Written by Dr. Leon Tressell exclusively for SouthFront
Joe Biden’s presidency has been welcomed by Western media outlets as signifying a return to using diplomacy to peacefully resolve differences between nations. Yet in the 3 months since his inauguration President Biden has not dialled back from the anti-China rhetoric that was the hallmark of the Trump presidency. In fact, Biden has done quite the opposite and significantly increased American criticism of China for its so-called human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and for its apparent threats to Taiwan.
Central to this Cold War propaganda narrative regarding China are the endlessly repeated claims that China is committing massive human rights violations in Xinjiang. China is allegedly guilty of mass use of forced labour, forced sterilisation of Uygur women and the mass imprisonment of Uygur adults. However, these American claims have seriously ratcheted up with the accusation that China is committing acts of genocide against its Uygur population.
This is a serious stepping up of the US Cold War propaganda offensive against China. This trend is accompanied by the stepping up of economic sanctions by the US and its allies against China and the expansion of US military bases around China. Taken together it is clear that the United States is heading towards a military confrontation with China that threatens the world with nuclear conflict.
Greyzone exposes US Regime narrative regarding China
Max Blementhal and his fellow journalists at the Greyzone, have written numerous articles about the dangers of the US regime change narrative on China which utilises the so called ‘’genocide’’ of the Uygur as a weapon to attack Beijing with. The have taken apart the many claims made by Adrian Zenz who has been a key source for the US government.
In a recent podcast for the Greyzone Blumenthal called out the true intent behind American claims against China. He stated that we have recently passed anniversaries regarding the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the war against Libya in 2011 whose objective was regime change. Now the US narrative is aimed at bringing about the overthrow of the CCP government in China:
“Libya, Iraq these are formally stable states that are now in disarray and make no mistake that is exactly what the United States and its allies like to do to Xinjiang and would like to do to China. That is the point of these humanitarian interventions deceptions which have been deployed and advanced by many of the same people who presided over the assaults in Libya, the proxy war in Syria, the coup in Ukraine, which has Ukraine into a mirror reflection of Russia in the 90s, when Russia saw 3.5 million excess deaths.’’
The mainstream media, corporate politicians across the political spectrum and even sections of the so called alt media all uncritically repeat the US claims that China is committing crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. These are very serious allegations whose provenance warrants examination and scrutiny.
The misnamed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its centenary this year. Back in 1921 the Chinese Communist Party was a vibrant democratic organisation which rapidly developed roots amongst the super exploited working-class and amongst sections of the intelligentsia. A century later the CCP has degenerated into a totalitarian monolith that has nothing in common with the tenets of communism on which it was originally founded a century before.
Having said this, it does not mean we should just blithely accept at face value these serious allegations which threaten a significant deterioration in relations between the world’s two superpowers.
US claims against China part of the new Cold War
First of all, we should note the utter hypocrisy of the United States in calling out China for human rights abuses when its own record both past and present involves a huge number of human rights violations committed in dozens of countries since the end of the Second World War. The American historian William Blum noted in the introduction to his seminal book, Killing Hope that an American Holocaust had taken place during the 20th century. Blum noted how, ‘a few million people had died in the American Holocaust and many more millions had been condemned to lives a misery and torture as a result of US interventions extending from China and Greece in the 1940s to Afghanistan and Iraq in the 1990s’.
Secondly, these American claims of Chinese acts of genocide and crimes against humanity must be set against the backdrop of the intensified economic struggle between Washington and Beijing. They are part of the US fightback against its economic rival whose rapid emergence threatens American hegemony over the global economy.
American claims that China is committing crimes against humanity and acts of genocide in Xinjiang province are uncritically accepted by the Western media and entire political class. Never do they stop to question the veracity of these extremely serious allegations. At no point do they stop and think where is the evidence to substantiate these allegations?
Ajit Singh of the Greyzone has commented:
“As Washington advances its new Cold War strategy, it has amplified accusations of genocide and other atrocities against the Chinese government, all focused on Beijing’s policy in Xinjiang. To broaden support for the dubious narrative, the US government has turned to a series of pseudo-academic institutions and faux experts to generate seemingly serious and independent studies.
Any critical probe of the reams of reports on Xinjiang and the hawkish institutions that publish them will quickly reveal a shabby propaganda campaign dressed up as academic inquiry. Western media’s refusal to look beneath the surface of Washington’s information war against China only highlights its central role in the operation.’’
Max Blumenthal has pointed out that there are three strands to this narrative that China is committing crimes against humanity and acts of genocide against the Uyghurs Muslims. Testimonies from Uyghurs exiles together with so-called leaked documents from the Chinese government are two strands of this narrative. However the essential underpinning of these claims are the numerous anti-China narratives contained in so called academic studies.
Claims of China committing genocide
A recent example of this being the 55 page report produced by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy. The NewLines Insititute is in its own words is aiming to ‘provide concrete policy advice’ that includes ‘suggestions on countermeasures that U.S. policymakers can engage in to mitigate risk’ when dealing with their geo-political rivals. Does that sound like a neutral academic body that will will impartially weigh up situations without any bias?
A cursory examination of articles on its website reveals how Newlines Institute is yet another Neo-Con think tank, which abound in American academia. Its founder and president is a Dr.Ahmed Alwani who is, ‘a businessman based in northern Virginia with investments in the poultry, real estate, and education/training sectors’. The NewLines website notes that Alwani is motivated by, ‘a desire to help improve the human condition’. He has previously served as a member on the advisory board of that beacon of peace and brotherly love: the U.S. military’s Africa Command.
The foreword to the NewLines report entitled, The Uiygur genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of 1948 Genocide Convention was written by Dr. Azeem Ibrahim Director Special Initiatives Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy. Dr. Ibrahim who co-authored this ‘independent’ report is Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Are we supposed to believe in the impartiality of a report which counts among its co-authors someone who works for the US Army War College?
Claims of China’s human rights abuses rely heavily on work of Adrian Zenz
It is noteworthy that one of the academics who helped produce this report is Adrian Zenz the ultra right Christian evangelical noted for his homophobia and bigoted views on gender equality. Never mind his opposition to birth control for women. Zenz is noted for his rabid anti-communism and his belief in the rapture during which non-Christians will perish for being non-believers.
Zenz’s work has been cited as proof of China’s genocidal activities by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during 2020. Besides this, Zenz’s reports on China are cited on a regular basis by the Western media as conclusive evidence that China is committing crimes against humanity. His work on China’s alleged use of forced Uygur labour was cited a key evidence during the US Congressional debate that led to the passing of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act that was signed into law in June 2020.
Max Blumenthal has commented on multiple occasions that he and other Greyzone journalists have fact checked Zenz’s work and found it to be based on ‘’data abuse and baseless claims’’. In a recent interview he commented:
“You just follow any footnote, any claim he makes, search the citation, and you’ll see what a manipulator and propagandist he is. It’s unfortunate that none of the media organizations or the US government, or even his own fact-checkers managed to check this, and it was left up to us. ‘’
According to Blumenthal the objective behind Zenz’s sophistry is clear:
“…we’ve been poking holes consistently in the disinformation and misinformation emanating from Adrian Zenz and an echo chamber of US government sponsored talking heads that is aimed to basically prevent any diplomacy between the US and China and escalate this new cold war that’s underway.’’
Blumenthal is correct in his claim that Zenz’s work is based on data abuse. I would go one further and say that his work is also based on downright fabrications that have no basis in reality. I picked one of Zenz’s reports at random, ‘Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude’: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang’ and examined some of the claims made there.
One of Zenz’s key claims repeated by Western governments and media outlets alike is that China is forcibly detaining between 1-2 million Uygur. In the report cited above Zenz states:
“Unfortunately, there is no official information available on numbers of re-education detainees. A Uygur exile media organization based in Istanbul published a table of re-education detainee figures for 69 counties in Xinjiang, reportedly leaked from a reliable source within the region’s public security agencies (Mizutani, 2018).’’
The footnote providing evidence for this serious allegation is based on an article in Newsweek by a Japanese journalist Naoko Mizutani who claims to be a ‘Chinese Modern History Researcher’. Mizutani cites a single report by a right wing Uygur separatist internet TV channel based in Turkey called Istiqlal TV. Mizutani states that Istiqlal TV obtained information about the mass imprisonment of Uygur “from a reliable local public security source.”
Does this local public security source even exist?
We are supposed to believe Zenz’s claims about the mass imprisonment of Uygur from this flimsy source that could easily be a complete fabrication? There is no verifiable evidence to support this claim that is a key pillar of Western criticism of China.
Radio Free Asia another American source for the NewLine genocide report
Another ‘independent’ source that crops up with great regularity in the NewLines genocide report is Radio Free Asia which is funded by the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) whose apparent purpose is to, ‘inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy’. This US government outfit funds Voice of America and Radio Free Europe and various other propaganda outlets that were set up during Cold War 1.0 to oppose the Soviet Union.
Are we supposed to take the genocide report seriously when many of its sources of information lack any kind of credibility? In fact many of its so called sources are mere mouthpieces for American Cold War propaganda.
Investigative reporter Ajit Singh sums up this “new’’ report nicely when observes that it merely ‘regurgitates old, discredited “evidence”. He adds that it, “presents no new material on the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China’’.
Western criticism of China designed to stifle its economic development and fan Cold War 2.0
Under the CCP one-party dictatorship working people across China, not just in Xinjiang, are subject to massive state surveillance state, attacks on trade unions, workers protests and a denial of basic democratic rights.
Having said this, the United States and its allies are using the human rights card to further their regime change narrative regarding China. It reflects an intensification of the acute economic rivalry between Chinese and American capitalism.
The lack of democratic rights facing working people across all provinces of China is no business of American imperialism and its allies. The Chinese people have a long and proud revolutionary history. At some point, just as in the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989, the Chinese masses will once again strive to reclaim their revolutionary traditions and fight for the basic democratic rights denied to them since the inception of Mao’s regime in 1949.
American imperialism is steadily losing ground to China on so many different economic fronts and in the realms of technological development. By the end of the 2020s it is estimated that China will have overtaken the US to become the world’s largest economy. History is replete with examples of declining empires that resort to conflict when confronted by a rising state that challenges their hegemonic position.
The current human rights narrative being used by the US to attack China is yet another example of that same historical process. Biden’s much trumped plan for rebuilding US infrastructure is a belated recognition of how far it has fallen behind China in a key economic metric.
Since 2008 American capital has failed to resolve the many structural problems facing its economic system. Instead of attempting to carry out reforms to try and shore up the system American capital has accelerated the parasitic financialization of the US economy.
This has resulted in one of the greatest wealth transfers in history that has led to a massive inflation of paper assets such as stocks and bonds. It has greatly exacerbated the huge wealth gap between the 1% whose wealth has grown tremendously and the bottom 60% which has suffered declining living standards since the 1980s.
This process poses many dangers for the medium to long term stability of American capitalism.
The incessant attacks on China are also part of the ideological crusade designed to divert ordinary Americans attention away from the real source of their problems and put the blame on China. Not surprisingly, the anti-China rhetoric is leading to a rising wave of attacks against Asian-Americans within the US.
The current ideological offensive of the United States utilises the fig leaf of human rights with which to attack China. This will not weaken the CCP regime, quite the opposite. It will strengthen President Xi’s attempts to whip up nationalist feeling as a means of consolidating public support for his regime.
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