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World scholars urge UN human rights chief to resist US disinformation, deliver factual Xinjiang judgment
June 01,2022   By:Global Times
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People dance during the Saban festival of Tatar ethnic group in Tacheng, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 22, 2017. Xinjiang is a multi-ethnic region. Photo: Xinhua
 
As UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet's visit to China's Xinjiang region is coming to an end, overseas scholars, especially those who have visited the region, called on her to resist pressure from the US and anti-China forces' latest round of disinformation campaign against the region. They pointed out that the US' contradictory attitude and attack of Bachelet's visit showed it's freaking out, as the big lie of "Xinjiang genocide" is "absolutely ludicrous" and anyone with no malicious intent will have different views of Xinjiang than the US' smear the minute they step on the region.
 
At the end of her six-day official visit to China on Saturday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is scheduled to hold a news conference and issue a statement, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
 
Detailed information on where Bachelet has or will visit in Urumqi and Kashi Prefecture and who she has and will talk to is yet to be released, but the US, some Western countries and anti-China forces just can't wait to express their "concerns" over whether Bachelet will have necessary access to make a "full assessment of the rights situation" in Xinjiang. The US State Department even called her visit a "mistake."
 
However, it was the US and anti-China forces that urgently called on the UN mission to visit Xinjiang in the beginning. Such a U-turn attitude of the US government toward the UN human rights chief's visit to China raised the alarm among Chinese and overseas scholars, especially those who had visited the Xinjiang region during the past years. Some scholars from France, the US and Turkey reached by the Global Times said pressuring or attacking Bachelet will not make their lies or the "genocide" smearing on Xinjiang become real, but only exposes their malice.
 
Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University in New York and also a senior UN advisor, wrote in an email to the Global Times that he is "gratified" that Bachelet is taking this trip and "her UN mission should not be attacked or criticized by the United States Government even before the trip takes place!"
 
Issues of human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be addressed through the UN processes and "not used to raise geopolitical tensions," said Sachs, expressing hope to get a thorough report that promotes the wellbeing of the population of the Xinjiang region and enables a discussion of the issues based on facts.
 
In April 2021, Sachs and William A. Schabas, a professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, released an article to oppose the US government's anti-China rhetoric of claiming a "genocide" in its Xinjiang region, as these allegations are "unjustified" and the inappropriate use of "genocide" devalues the historical memory of genocide such as the Holocaust.
 
The US is pressuring Bachelet to act like its puppet and neglect what she sees in the region to weave the conclusion of "genocide," analysts said, pointing out that it is the US that started and continued accusing China of "genocide" and has banned all products from Xinjiang, making itself the most radical and highly isolated country in the field.
 
William Jones, the Washington Bureau Chief for the Executive Intelligence Review and non-resident senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times the "total freakout from the US State Department" about Bachelet's visit indicates its potential significance."
 
Jones noted that the US is not interested in the truth about Xinjiang, but only wants support for its big lie about Xinjiang. They earlier thought that harping on the need for a UN "investigation" would support their allegations against China, "but when a visit now occurs, they probably feel that it could very well undermine all the bogus items raised by them." 
 
"The accusation of 'genocide' in Xinjiang is absolutely ludicrous," Jones said, noting that the Uygur population is growing in Xinjiang and they are better educated and more prosperous than before.
 
"Both their [Uygur] language and their religion are well preserved and protected. Holocaust survivors should be protesting this distortion of what genocide really means - the physical destruction of a people and their culture," said Jones.
 
Michele Geraci is former undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development who has travelled freely to the Xinjiang region many times and talked to many people and found there is nothing different in Xinjiang from other parts of China.
 
The accusations of genocide in Xinjiang are not true, the former Italian official told the Global Times, adding that Bachelet's visit shows China's willingness to show the outside world what is going on in Xinjiang.
 
However, some Western countries are dancing to the tune of the US on hyping Xinjiang topics. For example, British Ambassador to China Caroline Wilson also hyped "unfettered access to Xinjiang."
 
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded at a press conference on May 24 that on the visit by the High Commissioner, the US, UK and other Western countries have put on one political farce after another.
 
They had publicly exerted pressure and vehemently demanded a visit to China's Xinjiang for the so-called "investigation" into China under the presumption of guilt, but are now going to great lengths to disrupt and undercut the outcome. They have come to criticize the visit, and set various preconditions for and obstacles to the visit.
 
"The flip-flops with self-contradictions only bring humiliation to the countries themselves. Are they really interested in human rights, or politicizing, weaponizing and instrumentalizing human rights issues?" Wang asked. 
 
Maxime Vivas, a French writer and journalist who had visited the Xinjiang region in 2016 and 2018 and wrote books to debunk fake news of some Western media, also pointed out that the tone of the French media has become "worried," claiming that Bachelet's visit in Xinjiang is a "supervised trip" and she will see what China is "going to show her" and that "she is not neutral."
 
Vivas told the Global Times this shows "they are scared. She [Bachelet] will not see organ harvesting centers, child amputees, women's sterilization hospitals, evidence of genocide and torture, banned mosques, or Uygurs forced to eat pork or other lies they made."
 
Vivas said Bachelet will see China's efforts in fighting terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.
 
Sterilization, forced labor, oppression of ethnic groups, and genocide are part of the widely spread disinformation about Xinjiang made by notorious anti-China scholars, separatists and the US-backed World Uyghur Congress and Western media in recent years, and all have been debunked by the Chinese government and the Xinjiang regional government with evidence.
 
Stand with truth
 
Will Bachelet stand with truth and not bend to the pressure from the US and disinformation? Some overseas scholars expressed their high anticipation for the UN human rights chief to make an objective view and conclusion about Xinjiang.
 
"Michelle Bachelet is as free to tell the truth as I am, but she's not going to approve of all the media-political lies of recent years … In any case, Michelle Bachelet, if she tells the truth, as I did, will have a bad time. Will she have the courage? If so, welcome to the club," said Vivas, noting that he is "relatively optimistic" about this.
 
"Simply sticking to the truth and reflecting on the truth will refute all lies," since the real Xinjiang and the one depicted by the US and Western media are "as different as day and night," said Adnan Akfirat, president of the Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association and Vatan Party representative to China. Akfirat has visited the Xinjiang region about 30 times.
 
"When a normal person with no malice goes to any part of Xinjiang, he can easily understand that The New York Times, BBC, and CNN are lying," Akfirat said, noting that the allegations made by US officials on the Xinjiang region are to distort the facts to blame China.
 
Some foreign visitors had expressed their surprise after seeing the developments in the region and many who knew about the previous severe situation on fighting terrorism also felt happy to see the fundamental changes in the region.
 
Jones said "I think just being there will give her [Bachelet] a new sense of the important things that are happening there with the local population." 
 
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Tourists play on snow tubes at Oynak ski resort in Moyu County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Jan. 9, 2022. Located on the southern brim of the Taklimakan Desert, Moyu County barely snows in winter. In order to boost its winter tourism and extend the tourism season, the county built Oynak ski resort by making artificial snow, fueling people's passion for winter sports here. (Photo: Xinhua)
 
However, it is difficult to say what her report will contain since she is "no doubt under pressure from the US" and perhaps from some at the UN to deliver a negative judgment and may "have herself some of the Western prejudices about China's system of governance."
 
"But if she retains any objectivity at all, as I have a feeling she will, I think the reality will also be expressed in her report," said Jones, expressing hope that Bachelet's report will "maintain some objectivity about the real situation in Xinjiang," as she should know the difference between repression and simply maintaining social order.
 
Aside from the US and some Western countries, anti-China forces, especially some notorious rumormongers, including Adrian Zenz and WUC, the US-backed network that seeks to split the Xinjiang region from China, have also been busy exerting pressure on the UN human rights chief by spreading disinformation.
 
On May 24, Zenz and a bunch of Western media released reports on so-called leaked police files and hyped a "shoot to kill" policy toward ethnic groups in the region. However, by reading through the files uploaded by Zenz online, experts found that Zenz had used his old tactics, including misinterpreting speeches and mixing local police anti-terrorist drills with police operations.
 
In the interview with the BBC, Zenz claimed that these files are "unredacted" and "raw." However, some netizens researched the file and caught him on the spot.
 
A netizen named Yang Weili, who downloaded the documents that Zenz uploaded online, posted screenshots of the file, whose modification records show it had been modified by many people, including Zenz and even Ilshat Kokbore, president of the Uyghur American Association (UAA) affiliated to the WUC.
 
The "new evidence" produced by Zenz and his networks are "same old lies in new garb." Jones said that these people are quite aware of "the general fact that anyone who goes to Xinjiang without ulterior intentions would come back with a very good impression."
 
However, even after Bachelet's visit to the Xinjiang region, the lies about it "will no doubt continue" since the underlying purpose is to "undermine and discredit China," said Jones.
 
"But that is not always the case. If reality becomes more and more manifest, with more visitors to Xinjiang, more coverage of life there, and more Uygurs active in the sciences and social sciences in China, the 'liars' then begin to be seen as obsessed individuals who would best be served by a visit to a good psychiatrist," said Jones.