In new propaganda, China claims US is funding terrorism in Xinjiang

New DelhiEdited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Apr 16, 2021, 12:08 PM IST

U.S. and Chinese flags are seen before a meeting between senior defence officials from both countries at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 9, 2018 Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Every time the world moves against Beijing,  it unleashes a propaganda drive. This time, the target is the United States of America 

What China has unleashed in Xinjiang has all the makings of a 21st-century holocaust. China has unleashed a war on Uighur culture. At least 1 million people are in detention. But if you ask China, the world has got it all wrong. China claims to be running 're-education camps', not labour camps. China's methods are brutal. They involve illegal detention, forced labour, torture, state-sponsored rape and even medical experiments.

Every time the world moves against Beijing, it unleashes a propaganda drive. This time, the target is the United States of America. 

Two videos featuring disgraced American officials have been published. The officials are Lawrence Wilkerson (former aide to US Secretary of State Colin Powell) and Sibel Edmonds (A former FBI translator).

In the video, both of them appear to say that Xinjiang is America's best bet to destabilise China. Now. Beijing is accusing Washington of funding terrorists in Xinjiang.

As usual, context is missing from China's claim.

Lawrence Wilkerson's speech is from 2018. This is a man who helped sell the Iraq war to George Bush. But after all the death and destruction, he retracted his support.

Sibel Edmonds' speech is from 2015, and 13 years after she was fired from the FBI. As per records, Ms Edmonds lasted 6 months in the organisation. She is a known conspiracy theorist.

These two are China's top sources. Conspiracy theorists and disgraced military officers. Both Edmonds and Wilkerson said that the US could possibly leverage Xinjiang.

Possibly, they did not admit to any such US operation. In fact, looking back at American actions, overreach has not been the issue. Our complaint is the lack of concrete measures.

Today, America loves to call itself the defender of Uighurs.

But that wasn't always the case. In the 2000s the US was an active accomplice. They detained 22 Uighur Muslims in Guantanamo Bay.

So the Uighurs aren't just victims of China's war on terror. They also suffered under America's war.

Then came the presidency of Barack Obama. Would the multi-cultural president stand up for China's diversity? As it turned out, he chose the policy of silence. Obama did not raise the Uighur genocide during his visit to China. Back then no one knew where the relationship was headed. So Obama decided to not rock the boat.

Like it or not, it was Donald Trump who put the spotlight on Uighurs. Not out of love for the community. But because it was a convenient issue to tackle Beijing on.

Nonetheless, it worked. In 2020, Trump signed the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act.

What did it say? All US government bodies would have to report on Communist abuses in Xinjiang. These reports would define American sanctions in the future.

Another law is in the pipeline: The Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act. The House of Representatives has already cleared it. It is now up to the Senate to send it to Joe Biden.

This law would keep American firms away from the forced labour camps in Xinjiang. But Trump's biggest move was declaring the Uighur crackdown a genocide.

This was an indictment of the Chinese state. The Communist regime was placed on the same level as Nazi Germany.

The problem is, Trump's actions were punctuated by flip-flops. There were reports that privately he supported President Xi's crackdown.

And this is American policy in a nutshell. The right goals for the wrong reasons.

Last month, American and Chinese officials met in Alaska. It was more like a classroom squabble than a diplomatic meeting. China kept calling Xinjiang a domestic issue.

However, genocide cannot be a domestic matter. It appears that in near future, we could be looking at more of what happened in Alaska. Diplomatic meetings that descend into chaos.

Talks are successful, when there is a basic understanding between the two sides. But China does not understand the concept of human rights. It is a headstrong bully living in a world of denial.