Debunking Western Myths!
The other Carrds you have seen about China are probably wrong.
That's not your fault, and neither is it the creators' of those Carrds. China has a fundamentally different system of governing and economy than most of the West (see: the United States), and is successfully proving that systems not built on capitalist exploitation are possible. And that means that it is seen as a threat.
Because it it operates outside of the system of imperialist collaboration between the United States and its allies, news is commonly falsified about it. Regular news is sensationalized and exaggerated with the specific intention of making normal people just like you and me think "This country sucks! We should do something!"
Once the West can convince you to think this way, it can begin to justify sanctions that harm the people, and in extreme cases, even use our outrage as justification to invade. These viral stories are part of a larger post-Cold War US State strategy trying to violently dismantle any "enemy" of the United States.
Life in China is not perfect. No country is utopian. We are a collective that wants to avoid tokenizing any identity to speak for Chinese people, Central Asian Muslims, or even Uyghurs as a monolith. But most of the negative news coverage of & imperialist US state narrative regarding China is biased propaganda meant to manufacture consent for war. If you are a Westerner reading this, you know the United States and its major allies do not care for their citizens, especially the most marginalized, nor the people living in the Global South.
So why are you so ready to believe the stories they tell about their enemies?
This Carrd aims to tackle some of the most popular Western imperialist propaganda, especially US narratives, against the People's Republic of China, and help you gain the tools to decide for yourself what's true and what's de-contextualized warmongering propaganda.
As always, approach in good faith, and be ready to learn.
This is not meant to be an in-depth historical survey of Xinjiang as a region. For those unacquainted with its history, this document (pages 11-20) provides a more thorough background.
If they aren't concentration camps, what are they?
Normal detention centers. Unlike the jails and prisons you might be more familiar with in the United States, they prioritize re-educating offenders (normal criminals—practicing Islam is not in any way considered a legal offense) so that they can eventually re-integrate into normal society, rather than remain locked up for the rest of their lives.
Read first-hand accounts of former and current detainees detailing their time in the centers & their opinions of them
These centers in Xinjiang have received special attention because of a history of religious extremism in the region. In the 1990s, Islamic extremist groups across Central Asia gained traction with the rise of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and East Africa. This lead to violence in the region of Xinjiang. This paper and this article explain the escalation and violence of extremist groups in more detail.
Further reading on de-radicalization and counterterrorism policy in Xinjiang, a transcript of an interview with a local official
So they're re-education centers. China still detained one million Uyghurs.
The "one million" claim came from a single report submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2018. The report was found to have created their claims on the basis of interviews with eight people.
(The population of Xinjiang is 20 million.)
The report was submitted by a body of "independent experts", unaffiliated with the United Nations. A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed that the report did not reflect any official findings of the United Nations.
This report was found to have been created by one American affiliated with the US Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), and could not provide a single named source as to the existence of any large-scale camps with majority Uyghur detainees.
CHRD has received 60% of its funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA-backed group aimed at creating regime change within enemies of the United States. 99.94% of CHRD funding is from US government grants (2015).
CHRD 2015 Tax Return NED 2015 Tax Return
The information in this section is expanded upon in this article and this article.
But what about all of those pictures??
They're... not of concentration camps. Most probably weren't even taken in Xinjiang.
Let's talk about the most popular ones.
This is probably the one you've seen everywhere. It was taken at a correctional facility in Luopu County in Southwest Xinjiang during an educational talk. Both speakers were Uyghur. The majority of the prisoners in the image are Uyghur because 98% of Loupu residents are Uyghur. The image was taken out of context by Western media (screenshots 2 and 3), as the first screenshot of the Wikipedia article was taken in 2019. The image was updated in January, although this photo was taken in 2017. This is explained here, and the original article is linked within (though it has not been translated to English).
A video with this thumbnail also made rounds on the internet recently. The video was traced... to a BDSM club in Taiwan. The original article is here, but since it's in Chinese and untranslated, the beginning of the article was copied into an online translator. If you are skeptical of our translations here, feel free to do it yourself to corroborate.
The text in blue was translated in the screenshot. The title translates to, "The media reported that "Barbecue-style torture was exposed to Chinese methods of torturing Xinjiang people?"
This video of prisoners being walked in a line with their heads covered also went viral when British Twitter account @MaajidNawaz claimed that this was taken from inside a Uyghur-majority "camp". The video was sourced to a prison in Bijie (a town 200 kilometers from the Xinjiang province), where hundreds of businessmen involved in white-collar pyramid schemes were arrested. Sourced by this account, a Chinese person living in Xinjiang.
Obviously there have been more than three pictures and videos of "camps" in Xinjiang. This Carrd cannot list every single one and their source, or it would take ages to read. But if the most popular ones have been shown to be fake, you should, at the very least, be skeptical of others you see being spread.
What about the satellite images?
What about them? The images are speculation based entirely off of grainy pictures taken from miles high in the sky. International journalists, diplomats, and even foreign tourists have even been invited to visit Xinjiang in person, are free to do so, and when they do, they do not find the results touted in "satellite images".
Here is an example of a satellite image used as evidence of "camps". The same region is then found on a maps service. The location of a supposed camp is a 5 star apartment building. More images such as these are found in this thread!
So, not a genocide?
The Uyghur population saw a 35% increase in under a decade in the 1980s, which is tremendous growth. In more recent years, the Statistical Bureau of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region reported a 25% increase in Ugyhur population between 2010 and 2018 (source).
Xinjiang officials are looking to move forward on a decades-long campaign to end poverty in the Xinjiang province to further help the ethnic minorities that make up the majority of the population, and the poverty rate in the region has been lowered to just 1.2 percent (source). China is slated to be the only nation by UN standards to have eradicated extreme poverty in 2020. Watch part of what's being done here!
For comparison, no state or autonomous region in the entire United States has a poverty rate this low. Not even majority-White states. While no state has a population that is 98% minority like Loupu, in Washington, D.C., the autonomous region of the capital, ethnic minorities consist of 64% of the population, relatively high for the country. The poverty rate in Washington, D.C. is 17% on average (source), and even higher for racial and ethnic minorities. If China were attempting a genocide on the Uyghur people, they would not be trying to lift their communities out of poverty.
For comparison, the United States population is 23.5% racial and/or ethnic minority (all minorities included). Black Americans alone make up 40% of the prison population. The United States also has the largest number of incarcerated people in the world.
If the United States is not being popularly accused of genocide requiring foreign intervention, then China should not be.
But there are tensions in the region.
The tensions are not religious. The vast majority of Xinjiang practices Islam, and Uyghurs aren't the only ethnic minority in the region that are majority Muslim. If China were attempting a mass act of Islamophobia, why are there no claims of genocide against Hui Muslims, which are the largest Muslim ethnic group in China?
Islam is constitutionally protected in China, explained and sourced thoroughly here.
We recognise that law is nothing without practice and praxis. Locals themselves have come out in condemnation of the Western reports about their region.
Read a letter from almost 100 scholars and religious leaders in Xinjiang responding to Secretary Pompeo (US) about claims of religious discrimination in Xinjiang.
China has also received praise from the Islamic world and Western media for their history of women-led mosques.
Internationally, the Xinjiang regional government has received support from Islamic nations for their response to terrorism in the region.
Read a joint UN statement here, where over 50 countries, including Palestine and several other Muslim-majority countries, voice their support for China's policies in Xinjiang.
As to why Palestine is specified, read here about how Israel itself admits that Xinjiang extremist forces take inspiration from the settler-colonial idea of Zionism and Israel, as well as the militancy of Islamic extremist groups like Al-Qaeda.
Ok, not genocide. But why would Imperialist powers go to these lengths to lie?
Xinjiang is an important region!
In addition to being an important cultural center for ethnic minorities as well as the historical homeland of Chinese ethnic minorities, Xinjiang has a vast reserve of oil and natural resources. The CIA has interfered in countries throughout history with the goal of enriching their own access to global oil reserves, and the CIA itself admitted to having the same plans to interfere in and develop on the oil reserves in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is also significant geographically for China, as it exists in an area important to the country's Belt Road Initiative (BRI), which plans to encourage and support trade between China, Central & Western Asia, Europe, and Africa. This provides an alternative to the often unfavorable trading conditions between decolonizing nations in the Global South and their former colonial powers, and allows them to become more economically independent from colonial nations. With the growth and success of the BRI, China poses a massive trade threat to the United States, as well as a threat to the existence of neocolonialism across the Global South, which the US intends to try and curb wherever possible, as you can read about here with their efforts to slow BRI development at its other end in the South China Sea. Cutting off the western end of the Belt Road through the tactics employed around Xinjiang would cripple the BRI and China, and it appears to be a plan of the United States.
If the United States and its allies can convince the modern world that China is executing its own people in the Western regions of the country, they can justify attempting to force China to cede control of the Xinjiang region through sanctions or outright invasion. This would at best cut off an important part of the BRI and significantly weaken China as well as much of the trade of the Global South and decolonizing nations, and spark international nuclear war at worst.
So if it's ethnic tensions, why is the media framing it as religious persecution?
Because Islamophobia is a very real problem in many countries, including in China. the US knows this and preys on the fear/trauma to make people panic and spread the false reports created. They weaponize people's empathy and this is why the use of "Muslims in concentration camps" is so effective.
The United States has employed these tactics of weaponizing Islam to interfere in a region before, as they admit to here, with full admission of plans to employ the same tactics in Central Asia and the Xinjiang region.
Not to mention, the United States is rather transparent about how this "concern for Muslims in China" is done in bad faith. A leading "expert" on Xinjiang in the West, Adrian Zenz, is a born-again Christian and author of the book Worthy to Escape, where he equates anti-capitalism and homosexuality to the coming of the Antichrist, as well as several violently antisemitic messages. He believes he is on a divinely-ordained mission against China, as stated in his own interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Zenz also works for the Victims of Communism Foundation, a right-wing organization grown from the National Captive Nations Commitee, which was founded by Nazi sympathizers and nationalists Lev Dobriansky and Yaroslav Stetsko. The Victims of Communism Foundation is famous for touting the harmful and antisemitic double-genocide theory about the Soviet bloc post-WWII.
So the United States wants resources in Xinjiang. And their main China expert is an Evangelist.
To summarize, in brief:
The United States has been supporting Islamic extremism in Central Asia for decades. China's re-education centers in Xinjiang are just one attempt to end the violence, alongside specific policy to end poverty. Because the United States wants to justify interference in Xinjiang to control the valuable natural resources and disrupt the Belt Road Initiative, The CIA has begun a campaign of propaganda against the region, including, but not limited to: submitting false reports to the UN about incarcaration rates, claiming that there is a genocide taking place, lying about satellite images, and using Taiwanese BDSM footage as proof of carceral torture in Xinjiang. And their main expert on the situation is a homophobic, antisemitic Christian evangelist who frequently works for and with right-wing nazi sympathizers.
Thank you for reading this far, and I hope that this has been educational for your perspective on China and the United States. This Carrd is an intro-level explanation of the conflict in Xinjiang, meant to encourage you to question the Western propaganda you so often see. For a much larger network of resources, check out this paper and this resource compilation to learn even more.
What do you mean the Hong Kong protests are a myth?
They're not! They're just in bad faith, and the idea that we should be supporting their movement is a myth.
Heavy claim to make, we know. Let's back up to get some background on the situation.
Historically, Hong Kong has always been part of China. No, really.
Hong Kong is a region in Southeast China, and had been ruled by the Chinese government since 243 BCE. After the First Opium War in which the United Kingdom smuggled opium into China to attempt to disrupt the Chinese economy, China was forced to cede control of the region. Hong Kong became a British Colony in 1842.
In 1984, a deal was made between the United Kingdom and China that Hong Kong would be returned to China in 1997 provided that it retain its colonial form of democracy, and not be immediately incorporated into the mainland government of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In 2047, Hong Kong can be fully integrated into the PRC, but until then, it remains under the "one country, two systems" policy of China's Special Administrative Regions explained fully here.
Because colonial democracy and capitalism were left intact in Hong Kong, imperialist powers have managed to maintain a close relationship with the region, something they cannot do with China. The United States even has a specific policy where Hong Kong has a special trade relationship with the USA, provided Hong Kong property owned by US citizens is not jeopardized.
If Hong Kong were fully incorporated into the PRC, the capitalist government would no longer control the region, and the United States, among other imperialist powers, would lose the ability to conduct business that can only exist under Hong Kong's current system.
So, Hong Kong remaining autonomous and capitalist is a net benefit for imperialist powers?
You got it. And Hong Kong returning to PRC control would remove imperialist control in the region, reunite it with China, and be an example of decolonization in the Global South. So, Western Imperialist powers have gotten creative.
Back to the protests. Why did they start?
That's a bigger question than you think. There have been protest movements across Hong Kong for decades now, encouraged by the same imperial powers and capitalists that want to prevent the region from ever being re-incorporated into the mainland. One in the recent past, the Umbrella Movement, was another similar string of protests supported by major business moguls and billionaires such as Jimmy Lai (who also has a hand in the current protests).
To get back to the present moment, the protests of 2019 were sparked by an extradition bill, which you can read in its entirety here.
An in-depth breakdown of the bill is given here by a businessman living in Hong Kong. For readers familiar with US law, it's extremely similar to Article 4, section II of the US Constitution. Both laws state that criminals who commit a crime in one region and then flee may be extradited to the region they committed the crime in.
In the United States, that means if someone commits a crime in one state and is caught in another state, they can be sent back to the state they committed the crime in to stand trial. In the Hong Kong bill, it means that if someone committed a crime in mainland China or a SAR (Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau) and fled to another SAR or the mainland, they could be extradited to wherever they committed the crime to stand trial.
Leaders of the SARs and the mainland governments cannot order extraditions easily, the crime of the accused must be considered a crime in both the place they committed it and the place they fled to, and many non-violent crimes are excluded from qualifying from extradition. This is not a bill to ship Hong Kong residents to the mainland to be jailed.
This bill does not criminalize or restrict political speech in Hong Kong. A crime must be considered a crime in BOTH Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China to qualify for extradition to the mainland. If the political speech is not illegal in Hong Kong, you could not be extradited to the mainland, plus, you would have had to commit the crime regarding political speech on the mainland.
Why write the bill in the first place? What happened?
A man murdered his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan and fled to Hong Kong. Taiwan attempted to bring him back to stand trial, and could not according to current Hong Kong laws.
The crime behind the bill is explained here. Content warning: murder and graphic violence against women are mentioned.
Note that the bill was discarded after months of protesting, and because of that, this man still walks free in Hong Kong. He has not been brought to justice for murder, and might not ever.
So why are so many people protesting?
They're encouraged to by Western powers.
Once again, the National Endowment for Democracy has been found funding Hong Kong protest groups. Like, they admitted to it on television. And here's their 2015 tax return confirming it.
In case you're unfamiliar with the National Endowment for Democracy: the founder of it admitted to The Washington Post in a 1991 interview, also shown in a screenshot (where the NED is referred to as the Center for Democracy) that it's main purpose was regime change, and "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA."
The character of the protests should also be brought into question. Protestors have consistently shown support not just for the colonial powers of the United States and United Kingdom, but have gone as far as to wave banners for Donald Trump and call for the United States to "save them". One protestor was taped beating a wounded person... with an American flag.
Wait, protestors see Trump as the good guy?
That's the tip of the iceberg here. Actual, real-life fascists have been supporting and even joining the protests without issue. And joining not to disrupt or escalate, but to genuinely march alongside the protestors.
Ukranian neo-nazis were found joining the protests, where one reported "Hong Kong welcomed us as relatives".
Watch Hong Kong protestors call for the British to re-colonize Hong Kong and thank Trump for trying to help the situation.
(FYI, the interviewer in that video is a Zionist, Islamophobe, and self-proclaimed Nazi).
On the topic of right-wing reporters flocking to Hong Kong to support the situation, InfoWars and Steve Bannon, owner of alt-right Breitbart News and former Chief Strategist for the Trump Administration are in full support of the protests as well. For a quick intro on InfoWars and their alt-right news and support of Trump, check here. And yes, InfoWars is that same show that went viral when Alex Jones said the government was putting chemicals in tap water to turn the frogs gay.
If protestors are calling for a return to colonial exploitation, and are welcoming help from fascists, who are these protests helping?
Good question. Certainly not the working class.
In fact, the protests have been actively harming the livelihoods of domestic workers in Hong Kong, one of the most exploited groups of people in the region.
The protestors defaced a labor union building, covering it in sexually explicit and violently misogynistic depictions of government officials that are women.
Ethnic minorities have faced violence from the protestors as well, some mobs going as far as to assault groups. A bystander to the protest who expressed disagreement was doused in gasoline and set on fire by protestors.
(Content warning for the video linked within the article: graphic violence from the aforementioned incident)
Hong Kong's largest bomb threat in history was also linked to the protests.
For a more detailed account of the violence perpetrated by protestors on innocent people, check out this interview with a reporter who went to join.
(For readers who prefer visual sources rather than audio-only podcasts, notes were taken on the interview here and here)
The protestors seem violent. Who's in charge here?
No one, technically. For a popular face of the movement, however, look to Joshua Wong.
Wong has amassed a large following on Twitter for being a career activist in Hong Kong, and travels internationally to garner popular support for the protests in imperialist countries. He now has a Netflix documentary detailing his work in the movement, to further push the agenda that these protests are in good faith and for the common people.
Some of Wong's meetings with allies in the United States? Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton.
If you're not familiar with either Senator, Marco Rubio is a conservative Senator from Florida that voted to acquit Trump when deciding on his removal from office in January, and consistently supports his presidency.
Tom Cotton is a conservative Senator from Arkansas, also part of Trump's party, supports him fully, and said slavery was a necessary evil in American history.
So the protests are joined by neo-nazis and the guy that's the face of the protests works... with Trump supporters. And it's all violent protests calling for Hong Kong to be a colony again. Because of a murder.
Yes! A summary is in order. In brief:
Hong Kong represents a massive business investment for Western Imperialist powers in Asia, and they stand to lose it as Hong Kong is re-incorporated back into the People's Republic of China, which has had control over the region for over 2,000 years. A CIA-backed regime change organization, the NED, has been funding protests in the region to undermine the re-incorporation. Because Taiwan, another SAR, was attempting to bring a murderer to justice, a bill was written to allow extradition not unlike what is written in the US Constitution. This bill was capitalized on by Western media, who claimed it to be a restriction of freedom, encouraging protests. The protests have been violent, harmed working class people and minorities, and are joined by fascists. The popular face of the movement, along with the protestors, align themselves with neocolonialism and right-wing leaders who believe slavery was necessary.
The Hong Kong protests are conducted in bad faith with the support of Western Imperialism against decolonization.