‘Inferior’ girls: China counters Uighur criticism with specific PR assaults By Reuters

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© Reuters. Chinese language International Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin holds footage whereas talking throughout a information convention in Beijing

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By Cate Cadell

BEIJING (Reuters) – China, beneath rising international stress over its therapy of a Muslim minority in its far west, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive marketing campaign to push again, together with specific assaults on girls who’ve made claims of abuse.

As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a rising variety of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focussing on discrediting the feminine Uighur witnesses behind latest studies of abuse.

Chinese language officers have named girls, disclosed what they are saying is personal medical information and data on the ladies’s fertility, and accused a few of having affairs and considered one of having a sexually transmitted illness. The officers mentioned the data was proof of dangerous character, invalidating the ladies’s accounts of abuse in Xinjiang.

“To rebuke some media’s disgusting acts, we’ve taken a sequence of measures,” Xu Guixiang, the deputy head of Xinjiang’s publicity division, advised a December information convention that was a part of China’s pushback marketing campaign. It contains hours-long briefings, with footage of Xinjiang residents and members of the family studying monologues.

A Reuters evaluation of dozens of hours of shows from latest months and a whole bunch of pages of literature, in addition to interviews with specialists, exhibits a meticulous and wide-reaching marketing campaign that hints at China’s fears that it’s shedding management of the Xinjiang narrative.

“One motive that the Communist Occasion is so involved about these testimonies from girls is as a result of it undermines their preliminary premise for what they’re doing there, which is anti-terrorism”, mentioned James Millward, a professor of Chinese language historical past at Georgetown College and skilled in Xinjiang coverage.

“The truth that there are such a lot of girls within the camps … who do not have the faintest look of being violent individuals, this simply exhibits how this has nothing to do with terrorism.”

Uighurs make up a lot of the 1 million individuals {that a} United Nations estimate says have been detained in Xinjiang camps beneath what the central authorities calls a marketing campaign in opposition to terrorism. Accusations by activists and a few Western politicians embody torture, compelled labour and sterilisations.

In uncommon U.S. bipartisan settlement, the highest diplomats of the previous administration of Donald Trump and the brand new considered one of Joe Biden have known as China’s therapy of the Uighurs genocide, a stance adopted final week by the Canadian and Dutch parliaments.

China faces sanctions comparable to a ban on U.S purchases of Xinjiang cotton and tomatoes, and calls by some Western lawmakers to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Ministry of International Affairs didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday. The federal government denies accusations of abuse on the “vocational coaching centres” within the distant western area, and says claims of systematic sexual abuse are unfounded.

Beijing has rejected requires an unbiased U.N. investigation into Xinjiang’s internment program. Journalists and diplomats haven’t been permitted entry to the camps outdoors of tightly managed authorities excursions. Uighurs in Xinjiang have advised Reuters they concern reprisals for talking to press whereas in China

‘LIES AND SLANDER’

China’s tightly managed, invitation-only media occasions on Xinjiang require journalists to submit questions days or perhaps weeks upfront. They embody pre-recorded movies and ready testimony by former camp inmates and spiritual figures.

Beijing has packaged content material from the occasions in two volumes titled, “The Fact About Xinjiang: Exposing the US-Led Lies and Slanders About Xinjiang.”

In January, the Twitter account of China’s U.S. embassy was suspended for a tweet that mentioned Uighur girls had been “baby-making machines” earlier than Beijing instituted its system of camps.

“The organic, the reproductive, the gendered side of that is significantly horrifying to the world,” mentioned Georgetown’s Millward. China “appears to have recognised that… You now see them making an attempt on this clumsy approach to reply.”

Throughout an everyday each day press briefing final week, international ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin held up photographs of witnesses who had described sexual abuse in Xinjiang. The account of considered one of them, he mentioned, was “lies and rumours” as a result of she had not recounted the expertise in earlier interviews. He gave medical particulars concerning the girl’s fertility.

Xinjiang officers in January mentioned a lady who had spoken to international media had syphilis, they usually confirmed photographs of medical information – unsolicited data that was indirectly associated to her account.

A Xinjiang authorities official mentioned of one other witness final month: “Everybody is aware of about her inferior character. She’s lazy and likes consolation, her personal life is chaotic, her neighbours say that she dedicated adultery whereas in China.”

Final week, the highest spokeswoman for China’s international ministry, Hua Chunying, tweeted photographs of 4 named witnesses, saying they’d “raked their brains for lies”, including “they may by no means succeed.”

China has declined to supply information on the variety of individuals within the camps. Beijing initially denied the camps existed however now says they’re vocational and training centres and that each one the individuals have “graduated”.

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