Award winner in US wanted in Xinjiang for fraud

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Artists play music in Kashi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on June 12, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Some US politicians have turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of Sayragul Sauytbay, a suspected criminal from China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and portrayed her as a "human rights fighter" to interfere in China's policies in Xinjiang, which is a low form of conduct by the US and is firmly opposed by Xinjiang people, a Xinjiang regional government spokesperson said on Thursday.

The Xinjiang regional government held a press conference on Thursday, in which spokesperson Elijan Anayt outlined the crimes Sayragul is suspected of committing and the lies she had spread.

The US State Department awarded Sayragul Sauytbay the "2020 International Women of Courage Award" on March 4 and claimed that she "was forced to teach Chinese to ethnic minority people in a detention camp," according to a release.

"I would like to reiterate that Sayragul Sauytbay is on the Xinjiang public security authorities' online list of wanted persons for suspected crimes including illegal border crossing and loan fraud," Elijan said at the press conference.

Sayragul Sauytbay never worked in any vocational education and training center. She made up lies to confuse the public and smear Xinjiang, a despicable and vile act indeed, Elijan noted.

The regional government spokesperson also refuted rumors on high risks of COVID-19 spread in Xinjiang's vocational education and training centers on the Thursday press conference.

Some "East Turkistan" forces outside China are telling lies to smear Xinjiang, which is "ridiculous and ludicrous in every way," Xinjiang regional government spokesperson Elijan Anayt noted at a press conference on Thursday.

Recently, some "East Turkistan" forces outside China deliberately spread rumors about Xinjiang, such as a risk of COVID-19 spreading at its vocational education and training centers and that Xinjiang is hiding the truth of its epidemic situation.

"I would like to stress here again, the vocational education and training centers established in Xinjiang are not 'camps,' but school-like deradicalization institutions set up according to law to address the severe challenges of recurring violent and terrorist attacks," Elijan Anayt said.

Shohrat Zakir, governor of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, announced at a press release on December 9, 2019 that all trainees had left the centers.

"I can't help but ask, how could it be possible for a risk of large-scale infection in the centers when all trainees have graduated already?" Elijan asked at the press conference.

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