China must be ready to march against Western public opinion
Liu Lulu

Editor's Note: Liu Lulu is an opinion editor with CGTN Digital. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

At the time of Hong Kong district council elections, some political moves by the West are worth attention. Days before the election, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission barred China's Huawei and ZTE from federal broadband subsidies for security concerns, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused China of planting a spy in Canberra's parliament.

As anti-China hawks are celebrating the Hong Kong opposition's win in Sunday's polls, "secret documents" were leaked to "prove" China's "breaches of human rights in Xinjiang internment camps." A slew of Western media, including The New York Times, The Guardian and the BBC, jumped to accuse China of brainwashing Muslims in high-security prison camps. "Documents confirm largest mass incarceration of an ethnic religious minority since second world war," The Guardian asserted.

For years, Western countries, especially those from the Five Eyes alliance, have been open in their hostility against China. Therefore, it is no surprise that the recent moves to taint China's global image occurred at the time of the Hong Kong elections. The only reasonable explanation for this interesting "coincidence" is that the West picked the Hong Kong elections period to concentrate fire on China.

It's no secret that the West has always gained the upper hand over China in public opinion warfare. But recent intensive attacks suggest that Western countries are turning increasingly aggressive against China. "Human right conditions," "democracy," and "national security" are among the easiest and the most convenient tools to agitate the international community's repugnant sentiments against China. To this end, Western countries are straining every nerve to fabricate news that could ruin China's reputation in these fields.

Take the so-called Xinjiang files as an example. The West asserts that the leaked "documents" obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists are strong evidence of China's imprisoning innocent Uygurs. But a closer read of the leaks finds them full of loopholes.

Students play volleyball at Kashgar Vocational Education and Training Center in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China./ CGTN Photo

Students play volleyball at Kashgar Vocational Education and Training Center in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China./ CGTN Photo

A piece of evidence the West believes could support their "prison" claims is that students in the "camp" are only allowed to have a "fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work." This "new finding" only reveals Western media's pitiful ignorance about China's education system and culture.

Almost all students studying in Chinese educational institutions, especially those that are Stated-owned, are required to have fixed positions in classrooms and dorms and have to get approval from managers to swap places. This is a universal phenomenon in China and is nothing to fuss about.

Full video surveillance coverage of the vocational education and training center is another clue that leads the West to the prison conclusion. This is even more absurd. Before accusing China of monitoring and controlling Uygurs, Western agencies should better count the number of surveillance cameras installed in their local communities. It is common sense that video surveillance is out of security considerations. If this could be interpreted as too to oppress dissidents, Western countries, given the surveillance coverage there, are also under the watch of Big Brother.

China has, several times, invited foreign media and government officials to visit the vocational education and training centers and reiterated that they were established to nip terrorism in the bud. While Xinjiang was a hotbed for terror activities with several Uygurs reportedly joining the Islamic State in the past, the region has seen no single terrorist attack in the past three years.

But the West has chosen to deliberately turn a blind eye to China's commendable anti-terrorism endeavors and is obstinate in demonizing them as the oppression of ethnic, religious minorities. The need to pour dirty water on China, not the truth, matters more for the West.

It's regrettable that Western countries are still prioritizing ideological confrontation against socialism over the need to cooperate in the era of global integration. Sadly, such anti-Chinese sentiments are unlikely to disappear in the short-term.

China has already suffered losses in public opinion warfare with the West. With a slew of signs suggesting Western countries will only intensify offensives against China, Chinese politicians and media outlets must prepare for a long-term struggle against Western lies. How to respond to malicious rumors while expanding its say in international discourse will be a long-term task facing China.

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