The Chinese government has at last taken the gloves off, in response to the latest round of US-led sanctions and sanctimony over imaginary atrocities against the Uyghur ethnic group in China’s northwestern province of Xinjiang. Whilst maintaining Beijing’s standing offer of cooperation on common interests with the USA and its allies, Director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Information Department Hua Chunying made very clear in her 26 March regular press briefing that those countries are in no position to criticise China on human rights, called out the US government’s concoction of a fake Uyghur genocide as a “strategic conspiracy” in the same vein as the frauds by which it justified its invasion of Iraq and attacks on Syria, and warned in no uncertain terms that if pushed China will not hesitate to defend itself.
Hua opened her briefing by playing two short videos. The first was an address to a 19 March online panel discussion on Xinjiang by Daniel Dumbrill, a Canadian businessman and broadcaster who has lived in China for 12 years and travelled the country extensively. After outlining the US government’s history of propagandising against, and sponsoring subversive elements within, countries targeted for destabilisation, Dumbrill pointed out that given Xinjiang is not only “the site of Asia’s largest oil deposits, … [but also] a key doorway to China’s Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], and that it suffered from pre-existing Islamic terrorism problems, the question suddenly becomes: ‘How could you possibly not expect America to take a special interest in Xinjiang?’” But the evidence cited by the US and allied governments and media to support allegations of genocide against Uyghurs simply “does not stand up to even the most basic logical and critical questions”, Dumbrill said. For example, the estimates of millions of detainees extrapolated from interviews with just eight unnamed people by US-backed human rights activists, or the testimony of a supposed “concentration camp survivor” who has changed her story several times and was bizarrely granted a new passport with which to leave China during the same period she now claims to have been under arrest. “We’re expected to believe that a population … that has been growing faster than the majority Han Chinese, in part because they weren’t subject to the one-child policy; where they’ve had 20,000 mosques built for them; where their script is written on all the national currency, something we don’t even do for our indigenous populations in Canada; where the biggest star in China [actress Dilraba Dilmurat] is a Uyghur woman … [and] where Uyghur kids can get into top universities easier than Han Chinese, and have specific halal foods prepared for them in the canteen and prayer areas on campus—we’re expected to believe that this population is being eradicated? It’s a ridiculous statement, whether it be in a literal sense or even in a cultural sense.”
Déjà vu all over again
Hua also played a clip from a speech by US Army Colonel (retired) Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell before and during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, who later turned whistleblower when he realised that the intelligence used to justify the war had been falsified. Speaking in August 2018 to the anti-war Ron Paul Institute, Wilkerson attributed the still ongoing US military occupation in Afghanistan, in part, to its being “the only hard power the United States has that sits proximate to the central [corridor of the BRI] … which runs across Central Asia” from Xinjiang, with which Afghanistan shares a short land border. “If we had to impact that with military power, we are in position to do so”, Wilkerson said. And meanwhile, it puts the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a position to use Uyghur separatist groups to “destabilise China … to foment unrest and to join with those Uyghurs in pushing the Han Chinese in Beijing from internal places, rather than external.”
“Doesn’t it feel like déjà vu?” Hua asked the assembled media representatives. In 2003, she said, “the USA launched military strikes against Iraq on the grounds that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties and more than one million homeless”, only to admit years later that there was no real evidence (for the very good reason that the WMD did not exist). “In 2018, the USA, the UK, France and some other countries launched air strikes on Syria, claiming that the Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against the Syrian people. The air strikes led to hundreds of thousands of casualties [sic] and displacement of innocent civilians. But the evidence of the so-called use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government turned out to be nothing more than a staged video directed by the White Helmets, a group funded by US and UK intelligence agencies. … We solemnly inform the US side that today’s China is neither Iraq nor Syria, still less the late Qing Dynasty [1644- 1912] downtrodden by the Eight-Power Allied Forces [of European colonialists led by the British Empire]. … We have full resolution, determination and capability to firmly defend national sovereignty, security, dignity and honour.”
That dire warning notwithstanding, however, Hua also thanked those in the West who are pushing back against the US-led drive towards war. She expressed special appreciation for the “Declaration of China Experts from all over the World” released 23 March by International Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche and international co-signers, acknowledging China’s history as one of the world’s leading nations for 5,000 years preceding the 17th century and calling for cooperation instead of conflict, in a “dialogue of cultures [to] find a way to solve the crises challenging all of humanity”.1 The statement “represents the rational and just voice of visionary people in the world”, Hua said. “We welcome people from across the world to get closer to us and understand China. We hope certain individuals in the west will discard bias, return to rationality, liberate their thinking, seek truth from facts and view China from an objective perspective.”
By Richard Bardon, Australian Alert Service, 7 April 2021