Xinjiang Camps — Can we find some truth or common ground?

In August 2019 A professor of Islamic History Olsi Jazexhi, went on a guided tour of the camps: he made series of YouTube videos, has been interviewed and he has written articles and even presented to the European parliament. He claims he asked questions and was answered, I watched every interview he made, I watched every video posted by him and I found that the truth of what he said, was not the truth of what he saw.

An interesting view of one of the “camps” note the sporting facilities. It may well be a camp, but it’s certainly not a Concentration camp

Olsi posted three videos of interviews with Uyghur students in “camp” on 21st August:

One with Mahutmi Dunias and friends had 7.8K views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp5y9LCZqTA

One where the Chinese teacher answered your questions has had 4.1K views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClKVs8qa2jw

One where Sumeya explained why she was there has had 3.3K views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMup-RgaZ0E

And one Video from 23rd August from a different camp. Where the lady explained she goes home every weekend, she still believes in God and practices religion regularly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClKVs8qa2jw

He also posted two videos from his home in Albania on 25th and 26th August 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwYNOx7KG0s : and: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VC1THdpRCPI

He has posted several videos of interviews from other sources: Let the Quran Speak; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTQFdGsDrxw

China Unscripted:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsFbaHQUa18

and a video of himself giving evidence to the European Parliament. Not linked here as it contains much of the same content.

What I saw, and each of my statements here, is supported by the evidence of his own videos, was that in each of his monologues and his interviews he makes statements that are not borne out by the videos of his time in Xinjiang. I don’t accuse him of lying, but I certainly see some contradictions.

He challenged me to a debate, and we recorded it. Before the debate, I prepared a script, We didn’t follow the script, but it’s still available and I may post it soon. I think it’s fair to say most points in it were covered, but not all. I will ask a friend to upload the link to YouTube. When you see the video, you will realise why we didn’t follow a script, because Olsi is a temperamental Mediterranean man, scripts aren’t easy to follow! The link to that will come soon.

https://d.tube/#!/v/treschouette/az3yvsq583v — here is the link to that debate, after placing it on YouTube, Olsi complained to them that I had encroached on his IP, it’s ok for him to go on lying, but view this to see what happens when he gets called on the lies

Rather than the entire script, I am posting the summary of the script, some of which was put to Olsi, some of it was not. But, everything here is verifiable against the 2 hour long interview which, if a copy is requested in the comments, I will happily send

Summary

Having watched three videos posted on 21st August last year and one posted on 23rd August from within Xinjiang, as well as two videos from your home on 25th and 26th of August and interviews you made with a Muslim News Station called “let the Quran Speak” plus an interview with Chris Chappell of Falun Gong, I have a few comments:

There are some misrepresentations such as calling these adults: kids; children; boys and girls on several different interviews, when they are all over 22 years old. Calling the centres Concentration camps — which is, quite frankly, insulting to the memory of 6 million people who never left those camps. Stating the school you visited is in the “middle of the desert” when, in fact, it’s just 4km from Wensu County Town and just 200 metres off the main road to Urumqi: in fact, it would be fair to say all of Wensu is “in the middle of the desert” because it is in fact, surrounded by the Taklamakan Desert.

I’ve seen some complete untruths such as: I saw a woman in a cage when you mean a cell, but it was in fact a dormitory, and, as I demonstrated with my own apartment, is a very common thing. It keeps criminals out as well as keeping students in.

They aren’t allowed home, your own videos contradict this as you recorded a teacher saying they go home every Friday and return on Sunday, another of your interviews you asked and the girl said she could go home every weekend and religious holidays, as well as a girl you mentioned as being separated from her child for two years who told you she had only been in the camp one year and clearly told you she was allowed to go home every weekend.

They aren’t allowed to believe in God, again contradicted by your own videos when one girl told you she is a Muslim and she believes in God, she prays regularly when she is at home. A teacher told you they can pray at home, but under Chinese law, religion isn’t allowed in school.

A screenshot of my wife’s phone just a day ago, when she looked online to see if it’s possible to purchase a copy of the Quran (Koran) — less than $5USD

Their own language isn’t allowed, yet again, your own videos contradict this when we hear people speaking Uyghur and see the written form throughout the rooms you videoed.

This is the very classroom on the day Olsi was in it — not the clear presence of Uyghur scrip above the blackboard — everything is in dual language

You’ve exaggerated the reasons behind why they are there by playing down the offences to simple things like praying, wearing a scarf, getting married or reading the Quran — when each of them told you they had breached some other regulations and explained to you, in your videos.

You conject part without any attempt to provide evidence such things as: Chinese believes that “Islam is a mental disease”.

Muslims are being exterminated

They are forced to eat pork.

People are in prison for praying,

People are in prison for refusing to eat food that is not Halal.

Not one of these conjectures is supported by any evidence you present, it’s simply stated as a fact that you give to your viewers.

You make assumptions on their life choices of giving up religion because it suits you to say they are brainwashed, but you provide no evidence except to say that their answers make it appear they are brainwashed.

You suggest the entire event is stage managed and, whilst I might even agree, it is stage managed to give you the best experience and the best view of the situation, you present no evidence of this.

You assert that fences were removed before you arrived there and uniforms and guns were hidden: there is no evidence of any fence ever being put around this school in any of your videos, and, in fact, not even a single photo, video or even a verbal description of the place you call a concentrations camp.

You suggest in one part you were trying to talk to some students playing basketball but stopped by your “apparatchiks” yet give no explanation, and don’t seem to see the contradiction in the fact that these young people might be allowed to even play basketball in a concentration camp. Indicating, like everywhere else in China, people play basketball when they have a break from their studies.

You make outrageous claims of an “open rebellion” with no evidence to support and ample evidence to suggest there is no rebellion going on

You provide no balance to your reporting, at no stage have you shown any evidence, despite stating many times that the other journalists felt the same as you, there is no record of private conversations between you and other journalists, there are no links to other journalists work which would provide corroboration of your statements. I’ve searched for the names and details of journalists who have visited Xinjiang and can find not one negative report supported by sa journalist who has actually been to the region. There is no video or audio recording of any private conversations you had with any of these journalist and no written documentation supporting any discussions you might have engaged in. As you call yourself an journalist and have a PhD in history, it seems strange that you didn’t feel a need to record your corroboration, and neither did any of the other 19 journalists in your delegation.

There’s no evidence you attempted to leave your hotels or the care of your escorts to meet with and discuss with private citizens. You’ve provided no video of normality with street scenes in any of the three cities you spent time. You stated, when asked, that you were not allowed to leave the hotel without escorts yet have no evidence of this incarceration and illegal act on the part of your escorts: This is surely something that at least one of nineteen investigative journalist would have recorded and written fiercely about.

Despite going to meet some Muslim Clerics and community leaders, you have posted no video, written no articles and appear to have no documented discussion of anything that these Muslim leaders have said. Your audience doesn’t know if they are in favour of, or against the government, but we do know they exist and further contradict your assertion that people in Xinjiang are not allowed to practice their faith. Again as a journalist, this is a very striking lack of support for the claims you are making.

There’s no video of the external buildings you claim are concentration camps, the interior of the buildings you visited were typical of schools, and I’ve been in literally hundreds of rooms like them in many provinces. In none of your videos is there a prison, no guards, no visible bars on the windows. In fact, in one of your interviews in Kashgar, you were seated at an open, unbarred window for the entire interview.

You’ve given an air of conspiracy in which you state Chinese officials have asked you not to talk about the things you’ve seen and, having done so, have caused you to lose your job in Albania. When in fact, there are documented reports in the Tehran Times that you are involved in litigation with your university over a loss of some part time work due to a relationship issue with an Iranian organisation you have criticised called Mojahadin e Khalgh and one of its leaders Maryam Rajavi.

In fact, it seems apparent that there was an agenda in you going to Xinjiang, representing yourself as a “friend of China” and distorting the facts to suit this agenda.

I’m British born Australian citizen. I live in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write about China experiences on and off my bike