Has China been committing genocide against Uighur Muslims? The claims of C4’s Dispatches

First published 17th February 2022

Timed to coincide with Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Olympics, Channel 4’s Dispatches – ‘China: the Search for the Missing’ – summarises the evidence, scant as it is, for the supposed ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang.

Approaching the situation in China’s northwestern province without any reference to social or historical context; it is filled with unsubstantiated statements, dubious anonymous ‘eye-witness’ accounts’ (and when the accounts are not anonymous, they are even more highly suspect), and it repeats as facts figures that the programme itself has previously conceded are estimates (or guesswork).

What is the overarching narrative this Dispatches expose wants to impress on viewers? Not much is offered in the way of explaining why China seeks genocide in Xinjiang – nor why it is choosing such inefficient methods – but what is provided goes as follows.

A narrative that doesn’t make sense

Xinjiang, according to Dispatches, is “culturally distinct from the rest of China.” Unrest in 2009 was driven by Han Chinese whose immigration had been “encouraged by the government to change the ethnic makeup of the area”. China seeks to “erode muslim culture, identity, and force them to assimilate”. And so now, in 2022, we see “concentration camps detaining more than one million muslims” along with forced sterilisation, and the rest.

Needless to say that no effort is made to inform viewers of that the so-called ‘rest of China’ is a culturally diverse melting pot, bringing together dozens of national minority groups none of the rest of whom have provoked a ‘genocidal’ policy. So why Xinjiang?

Preferring to paint events in Xinjiang as motivated by little other than racial hatred, Dispatches makes no mention whatsoever of the East Turkestan Independence Movement (ETIM) – the separatist Uighur movement linked to Al-Qaeda and responsible for terror campaigns across China from the 1990s onward.

And of course the separatists in Xinjiang have not been acting alone – beyond their links to the wider world of Islamic radicalism, they have received financial and logistical support from the CIA: funding has come in to separatist groups in Xinjiang from the National Endowment for Democracy (a CIA front) since 2004.

Using Islamic radicalism to foment unrest and destabilise anti-imperialist states is nothing new. Painting China’s response to this threat to its territorial integrity as ‘genocidal’ is a deceit – one that covers the inconvenient truth that the US has been happy to encourage political separatism in a region key to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and that the UK has been faithfully along for the ride.

Methods that don’t make sense

Personal accounts are emotive – especially on the subject of forced sterilisation – but are also notoriously unreliable and, in the case of Dispatches and elsewhere, presented with no effort to show contradicting views.

The particular eye-witness brought out of the shadows by Dispatches is Qelbinur Sidik, a fifty-year-old Uighur who testifies that she was forcibly sterilised in a concentration camp to prevent her having further children.

The Guardian said her testimony is “difficult to verify” – “It is hard to take photos inside detention facilities and there is little documentation” – despite the fact she is testifying about a physical operation supposed to have been conducted on her own body.

The witness produced by Dispatches states explicitly, regarding forced sterilisation, that “no one is spared inside or outside the camps”. Where, though, are the testimonies of Turdigul Nur and Mihrensa Qari?

These are Uighur women who have shown photographs of their infant children at press conferences (at which foreign journalists were present) and spoke there about their legal entitlement to more than one child, as well as the free examinations and checkups provided by the provincial government, and have criticised the “nonsense” spoken by people abroad.

Horror stories of forced sterilisation mirror the absurd lies of Falun Gong about Chinese ‘organ harvesting’, which are similarly propagated without a shred of verification ever coming to light.

When it comes to estimating the number of detainees of the “torture camps” Dispatches relied on an architect called Alison Killing – recently awarded the Pulitzer prize for her findings – who explains how she solved the mystery. It all begins with the assumption that any area of China that appears blurry on an online maps’ satellite view is a potential torture camp. Then, using her keen architectural expertise, Killing goes through them one by one deciding which blurred squares must be torture camps. She has so far identified 348 of them from her armchair at home, and after adding up all of the areas and dividing the sum by the area allocated to each prisoner, she arrives at a total estimate of just over one million detainees.

A conclusion that does make sense

Xinjiang is a region of pivotal geostrategic importance for the USA and its allies as it sits between China and the former Soviet countries including Russia itself. It is also of course a central region to the belt and road project and has vast reserves of petroleum, natural gas and other resources.

In order to prevent the rise of China it must be weakened internally and split up into fighting fractions – divide and rule as the saying goes – as has been attempted with the destabilising efforts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang.. If this plan to divide China does not succeed in the near future it will be too late and a new world order will come about in which the Anglo-imperialists can no longer sustain their superior position by praying on others.

The genocide claims are therefore nothing more than desperate lies fabricated to justify hostility towards China. They have nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with the loosening grip of Anglo-imperialism’s domination.

It is not surprising that the USA whilst recently pretending to care about Muslims in Xinjiang has for decades extrajudicially kidnapped, detained, and tortured hundreds of Muslims in Guantanamo.

The Pulitzer prize has joined the Nobel peace prize as a rubber stamp that the Anglo-imperialists use to declare their approved mouthpieces. This is not only shown by the award to Alison Killing for a laughably childish investigation into an invented subject, but by the silence around Julian Assange – arguably the most important journalist of our time – who is currently being extrajudicially tortured in London instead of being awarded the Pulitzer prize.

For Channel 4 to say China is an “Orwellian surveillance state” where people “could be in danger from vague laws controlling freedom of speech” is hard not to laugh at, and the bare cynicism revealed in the broadcasters decision to prepare such a propagandist piece of filmaking, presumably well in advance of the Winter Olympic opening week but programmed to air just as the games were due to begin, shows the hollow nature of the professed lamentations on behalf of Uighur Muslims.

 …And this is coming from Britain, the nation state that illegally detained and continues to torture Julian Assange precisely for defending freedom of speech, in the city of London, where one can’t take a step without being on cctv. This mockumentary by Channel 4 Dispatches is the zenith of hypocrisy.

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