Fact Box

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Loss of confidence


A joint statement, which was released by the G7 foreign ministers at their meeting in early May, accused China of "human rights violations and abuse" in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. This was the latest illustration of the anti-China policy reasserted by some Western countries in recent years through hyping up the so-called Xinjiang issues.

The European Union, on the basis of fabricated "facts", followed the United States' lead and imposed sanctions on China, which has jeopardized its cooperation and friendship with China cultivated over a long period of time and further misled the international community on the Xinjiang issues.

China Watch Institute, a think tank powered by China Daily, recently issued a report detailing how some "experts" and organizations in the West have rolled out a defamation campaign centered on the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in order to discredit and suppress China. The report sheds light on the Xinjiang-related fallacies fabricated by some Western countries from nine perspectives, and uncovers the Cold War mentality behind the lies and the geopolitical agenda being pursued by some Western countries.

The so-called Xinjiang issues, in essence, are an ideological fight provoked and led by the US, which is a continuation of its Cold War mentality. The ideological nature of the US offensive doesn't tolerate views that are neutral and objective. Within the deliberate rhetoric and discourse setting, any who disagree will be labeled as "brainwashed", leaving no ground for reasonable criticism and discussion.

The "genocide" accusation was first made by former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, as an attempt to force other countries to line up alongside the US in its efforts to contain China.

The Xinjiang-related research and papers produced by some Western "experts" and organizations are based on presumption of guilt and full of groundless claims, coupled with sensational figures that defy common sense, combined with "witness testimonies" from anti-China forces. For instance, the accusations linking cotton produced in Xinjiang to claims of "forced labor" hold no water at all, since the planting and picking of cotton are highly mechanized in Xinjiang. This so-called academic research, fraught with loopholes and data misuse, is not a presentation of facts, but a means of solidifying the preset accusations against Xinjiang. With the lie machine working, political speculators have got what they want, but at the cost of Xinjiang being defamed and the deterioration of the global trade environment.

The so-called research findings published by Adrien Zenz and his cohorts are full of false data and fraudulent claims. They confuse speculation with hard facts, blur the lines between propaganda and academic research, and fabricate anti-China narratives based on ideology. As the China Watch Institute report reveals, Zenz said at an event organized by the US mission in Geneva in March 2019 that "although speculative, it seems appropriate to estimate that up to 1.5 million ethnic minorities [have been interned in Xinjiang]."

This admission of baseless speculation rather than rigorous research flies in the face of the norms for scientific studies.

As a Christian fundamentalist, Zenz's "research" only serves the interests of the far-right ideology he upholds, rather than the welfare of the Uygurs in Xinjiang. His papers, though full of loopholes and fallacies, not only mislead international public opinion, but also undermine the foundation for global counterterrorism cooperation.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the US on Sept 11, 2001, the fight against terrorism and radicalization became a fundamental necessity for all countries to safeguard national security and protect their people. Countering terrorism has become a global consensus.

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has long been plagued by the "East Turkistan" forces which have officially been designated as a "terrorist movement" by the United Nations Security Council, in accordance with Resolution 1267. China has worked to explore effective and law-based approaches to protect the fundamental human rights of people living in the region from violation by terrorism and extremism. In fact, China's efforts in fighting against terrorism and curbing the infiltration of radicalization in Xinjiang have garnered support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and many Islamic countries.

The accusations relating to Xinjiang are based on false statistics, testimonies, and evidence. The war of words, based on ideologies and values, will only force countries to take sides. However, what the world needs now is to seek joint development in a stable international environment, while poverty is the breeding ground for terrorism and extremism. Hyping up baseless claims of "genocide "only devalues the genuine genocides that happened in history.

China's contribution to global economic growth has been increasing over the years. However, the Xinjiang-related accusations leveled by some Western countries against China lay bare their declining confidence in the face of China's expanding global influence. In fact, the sustainable development of the world is not possible without China or any other country. The war of words will only reduce trust and take a toll on the recovery of the world economy that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The author is a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.