by Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook:
As part of a larger, concerted effort to encircle and contain China, an ongoing disinformation campaign has been waged by the Western media against Beijing’s massive global infrastructure building spree known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A recent and particularly appalling example of this comes from a Business Insider article titled, “This map shows a trillion-dollar reason why China is oppressing more than a million Muslims.”
The article has been widely circulated by the Western-funded fronts cited in the article itself, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) whose executive director – Kenneth Roth – would claim in a social media post:
China’s mass detention of Uighur Muslims is driven [not] only by Islamophobia but also by the centrality of their Xinjiang region to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Claims that Chinese policy is “driven by Islamophobia” are particularly absurd. China’s closest ally and partner in the region is Pakistan – an undoubtedly Muslim-majority nation. Roth never explains why the BRI’s “centrality” would drive “mass detentions” in Xinjiang when Chinese infrastructure projects elsewhere – both within China and abroad – including across Muslim-majority Pakistan – do not feature nor necessitate such “detentions.”
Something is clearly missing from the Business Insider’s, Human Rights Watch’s, and the rest of the Western media’s Xinjiang narrative.The Business Insider article claims:
Beijing has been cracking down on Uighur life in on Xinjiang. Officials say its repression is a necessary counter-terror operation, but experts say it’s actually to protect their BRI projects.
These “experts” never explain why Beijing officials would feel the need to “protect their BRI projects.” Nor do they explain from whom they need protection. The obvious explanation is in fact that – as Beijing has stated – Xinjiang faces a significant terrorist threat.
A minority among Xinjiang’s Uyghur population has undoubtedly been radicalized and has carried out scores of high-profile terrorist attacks across not only Xinjiang, but across all of China in recent years.
A Reuters article published by Business Insider in 2014 titled, “Knife-Wielding Attackers In Chinese Train Station Leave 27 Dead, 109 Injured,” details just one of many attacks carried out by Uyghur extremists.
A 2015 Reuters article also published by Business Insider confirms that the attackers were in fact Uyghur terrorists. The train station located in Kunming is over 2,000 miles from the Xinjiang region – illustrating the reach of the terrorist threat Beijing is dealing with.
Despite these previous – well-known admissions – published by Business Insider itself – the media platform as well as many others, alongside fronts like HRW unashamedly feign ignorance over China’s very real security concerns in Xijiang today.
Western Propaganda Inverts Reality
The Business Insider article claims:
China’s government has for years blamed the Uighurs for a terror, and say they saying the group is importing Islamic extremism in Central Asia.
But there’s another reason why Beijing wants to clamp down on Uighurs in Xinjiang: The region is home to some of the most important elements of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s flagship trade project.
Here – Business Insider deliberately inverts cause and effect – claiming China is cracking down on Uyghurs simply because vital segments of its BRI project pass through Xinjiang – instead of cracking down because of very real terrorism threatening an obviously essential economic corridor.
And as Business Insider’s own map reveals, China’s BRI passes through many other regions inside China and beyond – including regions dominated by Muslim communities absent of similar tensions.
Uyghur Terrorism is Real
It is clear that Business Insider, HRW, and others are deliberately mischaracterizing China’s policies in Xinjiang and misrepresenting the root cause of Uyghur extremism. But even the article itself admits a very real security threat, stating:
China has accused militant Uighurs of being terrorists and inciting violence across the country since at least the early 2000s, as many Uighur separatists left China for places like Afghanistan and Syria to become fighters.
US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America (VOA) in an article titled, “Analysts: Uighur Jihadis in Syria Could Pose Threat,” would admit (emphasis added):
Analysts are warning that the jihadi group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) in northwestern Syria could pose a danger to Syria’s volatile Idlib province, where efforts continue to keep a fragile Turkey-Russia-brokered cease-fire between Syrian regime forces and the various rebel groups.
The TIP declared an Islamic emirate in Idlib in late November and has largely remained off the radar of authorities and the media thanks to its low profile. Founded in 2008 in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang, the TIP has been one of the major extremist groups in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in the country in 2011.
The TIP is primarily made up of Uighur Muslims from China, but in recent years it also has included other jihadi fighters within its ranks.
The article also admits that up to 3,000 militants may have fought for TIP in Syria and warned of the possibility that these militants might transfer their fighting skills back to China.
Such admissions – even from official US state media operations – help expose the current disinformation campaign targeting Beijing for supposed “repression,” and means that Western special interests – including the US government itself – are at the very least undermining China’s legitimate counter-terrorism efforts.
US is Intentionally Fomenting Violence in Xinjiang to Disrupt the BRI
But clues even in Business Insider’s own article reveal US support for undermining Chinese internal security goes far beyond mere disinformation.
Among the “experts” Business Insider cites includes Rushan Abbas described by the article as a “Uyghur activist in Virginia.”