government must “advance ethnic unity and progress,” according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese leader also visited a carpet manufacturer and discussed job creation and boosting income levels in Qinghai, the official news outlet reported late Monday.

Nearly half of Qinghai’s impoverished population is comprised of minority groups, the bulk of them Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Hui. Xi’s comments on ethnic groups there carries extra resonance because China faces allegations from the U.S. government and lawmakers in several Western nations that it is carrying out genocide in Xinjiang.

Meanwhile, prominent researcher Adrian Zenz released a report last year alleging that China was instituting a system of mass labor in Tibet similar to the one that has ensnared Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

China says it is building the economies of Xinjiang and Tibet in ways that will ensure future prosperity.

Xi also discussed efforts to strengthen the ruling Communist Party during his visit to Qinghai. The party celebrates its 100th anniversary on July 1, and its officials frequently insists that their work deserves the bulk of credit for advances China has made since reform and opening started more than four decades ago.

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