How Xinjiang is misunderstood

Children have fun on Dove Lane in Hotan City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Sadat)

  Children have fun on Dove Lane in Hotan City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 27, 2020. (Xinhua/Sadat)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — While people in Xinjiang live in growing peace and security, some ill-minded Western politicians and fact-distorting journalists, some of whom have never set foot in China, are engineering a bizarre story of “genocide” in the region, including most recently Canada.

While the Chinese government and the Uygur people themselves have tried to shed light on what’s happening on the ground, some in the West refuse to listen, adamant in their twisted beliefs of mass killings and rape, which are baseless fabrications.

They pass legislation, create fake news, and put aside all the ethics and values they claim to uphold, choosing instead to live in delusion.


Veteran Canadian Chinese reporter Hu Xian has felt the urge to write a truth-telling story given her anger and shock at the groundless “genocide” accusations made by a few Western countries, including Canada, against China.

“I have travelled extensively in Xinjiang, I have many Uygur friends, and I feel I am in a better position to tell what is true with people’s lives there than those who voted in (Canada’s) House of Commons (on a Xinjiang-related motion),” Hu, editor-in-chief of Montreal-based Symbiosis International Media, said Wednesday in an article “Uygurs in My Eyes” published on her webpage.

Canada’s parliament on Monday passed a non-binding motion accusing China of committing “genocide” in Xinjiang.

“The Uygur friends I know all feel very happy now. The cities and villages there are safe and secure, life is peaceful and full of hope,” said Hu, who is originally from Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County, Northern Xinjiang. Xibe, like Uygur, is among one of China’s 56 ethnic groups.

Hu said that a friend sent her an article titled “What will Urumqi (the Xinjiang capital) look like in three years? Beyond your imagination! You won’t regret living in the city.”

“I can feel his excitement across the screen! Some people say that China has committed ‘genocide’ against the Uygurs? Nonsense!” said Hu, who shared the story on both her webpage and WeChat moments.

The so-called “genocide” accusation against China stemmed from a single source: a paper by German far-right ideologue Adrian Zenz in June 2020, according to an investigative report by the independent news website Grayzone.

Portrayed as a “China scholar” by Western media, Zenz is a far-right Christian fundamentalist currently serving as an analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, a neoconservative think tank in Washington.

“A careful review of Zenz’s research shows that his assertion of genocide is contradicted by flagrant data abuse, fraudulent claims, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations,” said the report.

Zenz defamed the expansion of public healthcare services in Xinjiang as evidence of a genocide, said the report. For example, he pointed to a photograph of Uygur residents of rural regions of Xinjiang receiving a medical consultation at a free health clinic as part of an “effort to enforce the thorough implementation of increasing intrusive birth control efforts.”

Zenz has also invented statistics and spun tales to justify his false conclusion, according to the report, which also criticized “mainstream Western outlets like the AP, BBC and CNN” for having “accepted Zenz’s dubious research as absolute fact,” with “their apparent zeal for escalation with China.”

Westerners, including Americans, must update their views of today’s China, a modern, progressive society following decades of reform and opening up, said Josh Selig, founder and president of China Bridge Content, a New York and Beijing-based content and consulting firm, in an interview with Xinhua.

“I was seeing and hearing a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about China and for me, and for anybody who spent time in China, it’s very sad to hear when people don’t understand the real China,” said Selig, who has received 12 Emmy Awards.

“They don’t know what’s really going on, and they get their information usually through social media or through some press outlets, but they don’t have a full picture.”


A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, on Wednesday condemned the Canadian parliament for passing the Xinjiang-related motion accusing China of genocide, saying it has seriously distorted facts and wantonly meddled in China’s domestic affairs.

Beijing refuted a similar groundless accusation made by the former U.S. administration of Donald Trump on Jan. 19, one day before president Joe Biden was inaugurated as the country’s new president.

The claims were made against Xinjiang despite the State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor concluding after a review that there was no sufficient evidence to prove accusations of genocide, according to a recent report by Foreign Policy.

“The fact is, in the last four decades or so, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has more than doubled,” said Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai in an interview with Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN in response to a question on Xinjiang. “From the year 2010 to 2018 alone, the Uygur population growth in Xinjiang was 25 percent, much higher than the average growth rate in the entire Xinjiang Region. These are facts.”

In the last few years, China has focused on two major tasks in Xinjiang — eradication of terrorism and elimination of poverty, Cui said. “Now, for the last three to four years, there has been no single case of terrorist attack. So people have a much better sense of security and safety now.”

Some Western media outlets “bear an important responsibility in adding to the negativity excessively and unfortunately in U.S.-China ties,” Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, told Xinhua.

“It is unfortunate that a lot of very prestigious news organizations in the West on China are no longer news organizations, they have become advocacy organizations,” said Gupta.

Gupta expressed hope that the Western media could “take a more responsible approach” and be “more factually accurate.”

“I always tell people, you have to judge for yourself through personal experience,” Selig said. “This is the only way to get rid of any misconceptions and any biases that might exist.”

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