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Xinjiang: Why are "they" crying wolf again?

Performers dance at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, January 23, 2023. /Xinhua
Performers dance at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, January 23, 2023. /Xinhua

Performers dance at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, January 23, 2023. /Xinhua

Editor's note: Keith Lamb, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a University of Oxford graduate with a Master of Science in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Recently, articles in the Western media and U.S. government legislation have continued to hype up the "Xinjiang atrocities" narrative. One claim is that the construction of a joint test track in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, by Volkswagen and the Chinese company SAIC, was constructed using "forced labor." Even worse is that the U.S. House has just passed three bills on China's human rights, with one of them authorizing further action to "protect the Uygur population."

Considering the U.S. was bombing camps in Afghanistan, comprised of Muslim people, and illegally detaining them in Guantanamo Bay, any attempt to frame U.S.' recent action as a concern for Muslim people in China's Xinjiang is entirely farcical. Certainly, it is not for the protection of Muslims – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and now Gaza all count as among the greatest human rights atrocities committed.

Taking into account this severe contradiction, why is the U.S. taking these measures against China's Xinjiang? The U.S. posits its system as the acme that all must follow – a perfect democracy that can be installed by the inhumane atrocity of U.S. hard power. It must constantly deflect from its own internal problems and atrocities to foreign people, which it then mirrors out onto those it deems competitors – like China. This provides the U.S. ideological cover to meddle in the affairs of other states, despite material reality proving the U.S. is the worst abuser of human rights.

In contrast, China's democracy is not an opiate or a religion, it is a material fact that can be witnessed in every region from Shanghai to Xinjiang. Should the truth ever come out, U.S. citizens may also demand real democratic material changes – like no war, an end to homelessness, better healthcare and education, infrastructure, and lower costs of living. Furthermore, if U.S. citizens were aware of China's incredible human rights achievements such as poverty alleviation, development, and constantly improving living standards, then the U.S. warmongers, losing public support, would lose a stratagem to maintain their status quo.

The simple fact is that the money trail for the Xinjiang atrocity propaganda and indeed even separatist organizations run back to Washington. In their narrative, terrorist deradicalization campaigns become concentration camps, dual language education becomes genocide, and back-to-work projects become slave labor!

The U.S.' aim for China is to hamper its rise through the use of ethnic cleavages – just as U.S. elites do at home which prevents unity and precludes democracy. For the U.S., China becoming a zone of instability is desirable – another Afghanistan-like catastrophe would be celebrated.

Tourists go sightseeing in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, August 5, 2023. /Xinhua
Tourists go sightseeing in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, August 5, 2023. /Xinhua

Tourists go sightseeing in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, August 5, 2023. /Xinhua

The contradiction is that the very measures China has taken to prevent a monumental Afghanistan-like human rights catastrophe, which protect their Uygur population, have been exploited by the U.S.' ideological sleight of hand. Here cause and effect have been reversed and for good measure, reality has been perverted with outright fabrications. 

So what about the actual claims heaped on Volkswagen now? These are not new, Volkswagen has for years defended its decision to operate in Xinjiang stating that "we do not have forced labor." The claims of so-called forced labor go back to Adrian Zenz, the director of China studies at the "Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation" (VOCMF), funded by Washington, an organization that aims to bring down China.

Zenz claims that documents he has evaluated point to forced labor. So far, at least from the VOCMF, these documents have not been provided. Nevertheless, the majority of the Xinjiang atrocity claims, which the "slave labor or force labor" narrative is part of, all go back to Zenz and have, on close examination, proven to be spurious.

Why are new Xinjiang atrocity claims coming out now? Actually, they are just a continuation of the original Xinjiang atrocity propaganda. The U.S., or should I say the undemocratic forces controlling it, have always used well-coordinated media campaigns with wild accusations and exaggeration to justify and further their nefarious policies – looking at Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Gaza this is indisputable. These campaigns must employ "expert grifters" who strike at the opportune moment. The simple fact is that China is hard to be controlled or invaded by "the world's policeman." Unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, there will be no "come to Jesus moment" any time soon.

The current news and U.S. policy work to remind Western audiences who the "baddies" are, which then justifies U.S. aggression. In terms of Volkswagen, this negative publicity works as an attempt to dismantle German industry from China and hinder Sino-Euro cooperation. Undoubtedly, the U.S., especially since the suspicious destruction of Nord Stream, would like to further "persuade" German industry to move to the U.S.

Western citizens and U.S. citizens, in particular, must pay heed as the human rights violations committed by their elites, sickeningly enacted under the guise of human rights, are done in their name. When it comes to both Xinjiang and the Global South "wolf" has been cried far too often and it's being cried now. As always, when I listen to Western citizens criticize China, based on watching Western media, my simple response is "go" – go to China, travel from Shanghai to Xinjiang, and then let us discuss human rights!

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

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