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Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan threw his country’s support behind the Chinese government regarding its policies in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province and praised the country’s one-party system as a better model for societies in comparison to electoral democracy.
Khan made the declaration speaking to members of the Chinese media visiting Islamabad as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Thursday.
Certain groups allege that China practices "mass internment and torture amounting to crimes against humanity" against the Muslim population in its southwestern Xinjiang province.
For example, in a report last month, Amnesty International termed the situation in Xinjiang “a dystopian hellscape," citing witness accounts detailing allegations of brainwashing, torture and erasure of cultural identity.
But Khan, who regularly calls for international action against Islamophobia, particularly in European countries, said he was agrees with the Chinese government’s denials of any rights abuses.
Khan said on Thursday that in “our interaction with Chinese officials, that version of what is happening in Xinjiang is completely different to the version of what we hear from the Western media and the Western governments."
“Because we have our very strong relationship with China, and because we have a relationship based on trust, so we actually accept the Chinese version. What they say about their programmes in Xinjiang, we accept it.”
Pakistan enjoys a longstanding strategic relationship with its northeastern neighbour China, which has invested more than $60 billion in the country through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Khan also lauded the one-party system of governance in China, where the state is stewarded by the Communist Party of China and elections do not follow the traditional schema of liberal bourgeoise democracies.
“The CPC is a unique model. Up until now, we were told that the best way for societies to improve themselves is the Western system of democracy,” said Khan.
“What the CPC has done is that it has brought this alternative model. And they have actually beaten all Western democracies in the way they have brought up merit in their society.”
Khan, who was elected in the Pakistani general elections in 2018, said electoral democracy “straight-jackets you” when it comes to reforms, lauding the “flexibility” of the Chinese model.
“Up until now, the feeling was that electoral democracy is the best way where you get leadership based on merit, and then hold that leadership accountable. But what the CPC has done is that without that electoral democracy it has actually achieved that much better,” Khan stated.