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The Truth Behind “Forced Uyghur Labour” Cooked Up by ASPI - Part2

publish time:2020-09-05 10:00| view by:523 | publisher:root

The Truth Behind “Forced Uyghur Labour” Cooked Up by an Australian Think Tank Should Be Revealed Part2

3. The Form of Cooking Up the Issue of So-called “Forced Uyghur Labour” by an Australian Think Tank and Foreign Media and Its Negative Influence on China

Since 2019, more than one thousand diplomatic officers, media workers and scholars from the United States and some other countries have arrived in Xinjiang, reviewed human rights protection achievements and results of anti-terrorism and efforts to eradicate extremism, and fully recognized what China has achieved along those lines. They supported China’s standing on Xinjiang related issues and pointed out the measures taken in Xinjiang regarding anti-terrorism and the eradication of extremism has effectively prevented terrorism and extremism, guaranteed human rights, and made contributions to the cause of international anti-terrorism efforts. In March of 2019, the Foreign Minister Council of the Islamic Cooperation Organization passed a resolution praising efforts taken by China related to caring for Muslims; in July of the same year, the permanent delegates in Geneva from more than 50 countries collectively wrote a letter to the chairman of the UN Human Rights Council and human rights high commissioners, in which they gave positive opinions on China’s practices of respecting and protecting human rights regarding anti-terrorism and extremism eradication; in October of the same year, leaders from more than 60 countries actively gave speeches on the 74th Conference for the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, hailing great advancements achieved by Xinjiang on human rights.[1] However, the above Australian think tank pays no attention to such facts while confusing right and wrong. Ignoring the true feelings of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, it stands by its bias against China’s policy related to governing Xinjiang, denies the development achievements made by Xinjiang, slanders the professional skill education and training work done by China by calling them “concentration camps” and claim China is “violating human rights”. It is aimed at promoting the strategy of “restricting China’s development with Xinjiang issues” adopted by the United States and other western countries to block and restrain the rise of China, which can be a piece of evidence of its malicious intention.

(1) The Form and Approach of Stirring Up International Opinion related to the So-called “Forced Uyghur Labour” by an Australian Think Tank and Foreign Media

Soon after the above report was released by an Australian Think Tank, the Washington Post launched a series of investigative reports to confirm the related contents. After that, some western media, scholars and dissenters echoed opinions in the report and distorted the policy of poverty alleviation with employment in Xinjiang as “forced Uyghur labourers” and “re-education version 2.0”, and regarded Uyghurs migrating to inland China for jobs as “slave workers” “forced labourers” and “movable human property”. They asserted that the main author of the above report, Xu Xiuzhong, is the Australian journalist who first unveiled the so-called truth about Uyghurs detained by China with the following details:

Stigmatizing China for Transferring Xinjiang Labourers as Selling “Movable Human Property”, Carrying out “Re-education Version 2.0” and Exaggerating Threats Faced by Uyghurs Working for Inland Factories.On March 2, the Free Asia Radio Station issued three articles successively, claiming that China is presently carrying out “re-education version 2.0” and Uyghurs will be transferred and sold like “movable human property”. Lu Ze, a contributor to the report, claimed that the Chinese government violates the human rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups through economic exploitation, hoping that relevant enterprises will carry out an all-round investigation as soon as possible. On the same day, Groupe RFI interviewed the World Uygur Congress spokesman Dirichati about the so-called “forced labour” issue; he said that presently due to the coronavirus, a multitude of factories in inland China have experienced a shortage of labourers and Uyghurs can provide cheap labourers that can fill up those vacancies in the Chinese government. There are more than 80,000 Uyghurs who have transferred to inland China for employment; in factories, those labourers face racial discrimination and the risk of being infected with the coronavirus. However, should they “escape” from those factories, their family members will suffer from persecution. 

Targeting Directly Beneficiaries of “Forced Uyghur Labour” and Claiming that China is Promoting a “Re-education Camp” Culture across the Country with the Purpose of Assimilating Uyghurs. On March 2,Liberty Timesissued an article claiming that a scandal was recently revealed showing that China forces Uyghurs to work in the Chinese factories managed by famous international enterprises and 83 of those factories benefit from labour provided by Uyghurs. At the same time, the article quoted Xu Xiuzhong’s opinion stating, “Presently the Chinese government is expanding the culture and doctrines of the concept of a Xinjiang ‘re-education camp’ to factories across the country, aiming at ‘Sinicize’ Uyghurs”; factories, local governments, private brokers and factories profits from the process of sending Uyghur labourers inland.

Focusing on Responses to the So-called “Forced Uyghur Labour” Issue by the International Community and Emphatically Addressing the Attitudes and Actions of the United States Government, UN and Nike Company. According to VOA and Deutsche Welle, on March 11, United States Congress and Congressional-Executive Commission on China released a report that asserts forced labourers work on farms and in factories of Xinjiang. On that day, more than ten bipartisan American congressmen jointly proposedAct on Preventing Forced Labour by Uyghurs, asking the United States to prohibit the importation of products from Xinjiang. Among them, congressman Jim McGovern of Maine said that any multinational company doing business in Xinjiang or working with the Xinjiang government to transfer labourers to other regions of China should reevaluate its businesses in Xinjiang and supply chain and should find alternative solutions and sources without violating human rights; the congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey called on multinational companies to rise up against human rights violations in China. On June 17, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service ordered all ports to seize the products imported into the United States from Xinjiang Meixinfa Products Co., Ltd. in the name of “Forced Labour” and after that Newark Port in the United States seized a batch of hair accessories produced by the above company (valued at 800,000 USD). On July 1, U.S. State Department released a joint statement with the Treasury Department of United States, U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, calling on American enterprises to inspect whether their own supply chain is connected to any “forced labour”. The United States Secretary of States Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Ross subsequently voiced their support to “endorse” the statement. Presently, Nike Company has started to review its suppliers’ recruiting procedures and practices in China. In addition, based on Groupe RFI’s coverage, on June 26, 50 independent experts from the UN on human rights made a collective statement, condemning China for allegedly ignoring human rights and urging China to protect the basic freedom of its residents. In that statement, the so-called “forced labour” issue was mentioned.

Confirming the So-called “Forced Uyghur Labour” Issue Is Based on Opinions of Western Scholars and Calling on Multinational Companies to Impose Pressure on China in the Form of a “Boycott”. On March 2, Deutsche Welle interviewed Australian scholar Lei Guojun, a visiting professor from Latrobe University Australia and contributory author of the report, on the so-called “forced labour” issue, who said that “forced labour” is an extension of the so-called “re-education camp” issue and relevant enterprises have a duty of ensuring no “forced labour” exists in their supply chains. He also said a “boycott” is one means for companies to impose pressure on China. On May 21, Deutsche Welle correlated the coverage inPromoting Poor Household Labourers to Be Transferred for Employment in Xinjiang with 292,000 People Getting Jobs from Four Cities and Prefectures of South Xinjiangwith “forced labour”. It held that since that year, 292,000 people in Xinjiang have participated in the “forced labour” plan and interviewed several western scholars about it. Among those scholars, an expert on Xinjiang issues from the Ross Howman Institute of Technology in the United States pointed out that recently “forced labour” plans for Uyghurs based on age and social status started to be developed in some regions of Xinjiang. Uyghurs younger than age 30 should migrate out of Xinjiang for work; those aged 30 to 45 should go to North Xinjiang or eastern regions for work; those above age 45 should work close to their homes. A German expert on Xinjiang issues, Zheng Guowei, pointed out that although China’s CCTV covered the fact that 292,000 people had been included in a forced labour system, actually most of those Uyghurs would be sent to surrounding areas for “forced labour”. American scholar Lei Feng alleged that from China CCTV’s coverage, the Chinese government has started to turn its priority work of a re-education system from promoting ideological education to helping Uyghurs alleviate poverty through “forced labour”.

Disseminating the Fallacy of “Forced Uyghur Labour” to the International Community by Interviewing Xu Xiuzhong and Focusing on the Report Author’s Lobbying of European Countries.In March, after relevant reports were released by ASPI, the ABC Chinese and Epoch News websites covered Xu Xiuzhong’s life experience and the reason behind and procedure of turning herself into a critic from previously being a patriotic student. She was called the first Australian journalist to reveal the truth related to detained Uyghurs in China. On May 28, the magazineBitter Winterissued an article entitled Chinese Communist Party Is Speeding Up Sending Uyghurs to Inland Areas for ForcedLabour. After the concept of “Uyghurs For Sale” was elaborated on, the article disclosed that on May 19, the Green Party Chairman and Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the European Parliament Reinhard Bitikov held an online seminar. Xu Xiuzhong, James Leibold (an associate professor from the University of Melbourne) and Kelsey Munro shared their investigation results on “forced Uyghur labour”.

(2) Negative Influence on China Brought by an Australian Think Tank and Foreign Media Stirring Up the “Forced Uyghur Labour” Issue

Damaging China’s International Image.Promoting cross-region employment for Xinjiang residents by the Chinese government is a major move designed to alleviate poverty in Xinjiang, which has created good effects. Without understanding the truth, ASPI released relevant reports stigmatizing China’s poverty alleviation policy as “forced Uyghur labour” and called on the international community to impose pressure on China. Soon after that, some American congressmen proposed the Act on Preventing Forced Uyghur Labour to support and echo those reports. However, without investigation and interviews, the majority of overseas media also chose to believe those reports, claiming that “forced Uyghur labour” is an extension of “re-education camps”, and also endorsed the report by interviewing scholars and dissenters, in order to confuse the public and further mislead the opinions of many people. With slander and attacks from all corners including overseas research institutes, politicians, media, scholars, and dissenters, undoubtedly, China’s international reputation and image will be severely damaged.

2Derogation of China’s National Interests. After ASPI released the above report, the United States took many actions on “Xinjiang related issues”. For example, in March, the U.S. Congress released a report which focuses on “forced labour” and several congressmen jointly proposed theAct on Preventing Forced Uyghur Labourto ask the American government to restrict the import of products from Xinjiang. In May, the United States Department of Commerce included 33 Chinese enterprises such as Qihoo 360, Cloudwalk, FiberHome and others into its economic sanction list (officially effective since June 5) in the name of participating in monitoring Xinjiang Uyghurs and helping China military develop weapons of mass destruction. In June, American President Donald Trump signed the2020 Act on Uyghur Human Rights Protection Policyand the United States customs authorities seized a batch of Xinjiang products in the name of “forced labour”. In July, several American departments made a joint statement, calling on American enterprises to inspect their own supply chains and determine whether they are related to “forced labour”; in the name of “severely violating interests and rights of Xinjiang ethnic groups”, the Treasury Department of United States and the U.S. State Department subsequently announced major sanctions on leaders of Xinjiang such as Chen Quanguo, Zhu Hailun and Wang Mingshan or put restrictions on their visas.

In addition, the United States government and ammunition merchants stand behind the ASPI, which means the report onRe-education’, Forced Labour and Surveillance Beyond Xinjiangwill impact the United States government’s decision-making to some degree. The report suggested foreign governments should sanction China on the “forced Uyghur labour” issue and now the United States has already taken the first step. Xu Xiuzhong and others are lobbying European countries. Although the attitudes of European countries remain unclear currently, it can be determined based on a series of moves taken by the United States against China, that the “forced Uyghur labour” issue will create an adverse impact on China’s foreign relations.

Derogation of China’s Investment Environment. Regarding “forced labour”, except for suggestions to the Chinese and foreign governments, the above report also advocated some social groups and multinational companies should take action. At present, Nike Company has started to investigate its factories in China, which means that later on, except for some western countries involved in the issue, some international organizations and multinational companies also will take action and the enterprise hiring issue could possibly become a target for overseas opinions designed to attack China. In the future, if western countries and overseas media constantly slander China’s policy on governing Xinjiang and relevant enterprises in the name of “forced Uyghur labour”, China’s investment environment is likely to be affected. 

Interference with China’s Sovereignty. According to the coverage provided by the BBC Chinese website on July 10, the U.S. Treasury Department pointed out on July 9 that it would sanction the Xinjiang Autonomous Public Security Department, the secretary of Communist Party Committee, the former secretary of the Political and Legal Commission, the vice chairman of Xinjiang Government, the director and party committee secretary of Xinjiang Public Security Department, and the former party committee secretary of Xinjiang Public Security Department in the name of “severely violating the interests and rights of ethnic groups in Xinjiang”. On the same day, the U.S. Congress announced it would place sanctions and visa restrictions on major Xinjiang government leaders Chen Quanguo, Zhu Hailun and Wang Mingshan. The above three leaders and their immediate families would not be allowed into the United States. United States Secretary of State Pompeo pointed out that except for the above organizations and officers, the United States would also put visa restrictions on Communist Party members participating in seizing Uyghurs, violating their interests and rights and those of Kazakhs and other Xinjiang ethnic groups. It is known that after sanction orders come into effects, the United States will prohibit them and their entities from engaging in product and service transactions; the fund of those sanctioned as well as fund of the entities directly or indirectly held by them in the United States will be frozen. 

Undermining China’s Influence in the International Arena. With the Australian think tank’s stigmatization, slander and agitation, doubts, bias and discrimination against China have dramatically increased in the international community and a “western alliance” led by the United States has gradually formed to oppose, undermine, isolate and desinicize China, which will undoubtedly undermine China’s recognition and popularity in the international community and impede China from promoting the “Belt and Road” initiative, constructing new types international relations, participating in global governing and integrating into the world.


Conclusion

Currently, most foreign media outlets have learned about the “forced Uyghur labour” concept from the report “Uyghurs For Sale: ‘Re-education’, Forced Labour and Surveillance Beyond Xinjiang released by ASPI. They develop their related coverage by using the report as a starting point and present substantially the same opinions as those seen in the report. A few overseas scholars and dissenters criticize China mainly based on the “guilty presumption” made by the above report. Later on, if China expects to reduce threats caused by the above report, China needs to interview Uyghur workers and factory managers to specifically refute the untruthful overseas coverage in the form of stating facts; properly invite overseas journalists to visit and interview relevant factory workers and managers and expose overseas lies by revealing the truth; meanwhile, disclose ASPI’s background and its anti-China stance, and specifically refute and powerfully fight back against the slander from the United States and other western countries based on reasons and facts. In addition, China should continue to put effort into publicizing Xinjiang internationally, actively establish agendas regarding poverty alleviation, development, stability and others, actively construct the system of disseminating ideas and dynamics of Xinjiang; constantly tell Xinjiang stories, display its achievements, communicate its voices actively, positively and objectively in a way popular and enjoyable to netizens at home and abroad; promote the internationalization of Wechat and Microblog, encourage and support the public to use international social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and properly publicize Xinjiang development; make a prompt response and give sufficient, timely voices on “Xinjiang related issues” through the domestic media’s overseas editions as well as transform the mode of communicating Xinjiang related information into a multi-dimensional network from a single and linear channel, and ensure rapid and effective information communication.

Author Profile:Xie Guiping, a researcher from the Baichuan Think Tank and professor of the Western Border Security and Development Coordination and Innovation Center, Sichuan University;Zhang Huili, a Ph.D. student from the Western Border Security and Development Coordination and Innovation Center, Sichuan University



[1]Haribotti Maimattulgan. Any Slander Cannot Obliterate the Progress made on Human Rights in Xinjiang. Xinjiang Daily (Mandarin) December 7 of 2019, Edition 4.

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