Pacific Dialogue
How claims of Uygur "genocide" might stir up panic
By Liang Xiao  ·  2021-04-14  ·   Source: NO.15 APRIL 15, 2021

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said in praise of his successor, "Secretary [Antony] Blinken has spoken about the genocide that's taking place in western China. I applaud him for building on what I tried to do. I hope that he can do even better than we did." This meant to imply that Pompeo himself was the original architect behind the current wave of anti-China propaganda warfare. It is he who has left behind a political legacy for the new Democratic administration to further develop: molding the narrative of the Communist Party of China (CPC) into a 21st century Nazi-styled address with the China-U.S. ideological conflict serving as the seemingly incarnated battle between good and evil. 

The kind of analogy is meant to pit the Chinese people against their government by creating the impression that the "evil" CPC is oppressing the "kind" people of China, and associating the CPC with Germany's former Nazi Party to taint China's image globally.

The first step of the new propaganda strategy is to impute Nazi atrocities such as genocide to the CPC. The term "genocide" is decidedly linked with the German Nazi Party during the 1930s and 40s. In December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Referring to the Nazi atrocities that took place during World War II (WWII), the convention defined genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." 

Before his departure as secretary of state, Pompeo delivered a long diplomatic statement accusing the CPC of "genocide." The accusations, based on made-up stories and one-sided information, included the alleged arbitrary detention of over 1 million Uygurs (the number is conveniently the same as the number of Jews murdered by Nazi Germany), torture, forced labor, compulsory sterilization and abortion practices, and separating Uygur children from their families in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The current U.S. administration paints the Uygur ethnic group as Jews during WWII in an effort to evoke the West's recollection of the Nazi regime, thus converting their memory into a deep-rooted fear for China.

Even though U.S. State Department lawyers have concluded there's no evidence to prove "genocide" in Xinjiang, politicians and media press on.

Against this backdrop, the international community, the European allies of the U.S. in particular, will be weighed down by moral burdens and social pressures if they want to cooperate with China in terms of cultural exchange, economy and trade. They would feel a "moral obligation" to distance themselves from China.

The U.S. considers China as posing a challenge to the U.S. global dominance. President Joe Biden said explicitly on March 25 that he doesn't agree with China's goal of becoming the leading, wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, despite the fact that China has never used such superlatives in defining its goals.

President Biden and Secretary Blinken have both mentioned they will take a multilateral approach, or in their words, to invite "an alliance of democracies."

If the CPC is labeled a "Nazi" regime, the U.S. could easily rally its allies and other countries to join its efforts to contain China. The Nazis were not only notorious for committing grave domestic atrocities, but also waged war onto some 30 nations across the globe. That "whether or not China will wage a new world war" thinking could potentially stir up panic among China's neighboring countries. These countries would then perhaps seek protection from the U.S. and the latter could subsequently profiteer both on the political and economic levels.

If this plot proved effective, China would be isolated from the international community with its development thus suffering severe setbacks. Is China prepared for this type of propaganda warfare? Perhaps not, but it should be.

(Print Edition Title: The U.S. Propaganda Warfare Against China)  

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon 

Comments to liuyunyun@bjreview.com 

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