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Rumormongers' agenda in fabricating lies about Xinjiang

By Mark Pinkstone | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-05-24 07:09

Workers make down-filled coats at a factory in Jiashi county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

For years, China has been the target of international criticism for its treatment of Uygurs, with the United States leading the pack by calling the events in Xinjiang "genocide". But nothing could be further from the truth.

China has never denied the existence of education and training centers in Xinjiang. But it has been saying that the inmates were arrested for terrorist activities in Urumqi and other parts of Xinjiang and sent there to receive education and learn skills so they can earn a decent living and stay away from the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. As for the Western claims of genocide and ethnic cleansing, China says they are baseless accusations.

The "World Uyghur Congress" and Adrian Zenz, a so-called German scholar and born-again Christian, who claims to have knowledge of the situation in Xinjiang, have promulgated stories of torture and genocide.

Zenz had appeared in many of the US' China-bashing campaigns until his exposure as a fraud about a year ago.

A former colleague of Zenz, Jonas Drosten, has said on social media recently that Zenz had received $275,000 in 2019 and $350,000 in 2022 from an unidentified source with links with Steve Bannon, former senior adviser to and chief strategist of previous US president Donald Trump, to fabricate Xinjiang genocide stories. And German investigative journalist Theresa Winterbach has exposed the connections between Zenz and Republican senator Marco Rubio, giving additional details.

A fact check by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the US National Endowment for Democracy recently dispelled much of the rumors, unsubstantiated reports and myths surrounding the plight of the Uygurs.

Some Westerners' preconceived ideas about Xinjiang, if they have any, would have been formed by the one-sided stories spread by the NED and its associates as part of their plan to destabilize China, so Washington can continue to dominate the world. Perhaps what they haven't been told is that the NED provided almost $9 million of grants for various Uygur organizations between 2004 and 2020. In 2020 alone, various "Xinjiang independence" forces received about $1.24 million from the NED, the bulk of which was channelled to Xinjiang separatist outfits such as the "World Uyghur Congress".

In 2019, the NED provided $900,000 of grants for Xinjiang-related programs, which included "Documenting Human Rights Violations in East Turkestan", which was initiated in the name of defending human rights but, in reality, included bribing witnesses and fabricating evidence to justify the so-called charge of human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Another program, "Empowering Women and Youth for Advocacy and Civic Participation", was organized to impart skill training to Uygur women and youths, teach them how to spread anti-China propaganda and incite them to carry out anti-China activities. And the "Defending and Advocating for Uyghur Human Rights" program was held to collect and forge disinformation about human rights violations of Uygurs in and outside China, and mount negative publicity campaigns on Xinjiang-related issues around the world.

The ministry's fact sheet added that the NED's Xinjiang-related programs focus on hyping up "human rights crisis" in Xinjiang and are part of the efforts of the US and some other Western countries to use Xinjiang to contain China.

The bias of the NED's beneficiaries is profound. For example, Kuzzat Altay, the head of the "Uyghur American Association" has openly said: "The most normal thing that I could ever imagine is anti-China activities every freaking day."

NED President Carl Gershman has called for a "color revolution" in China to trigger a regime change and turn the country into a federal republic. His objectives could not be more blatant. Gershman also supports the idea of "East Turkestan", by emboldening "Xinjiang independence" forces, and has called for building an international alliance for Xinjiang and to impose further sanctions on China.

The agenda of the US is not hidden.

The author, a former chief information officer of the Hong Kong government, is a public relations and media consultant, and veteran journalist. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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