A webinar hosted by three Canadian NGOs offered one of the best accounts of crimes perpetrated in Xinjiang and Chinese propaganda denying them.
by Marco Respinti
A webinar this week put it correctly. Now that several parliaments have recognized as genocide the CCP’s crimes in Xinjiang (that its non-Han inhabitants call East Turkestan), governments should act consequently. For example, they should sanction high-profile CCP officials through versions of the US “Magnitsky Act,” and act against the Beijing 2022 Olympics in ways damaging China rather than athletes.
The webinar, hold on May 10, was entitled Spotlight on China: Propaganda and Lies About the Uyghur Genocide. Organized by three Canadian NGOs, The Foundation for Genocide Education (GenEd), the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP), and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHU), it featured Irwin Cotler, chairman of RWCHU, Mehmet Tohti, co-founder of URAP, and David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China (2009–2012). GenEd’s Heidi Berger introduced the topic. Kyle Matthews, also of GenEd, moderated the panel and the three speakers were all extremely effective.
Genocides begin with words
Tohti described as “unprecedented” the CCP’s position of not allowing any independent inspection on the ground. Even more bold, he said, is the CCP’s cavalier use of terrorized Uyghurs for its propaganda goals. One clear example is the “cotton affair.” The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is home of a significant portion of the world’s cotton fields and factories using cotton (which is also true for tomatoes). Uyghurs forced to labor in that area are often displayed as cheerfully acknowledging their “jobs.” No less appalling, Tohti added, is the silence of Muslim countries on crimes perpetrated by the CCP against Muslims in XUAR. Muslim countries “lay at the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he commented, and so their silence is not surprising. There are small changes in this field, he said, but it is too little too late.
Cotler reported that, when he recently watched a documentary on the Uyghurs, he realized that when German Nazis built their first concentration camp in 1933, in Dachau, they also called it “a re-education camp.” He also said that the Jewish Holocaust began not with killings, but with words: offenses to Jews similar to those addressed to Uyghurs by the CCP, calling them “cancers” to be extirpated. Cotler’s third significant statement was that the most heinous aspect of the Uyghur genocide is that it would in fact be preventable since the world can see it happening.
Religion as enemy
As a former diplomat, Mulroney stated that “people assume that diplomacy means flattery,” but this is not always the case. He insisted that the world should not try to normalize relationships with China at all costs, since China is not a normal partner.
Mulroney mentioned a variety of subjects, from the CCP’s throwing sand in the eyes of people through such ready-made excuses as “fighting terrorism” to the money invested by Beijing on advertising in foreign media. He concluded that what China does to the Uyghurs in the XUAR is a clear case of genocidal policy, as evidenced inter alia by the fact that women are submitted to forced sterilization and forced abortive practices.
To the question “Why Islam?” Mulroney answered that Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, and Catholicism are special CCP targets because they transcend borders, and thus represent a major threat that needs to be tamed in time.
The CCP masters all the techniques
No other webinar on Uyghur genocide and CCP propaganda was equally timely as that on May 10. World media were in fact just being inundated by the ridiculous, CCP’s attempt at debunking a fundamental report on Uyghur genocide, The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention, produced by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy and one of the webinar’s hosts, the RWCHU (here is Bitter Winter’ review).
While the machinery of Chinese propaganda did its “honest” work, reaching even unsuspected shores, in a country heavily targeted by that disinformation, Italy, a popular investigative journalism TV show (from minute 56) lit important lights on the CCP’ crimes. Featuring German scholar Dr. Adrian Zenz (whom China considers a dangerous enemy) and World Uyghur Congress chairman Dolkun Isa, the show addressed the massive surveillance system that the CCP implemented in China and uses abroad, forced labor in XUAR, the scandal of Western fashion labels using slave workers, and those transformation through education camps that the CCP tries to pass off as “vocational schools.”
It even aired the paradoxical pro-Chinese statements by former Italian Undersecretary of State for Economic Development, Michele Geraci (a major driving force of the 2019 Belt and Road Memorandum between China and Italy), who justified China’s massive surveillance techniques, and by Fabio Massimo Parenti, a frequent contributor to CCP’s China Daily and Global Times, who said that the deportation of Uyghur forced workers all over China may become a model for economically depressed regions, such as the Italian South.
As Mulroney said during the May 10 webinar, China is writing the handbook for future genocides, perfectly mastering all the techniques needed in our post-modern world 2.0.