Reality vs. Propaganda: a First Hand Report from Xinjiang
Christine Bierre, editor-in-chief of Nouvelle Solidarité, the monthly magazine of France’s Solidarité & Progrès party, was part of a delegation of four experienced investigators that made a study trip to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, from August 18 to 22. Their purpose was to see for themselves what, if any, truth there is to the usual accusations on this region peddled by Western politicians and media, namely that Beijing is carrying out “genocide” against the Uyghurs, forcing them by the millions into concentration camps, prohibiting the use of their own language, banning their cultural and religious practices, and employing them in slave labor. Christine Bierre’s finding: “everything we saw on our trip belies these accusations”.
In an article to be published this week in EIR magazine, she observes that “Xinjiang has quickly developed” once it was able to repel the “strategy of terror” carried out since the 1990s by certain circles in the West. That war is being won thanks to the dual strategy adopted by China: repression of the hard-core terrorist extremists but providing a strong alternative of economic development for minor delinquents who wish to be integrated into society.
In discussions with officials in the capital, Urumqi, whom the delegation met, “we also learned that this region with great potential – fertile farm land (rice, wheat, corn, tomatoes and cotton) and large mineral wealth (22% and 28% of oil and natural gas reserves, as well as coal and poly-silicon, indispensable for the manufacture of solar panels) – is also an increasingly important crossroads for trade with the countries of Central Asia.”
The delegation’s visit began at the market of Kashgar, a region inhabited mainly by Uyghurs (90%) . Despite being past midnight, many people were leisurely doing their shopping, with hardly any security in sight. The propaganda claims that the market was “leveled to the ground” in order to wipe out Uyghur culture, but in fact, “it has been renovated in the same style as the former market and all kinds of Uyghur goods are on sale there”, Christine Bierre writes.
The next stop was in Payzawat county, where a major water catchment project has made it possible to provide running water to homes in nearly all the rural villages of southern Xinjiang. In the past, the inhabitants had to go by donkey to draw water from reservoir dams or in the mountains.
“We then flew to the capital, Urumqi, and off to one of what Western propaganda describes as the main ‘slave labor camps for Uyghurs’, the cotton fields of Shihezi… We found no slave labor.” Here as elsewhere in Xinjiang, Christine Bierre explains, cotton production is 95% mechanized, “thanks to drip irrigation and fertilizer and pesticide spreading techniques, and the use of satellites for sowing and picking cotton”.
As for the supposed attacks on Uyghur culture, the Chinese government has long supported such efforts as the Xinjiang « Muqam theater », a series of 12 compositions made of ballads, melodies and dances, both popular and classical. The theater maintains a permanent troop of hundreds of artists.
On the question of faith, while “Communist China fought against religions in the beginning, since Deng Xiao Ping in particular took power, the populations are free to choose the rite they follow… Well over 100 million people practice Buddhism, Christianity and Islam in China today.” As long as religions do not become instruments of political destabilization, they not only are not restricted but are provided with material support to carry out their mission.
The full article will soon be available, in English translation, here.