Xinjiang: Facts vs Fiction

by He Zhao (November 17 2019)

Ten to twelve million Muslims have been killed by imperialist violence in the past two decades, and followers of the faith have faced systemic Islamophobia and racist discrimination in Europe and the USA for much longer. For these reasons the narrative of Muslims being oppressed in China is very easy to believe: it more than fits the historical pattern.

Believable, that is, until we consider the only source of this story: exactly the Western powers which have mass murdered Muslims under the flag of the “War on Terror”, reduced Muslim cities to rubble, created millions of Muslim refugees, spread Islamophobia, and shaped the social circumstances for the ill-treatment of Muslims to spread.

The emotional narrative fits perfectly with the sense of injury and outrage against injustice so prevalent today (most of it of course entirely justified). By mixing the totally fraudulent with the legitimate, the war-mongers are experts at positioning their well-crafted lies to best tug at the heart-strings of good people.

Ten of the 55 officially recognised ethnic minority groups in China are Muslim, the largest being the Hui people. There are thousands of mosques all over the country, and Islam is thriving. But Uyghurs are the only ones being allegedly “oppressed”?

There is exactly zero evidence for one million Uyghurs in “concentration camps”, nor of any “cultural erasure”, “human rights violations”, “torture”, and even less the unbelievably brazen allegations of “genocide”. There are ten million Uyghurs in Xin Jiang. One million detained would mean almost half the adult male population. Hardly plausible.

The UN never made this announcement. It was the “opinion” of one US representative, based on the admitted “guesses” of a “humanitarian watch group” called “Chinese Human Rights Defenders” based in Washington. But unlike if a similar accusation is made of England or Germany, in which case evidence would be demanded, it is publicised by all major news networks without question. That is the double standard that US global hegemony and “full-spectrum dominance” affords.

What does exist, what China has never hidden, are vocational schools and education centers for common criminals and individuals infected with extremist fundamentalism, with known connection to Turkic separatism and ISIS/DAESH. There is exactly zero evidence for the she-said he-said tales of detainees “forced to drink alcohol and eat pork” under “harsh conditions”. Unlike the routine human rights violations and torture which has been taking place in Guantanamo Bay and numerous US military sites around the world, for which very much evidence exists. In fact, the Communist Party’s peaceful, humane, effective, and sustainable solution to violent fundamentalist extremism, the three-pronged approach of education, inclusion, and poverty alleviation, has been applauded by foreign Muslim leaders as a shining example for the entire world to learn from and follow.

Uyghurs, just like the other nine Muslim ethnic groups in China, are entirely free to conduct their religion, with active state protection of their culture, and strong Affirmative Action measures which drastically benefit minorities. The vast majority of Uyghurs are perfectly happy to be part of China, especially with recent drastic rises in the standard of living, employment, and wages. It is only a tiny percentage of extremists in Xin Jiang with ties to Daesh, funded by the CIA like the Mujahideen, and indoctrinated by Wahhabi Jihadism, who are agitating for independence and the establishment of “East Turkistan”.

Beards and Burqas have never been part of Uyghur traditional dress and entirely come from foreign extremist elements from the Middle East. Banning these forms in the context of curing violent extremism that has killed many hundreds in the past decades is entirely justified because it is Islamic fundamentalism, backed by CIA as part of destabilisation campaigns to create conflict which is the real threat to Uyghur culture.

Veils and burqas are not the traditional garb of Uighur women and long beards are not the traditional style for young Uighur men. They are however de rigueur for those who have been indoctrinated by the likes of IS and Al-qaeda.

– Professor Dennis Etler

Traditional Uyghur Dress and Style

In Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, both of which have experienced religious extremism as a result of the spread of Wahhabism, their Muslim extremists have gone to fight alongside IS against the Syrian government, they have repressed extremism by cutting off beards, closed down shops selling burqa, and ban Arabic sounding names.

Those are the countries, like China, which have suffered instability and insurgency caused and fanned and Wahhabism. They have every right and even duty to ensure law and order and protect the life and property of citizens to crack down on religious extremism. Not to do so would be a dereliction of duty owed to the public at large.

– Gerry Brown for Counterpunch

Before we continue to do the rather tedious work of deconstructing these elaborate lies, here is a great overview of Xinjiang and Uyghur culture, providing a realistic and balanced picture and crucial context:

Baseless Allegations

The following are a very few of the endless articles accusing China of crimes against Muslims; any cursory google search will bring up hundreds:–concentration-camps—us-says-11502840

From a man who has clearly always deeply cared about and championed the interests of Muslims (sarcasm):

And here is one blatant example of how the most progressive, liberal, and even leftist media in the West is part of the anti-China, anti-socialist smear campaigns: Democracy Now!, a major liberal/leftist media channel in the USA, recently published two pieces condemning Chinese treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjinang:

But their primary source is this woman, who works extensively with US government agencies, Department of Defence, Homeland Security, and is a consultant at Guantanamo Bay:

As usual, most of the stories of Xinjiang horror come from Radio Free Asia:

Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a private, nonprofit international broadcasting corporation [2] that broadcasts and publishes online news, information, and commentary to listeners in East Asia while “advancing the goals of US foreign policy”. [3][4] Founded in the 1950s as an anti-communist propaganda operation, [5] RFA is currently funded by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent agency of the United States government [6] responsible for all non-military, international broadcasting sponsored by the US government (such as Radio Free Europe), which appoints the board of RFA. RFA distributes content in nine Asian languages for audiences in six countries.

– Wikipedia

This is how it works: RFA is one of the strong arms of the US in East Asia, which exaggerates, distorts, and fabricates inaccurate, partially true, and blatantly false stories against socialist nations, then Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, CBS, Buzzfeed, et al, republishe them, with RFA as source.

Even people who know that Western media is biased usually have very little inkling of the sheer SCALE of propaganda operations of the empire which controls near 100% of mainstream news sources, and its overwhelming, ubiquitous, and totalising influence on public opinion. Before Xinjiang and HongKong it was Falun Gong, Tibetan separatists, Tian An Men, et al, et al, et al, all part of the ceaseless effort to take back what the colonial empires had lost.

Here is a piece detailing this false claim from the publication of award-winning independent journalist Max Blumenthal:—–bdc2aa403c91———————-

About the many “first-person testimonials” from Uyghur “escapees” about their “horrific experiences”:

Remember the tears soaked first-person testimony before the UN, of Iraqi soldiers taking Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and smashing them to the ground? The anonymous young woman later turned out to be the daughter of the US ambassador, and her story, used to justify the second invasion of Iraq, turned out to be pure fabrication.

Anecdotal evidence is not real evidence, and first-person experience can not be always trusted. Only with a rigorous understanding of the global class interests at the root of geopolitics can we see the world clearly.

Most of the nations standing behind these baseless accusations are the Nato states, and all are friends of the US empire:

CNN grudgingly reports this, tries their hardest to spin the story against China, but clearly fails:
In a joint statement to the High Commissioner of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, the nations criticized Beijing for what they described as “disturbing reports of large-scale arbitrary detentions” and “widespread surveillance and restrictions”.
A day later, 37 other countries jumped to Beijing’s defense, with their own letter praising China’s human rights record, and dismissing the reported detention of up to two million Muslims in western China’s Xinjiang region. Nearly half of the signatories were Muslim-majority nations, including Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, according to the Chinese government.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers”, the letter said, according to Reuters, which saw a copy of the letter. The letter went on to say that there had been no terrorist attacks in the past three years in the region, and that the people there were happy, fulfilled and secure.

The “Chinese persecution of Muslims in XinJiang” narrative is one in a long series of imperialist fabrications against states disobedient to the global hegemonic order that have recently included the Afghanistani perpetration of 9/11, the Iraq WMDs, the Syrian use of chemical weapons, and the Libyan repression of dissent. It is a lie like all the other lies designed to demonise these countries, to provide justification for economic and military violence, toward the hopeful toppling of their governments and bending them to the will of the US empire.

Reality of the Vocational Schools

Uighur detainees at a detention facility in Kashgar take vocational classes. All the detainees in this class admitted to having been “infected with extremist thoughts”. – Rob Schmitz/NPR

This piece from National Public Radio, a premiere US progressive platform, was written after their reporters visited Xinjiang and conducted many interviews. It uses language to try very hard to spin the story against China, but none the less clearly illustrates that the so-called “concentration camps” are nothing more than schools. The students are common criminals as well as those with known connections to fundamentalist extremism, and they go home on the weekends.

Mejit Mahmut is the principal of the Kashgar Vocational Education and Training Center, a facility with 1,500 residents, most of them Uighur. “People here have been infected by extremist thoughts”, he says. “The government wants to save and educate them, converting them here at this center.” – Rob Schmitz/NPR

… Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim mass organization, and the world’s Muslim governments have not condemned China’s actions: they know that the US stirs up trouble in every Muslim country. The West is engaged in full-scale irregular war to destabilize China. The US created the Uyghur problem in Xinjiang by sponsoring terrorists there – the same tactics it used in Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya.


Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, and Palestine are among the countries that newly joined to support China’s policies in Xinjiang.

Some other countries also expressed support in their separate letters and press releases. Many of them have seen the real situation in Xinjiang on recent visits.

In the joint letter, the ambassadors gave credit to China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts.

They commend China for its economic and social progress, effective counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures, and strong guarantee of human rights; appreciate the opportunities provided by China for diplomatic envoys, officials of international organizations, and media professionals to visit Xinjiang. They point to the contrast in the views on Xinjiang between those who have visited it and the one portrayed in Western media, and urge the countries to stop using uncorroborated information to make unfounded accusations against China.

“Faced with the grave challenge of terrorism and extremism, China has undertaken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang, including setting up vocational education and training centers. Now safety and security has returned to Xinjiang and the fundamental human rights of people there have enjoyed stronger senses of fulfillment, happiness and security”, they said.

The members of the SCO are predominantly Muslim or have sizable Muslim populations. They know and understand the challenges China faces in combatting terrorism and separatism. As a consequence they fully support her efforts to root out the false ideology that underlies it.

Diplomats from twelve countries with large Muslim populations visited Xinjiang, after months of silence by governments across the Islamic world in the face of China’s crackdown on minority Muslim Uighurs in its far western region.

Envoys from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Thailand, and Kuwait visited the region from December 28 to 30, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Monday. The visit comes as increasing skepticism over Beijing’s human rights record – namely its campaign against the Uighurs – threatens its global ambitions.

Calls have grown in the West to pressure President Xi Jinping’s government to stop the alleged human-rights abuses against the Uighurs. US politicians have proposed freezing the travel and assets of top Chinese officials including Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo. But it has so far escaped serious criticism from officials in the Islamic world, leading US Secretary Mike Pompeo to blast Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for not speaking out.

Senior diplomats from foreign countries visit an Islamic institute in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on February 16 2019. They represent their countries in the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland. [Photo/Xinhua]
In recent days, a similar visit was arranged for diplomats from 12 non-western countries, including Russia, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Kazakhstan, according to Xinjiang officials and foreign diplomats.

Senior officials, including Shohrat Zakir, Xinjiang’s governor and the region’s most senior Uighur, dismissed what they called “slanderous lies” about the facilities.

Speaking in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, Shohrat Zakir said the centres had been “extremely effective” in reducing extremism by teaching residents about the law and helping them learn Mandarin.

“As time goes by, the people in the education training mechanism will be fewer and fewer”, he said.

Shohrat Zakir said he could not say exactly how many people were in the facilities.

“One million people, this number is rather frightening. One million people in the education mechanism – that’s not realistic. That’s purely a rumour”, he said, stressing they were temporary educational facilities.

“I found that the training centers are completely unlike the reports of some Western media, which said they mistreated learners”, said Kamal Gaballa, who visited several training centers in places such as Hotan and Kashgar. “Trainees study language and law and learn how to treat others kindly. This great measure is an effective means to get rid of extremism. I will explain all of what I see here truthfully to the Egyptian people.”

Very recently the likes of Marco Rubio accused China of diverting funds from the World Bank to “persecute” Uyghurs and put them in “concentration camps”. World Bank just released this official statement:

“The World Bank’s work is driven by core principles of inclusion, with special consideration for the protection of minorities and other vulnerable peoples. When allegations are made, the World Bank takes them seriously and reviews them thoroughly. In line with standard practice, immediately after receiving a series of serious allegations in August 2019 in connection with the Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project, the Bank launched a fact-finding review, and World Bank senior managers traveled to Xinjiang to gather information directly. After receiving the allegations, no disbursements were made on the project.

“The team conducted a thorough review of project documents, engaged in discussions with project staff, and visited schools directly financed by the project, as well as their partner schools that were the subject of allegations. The review did not substantiate the allegations.”

Uyghur Muslims enjoy total religious freedom during an open-air ceremony outside of Id Kah Mosque at the end of Ramadan month in Kashgar, Xinjiang province western China. Source: Pete Niesen/Shutterstock

This piece, published by Time magazine before the current wave of anti-China propaganda, still tries to spin the situation in Xinjiang but does make it clear that there is no Islamophobia on the part of the CPC.

With the bloodshed in Xinjiang escalating – the most recent clash late last month, which the Chinese government labeled a “violent terrorist attack”, saw nearly 100 people killed, according to an official count – authorities have intensified a crackdown on spiritual expression by Uighurs (EDIT: disallowing non-Uyghur dress such as long beards and burqas imported from the Middle East). But this does not mean that Beijing is curtailing Islam nationwide. Indeed, members of the Muslim Hui community are enjoying a flowering of faith in what is, officially, still an atheist communist nation.

The Reality of Jihadist Terror

Uyghur Jihadist Militants Trained in Syria

Since 2000, there have been more than 200 violent terrorist incidents in Xinjiang and beyond, as part of a long term destabilisation campaign conducted by the US against China.

“Since 2013 … Uyghur soldiers have gone from combat alongside Al Qaeda in Syria and returned to China’s Xinjiang where they have carried out various terrorist acts. This is the tip of a nasty Nato-linked project to plant the seeds of terror and unrest in China. Xinjiang is a lynchpin of China’s Belt Road Initiative, the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan, Russia and a prime target of CIA intrigue for decades.

The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.

… with US-backed NGOs using Uyghur’s as proxies in what is basically a terror campaign with the ultimate goal of seizing Chinese territory, it is not Beijing that poses the greatest threat to the culture and traditions of the Uyghur people, but rather the NGOs “protecting Uyghur rights” while hiding a proxy war serving foreign interests behind them.

What is known is the fact that Nato intelligence agencies, including that of Turkey and of the US, along with Saudi Arabia, have been involved in recruiting and deploying thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims to join Al Qaeda and other terror groups in Syria in recent years.

The US National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED ) own website admits to meddling all across China and does so so extensively that it felt the necessity to break down its targeting of China into several regions including mainland, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang/East Turkistan.

NED – by recognizing the term “East Turkistan” – is implicitly admitting that it supports separatism in western China, even as the US decries separatists and alleged annexations in places like Donbass, Ukraine, and Russian Crimea.

In Turkey, they were to cross the border into Syria where they would train, be armed, and join terrorists including Al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the West’s proxy war against Damascus and its allies. Photo – Tony Cartalucci

“It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right-wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant …”

The West gave full support to the Wahhabis in the 1980s. They were employed, financed, and armed after the Soviet Union was dragged into Afghanistan and into a bitter war that lasted from 1979 to 1989. As a result of this war, the Soviet Union collapsed, exhausted both economically and psychologically.

The Mujahedeen, who were fighting the Soviets as well as the left-leaning government in Kabul, were encouraged and financed by the West and its allies. They came from all corners of the Muslim world, to fight a ‘Holy War’ against Communist infidels.

According to the US Department of State archives:

“Contingents of so-called Afghan Arabs and foreign fighters who wished to wage jihad against the atheist communists. Notable among them was a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden, whose Arab group eventually evolved into al-Qaeda.”

Muslim radical groups created and injected into various Muslim countries by the West included al-Qaeda, but also, more recently, ISIS (also known as ISIL). ISIS is an extremist army that was born in the ‘refugee camps’ on the Syrian/Turkish and Syrian/Jordanian borders, and which was financed by Nato and the West to fight the Syrian (secular) government of Bashar al-Assad.

Such radical implants have been serving several purposes. The West uses them as proxies in the wars it is fighting against its enemies – the countries that are still standing in the way to the Empire’s complete domination of the world. Then, somewhere down the road, after these extremist armies ‘get totally out of control’ (and they always will), they could serve as scarecrows and as justification for the ‘The War On Terror’, or, like after ISIS took Mosul, as an excuse for the re-engagement of Western troops in Iraq.

Stories about the radical Muslim groups have constantly been paraded on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, or shown on television monitors, reminding readers ‘how dangerous the world really is’, ‘how important Western engagement in it is’, and consequently, how important surveillance is, how indispensable security measures are, as well as tremendous ‘defense’ budgets and wars against countless rogue states.

From a peaceful and creative civilization, that used to lean towards socialism, the Muslim nations and Islam itself, found itself to be suddenly derailed, tricked, outmaneuvered, infiltrated by foreign religious and ideological implants, and transformed by the Western ideologues and propagandists into one ‘tremendous threat’; into the pinnacle and symbol of terrorism and intolerance.

Also see:

This is from a good article on Wikipedia on the true status of Muslims in today’s China: Islam in China:

“Information about the status of Muslims in today’s China. As can be seen, Muslims in China have great latitude in the practice of their religion. The problem is not Islam or the freedom to practice it but as elsewhere the perversion of Islam by forces with ulterior non-religious motives.

In Xinjiang, this is the promotion of separatism among the Uighur minority. Separatist Uighurs, who are a minority within a minority, use Salafi jihadism as a cover for their attempt to dismember China and set up a US-sponsored East Turkistan. Jihadist-Salafism is a transnational religious-political ideology based on a belief in “physical” jihadism and the Salafi movement of returning to what adherents believe to be true Sunni Islam. Salafism is used as a cover for Uighur separatism and as a tool to recruit young Uighurs to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and IS.

It has been reported in the Western media that there is a settlement of upwards of 16,000 Uighurs in the Idlib Governorate of Syria, that last stronghold of the Syrian “opposition”. These overseas Uighurs and their supporters in Xinjiang represent a clear and present danger to all Chinese people regardless of their ethnic identity or religious affiliation. In many countries, Salafist-oriented madrasas serve as proving grounds and recruiting centers for terrorism. It would be suicidal to allow such institutions to operate freely in Xinjiang, although traditional Muslim madrasas are allowed elsewhere.

– Dr. Dennis Etler

China’s Peaceful Solution to the Problem of Violent Extremism

Besides education, Beijing understands that underdevelopment and poverty form the material basis for the breeding of violent extremism, and has implemented many large scale projects to foster prosperity and integration of this remote region.

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