Two senior Chinese officials have in this past week met their American counterparts in the United States city of Anchorage, Alaska. Initial reports of the meeting were not encouraging. The Chinese leader reacted angrily to the United States’ opening statement that accused China of committing various crimes including against the Uighurs and the citizens of Hong Kong. The Chinese response was unusually robust, declaring that internal Chinese matters were exclusively the prerogative of the Chinese. They did not, in any case, accept the American characterisation of the treatment of their citizens.
The somewhat frosty meeting was consistent with the recent United States statements about China, its leadership, and its style of governance. The Alaska meeting followed the publication by an anonymous writer of a link to an article in the Atlantic Council called “The Long Telegraph: toward a new America – China strategy”. The tone of the article was set early when it claimed that “the single most important challenge facing the United States in the 21st-century is the rise of an increasingly authoritarian China under President Xi Jinping.”
It thus makes the classic American era, which is also seen in its treatment of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, of personalising the leadership. China in fact has a collective leadership of which Xi is merely the leader. The Chinese focus is very much on developing a long-term strategy. It is one that will continue long after Xi’s time is over.
The attacks on Xi, as on Putin, ignore the mutual benefits that accrue to each nation from their relationship. It is a relationship that has steadily improved in recent years. Both countries see the United States strategy for what it is: a crude attempt to separate the relationship, making it all the easier for the United States, in their view, to pick them off one by one.
Part of that campaign is an attempt to vilify the Chinese leadership for its alleged treatment of the Uighur population. The United States, and a few other lackie nations, have gone so far as to label the Chinese treatment of its Uighurs as “genocide.” This is a profound absurdity. Genocide refers to the systematic elimination of a particular group. That is certainly not true of the Uighurs. On the contrary, their population continues to grow, and according to the latest (2020) figures from China the growth rates exceed that of the Chinese ethnic population.
The outrageous claims against China in respect of the Uighur population has encouraged a number of writers to more closely examine the situation. One such writer is Dan Coen who in an article published by Mintpress News on 12th of March points out that the United States propaganda against China over its alleged treatment of the Uighurs is not even supported by its own State Department.
A close examination of the sources of the propaganda reveal that is almost entirely attributable to one man, the far right-wing German religious bigot by the name of Adrian Zenz. Cohen reports that Zenz was also investigated by the Journal Greyzone News. That study revealed that Zenz’s claims of their being 1 million Uighurs detained in detention camps can be traced back to a single report by Istiqlal TV, a Uighur exile media organisation that is based in Turkey.
According to the Greyzone report, “Zenz consistently framed the expansion of public health services and Xinjiang as evidence of genocide in the making.” Which raises the question, among others, as to why the sudden western attack on Xinjiang and China’s alleged mis- treatment of its Uighur population. Xinjiang is a central player in China’s BRI, a major development project that is transforming the economies of more than 100 nations.
Rather than attempt to compete with China on an equal economic footing, the Americans are resorting to cheap smears in a desperate attempt to slow its economic growth. Such a policy is bound to fail. If the Americans were less egocentric, they would see that their clumsy labelling of China’s treatment of its Uighur population is actually counter-productive. More and more countries are forgoing the United States way of doing business and seizing upon the Chinese alternative.
According to Agit Sing and Max Blumenthal, writing in the Greyzone on 21 December 2019, the claims that the Uighurs are being ill-treated is largely based upon two studies. In the authors words, studies making their absurd claims reveal not only United States backing, but absolutely shoddy methodology based on the research of what they described as a “rapture ready” researcher named Adrian Zenz.
Zenz is not alone in his hatred of the Chinese. He is in line with a number of Uighur excel groups including the World Uighur Conference for Democracy, a fanatical anti-Communist grouping that earns its well-funded keep free by a virulent campaign of opposing groups that the United States disapproves of. NED has posted on Twitter that it has funded fifth columnist groups in Xinjiang since 2004.
The current United States secretary of state Anthony Blinken has also accused China of genocide. In this he is following the example set by his predecessor Mike Pompeo who had a similar disregard for the truth, especially in his anti-Chinese and anti-Russia statements.
Outside the hostile rhetoric it is difficult to see where the allegations against China in respect of its Uighur population actually comes from. Under the old Chinese population policy couples were limited to a single birth, although that never applied to the Uighurs. The present Chinese policy allows couples two children, and three if they live in rural areas. It is unsurprising therefore, that the Uighur population has continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate than in recent years, in common with the experience of all developed nations.
When one looks at the definition of genocide in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, it is immediately obvious that China’s population policy does not remotely approach the definition of genocide, in Xinjiang or elsewhere.
It is obvious to the independent observer that the allegations of genocide levelled by some western nations against China are part of a wider policy of using whatever means they can to discredit the People’s Republic of China. Western media, by their constant repetition of the allegations without providing actual evidence, are doing their part in the spread of this vicious misinformation.
Until such times as truth resumes its role as the best antidote to lies China will continue to suffer this gross misrepresentation of its policies in Xinjiang and elsewhere.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based former Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.