A Solid Wall of Disinformation
As Submitted and published by People’s Daily China 16th March 2021
Foreign media misrepresents China and governments interfere in China’s internal affairs; of these there can be no doubt. Misrepresentations from ill-informed primary sources quote and requote each other, feeds are provided to mainstream media and passed to subsidiary outlets, creating what appears to be a legitimate narrative of a genocide from coming from almost every news source.
This massive amount of disinformation means readers believe there must be some truth and creates a need for representatives in government to feel obliged to act. What politician has the time to read everything and if articles cite genocide every day, what politician would not act on this — it’s in the news every day, therefore it must be true — right?
Let’s be realistic, this isn’t a news campaign against things China is doing wrong — this is a very carefully, professionally, orchestrated and directed PR campaign. A well-organised well-funded solid wall of disinformation.
There are a variety of influences, mostly media backed, but certainly supported by the Military Industrial complex. Bad news sells papers, this is a well-known maxim in the media industry and no one is better at capitalising on that than the US, UK and Australia’s most prominent news monopoly; the Murdoch press stable. Much of the money floating around the international “Think Tank” and Human Right’s industries comes from weapons manufacturers and “defence” contractors. Many political donations going into Senate and Congress re-election campaigns come from the same industries and it’s certainly not in the interest of these companies, their CEOs or shareholders to have a peaceful world in which no weapons are needed. Turning their swords into ploughshares, as the bible suggests, is not a viable (profitable) option. So, in order to sway the politician, they donate large sums, present “facts”, from reports they paid for, then send to news media to be amplified, presenting an ominous tale of insidious and frightening behaviour. Seeing the tales in the daily press, the politician feels obliged to act and the donor makes a big sale with profits allowing for further spending to get more sinister reports and the cycle continues.
Any lie, to be believable, must have a basis in truth. It must be understood that whilst, in light of all the provable available evidence, the allegations are not true, there’s a huge element of truth in the collection of data — it’s the interpretation of this data which is wrong.
People growing up in EU or USA have never seen a factory or a school in China, they don’t know these buildings have secure walls and fences, they don’t know that every school and factory has a manned security gate and kids or workers are allowed in and out only after passing this security. This is true of Xinjiang, but it’s equally true of every single industrial area I have ever visited — and that’s a lot of factories.
Walls, fences, security guards, barbed wire, CCTV systems with facial recognition, these are not sinister items designed to corral and control the victims of government oppression, but tools to protect innocent people and used anywhere where violence, aggression and terrorism exist. Facial recognition is used in sports stadiums throughout the world, why is it suddenly sinister when it’s used to protect innocent lives in China?
It’s well known and recorded every year that hundreds of millions of Chinese workers leave their hometowns to work in industrial regions. What’s not well-known is where these millions of people live. They usually reside in dormitories, most often inside the factory grounds. To an untrained and culturally unaware observer, these might easily be mistaken for a prison. Factories often have thousands of staff members who wear uniforms, they move in large groups between dormitories, canteens and factories.
A very simple internet search will take you to the mega-factories of China where you can see, hundreds, often thousands of workers, all dressed alike and all working inside a walled compound. Because I’ve been to hundreds of factories in many different cities in China, I know this, but don’t believe me, look for yourself, photos and videos of Chinese factories are very easily found.
These same untrained observers don’t realise either, that much more than half the kids going to high-school and many in primary too, stay in dormitories. Sometimes, as in Xinjiang, Gansu and other large regions with sparse populations it’s because of the distances, but more often due to the bulk of work they have, they don’t waste time travelling to and from school. Once again, my own work experience in China took me to hundreds of schools, colleges and universities in dozens of Chinese cities. I’ve personally slept in the dormitories and shared canteens with 4,000 happy kids.
It’s easy to understand how misrepresentations occur. A young analyst is tasked: “China is imprisoning millions of people, go look online and see what you can find to prove it”. That young, inexperienced data analyst looks at the construction sites, the security equipment, concrete, fencing and beds that are shipped to the region but is either ignorant of, or aware but ignores, the data proving massive investments in poverty alleviation and has no knowledge of the residential nature, nor concept of the size of Chinese workplaces or educational institutes, it’s easy to understand how they might imagine these are prisons.
Despite this wall of misinformation, some important aspects are missing. If they are prisons, who works in them, who are the administrators, the security staff, the domestic staff, caterers and other “normal” people who spend their days inside this dystopian nightmare the media have created? The staff must surely be local people, yet who are the local people? They are, in some regions of Xinjiang, as much as 90% Uyghurs, in other places as low as 45%. If this scenario does exist where are the leaked videos and the illegal border crossing refugees? Just this absence alone creates a huge doubt in the minds of any critical reader of the “evidence”. Although there are plenty of grainy images of satellite photos, there’s not a singe shot of a real person being tortured, abused, or even mistreated in any way. Nor has a single Human Right’s activist visited this region where apparently millions are incarcerated. Every person in Xinjiang has a mobile phone, all of them are able to access Chinese social media and in fact, many do. When they do, all we do see are Uyghurs selling fruit, dancing and generally having a good time. Leaks are an inevitable part of any secretive activity, after so many years of “Xinjiang’s nightmare” why don’t we have leaked footage? Why are the BBC allowed to travel there, film and leave without being arrested, with their cameras intact, their memory cards full and their tales of imaginary officials following them?
If we were to consider other motivations beyond the Xinjiang issue, and an assumption of destabilisation through interference in China’s internal affairs, there are two other reasons for the continuation of a narrative that would benefit the US.
One is the massive oil and gas reserves in the region. Gaining access to those reserves isn’t America’s ultimate goal, they have supplies within their own country and elsewhere but when China has easy access it boosts economic growth, something the US seems to fear. Oil reserves also reduce the effectiveness of sanctions or blockades against importing oil and gas to China by sea. Look closely at other countries where the US is active with either sanctions or regime change, The Middle East, North Africa, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, even Europe with the Nord Stream pipeline, all are related to oil or gas.
The other, perhaps more important reason for the US, is that keeping China on the front pages deflects from their own internal problems. The recent coup attempt has shown weaknesses in their own democracy. Civil disobedience abounds by BLM and Antifa on the Left and organisations like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys on the Right. Mismanagement of the Covid19 pandemic resulting in 530,000 deaths and rising. Police Officers shoot and kill more than 1000 people every year. In 2019 alone there were also 45 school shootings. Homelessness is out of control, more than 500,000 people live on the streets but more than 4m are registered homeless, living in cars or government shelters. 38 million people (11.8%) are registered officially as being in poverty and this doesn’t count the 2.2 million who are incarcerated in the world’s largest prison population.
There’s a migrant crisis with overflowing camps on the southern borders containing thousands of migrants who are kept in “concentration camp like conditions”, not my words but the words of advocates who visit. There’s an employment crisis with minimum wages remaining at 2009 levels creating massive wealth inequality and finally, the US has a national debt of 28 Trillion dollars.
It’s no surprise to anyone that a government with problems like these is happy to keep their own problems off the front pages and interferes in the affairs of others rather than attempt and fail to cure their own ailments.