Not content with flooding the air waves with lurid fairy tales about Chinese ‘gulags’, Hong Kong ‘freedom fighters’ and Huawei’s supposed nefarious plans to undermine the internet, British imperialism now also wants to police the content of China’s own media.
Whilst China’s state TV channel, CCTV, happily lies beyond the reach of western censorship, the London-based CGTN, China’s equivalent to the BBC’s World Service (minus the lies), has just been closed down in the UK by Ofcom, ending CGTN’s broadcasts on the Sky and Freesat platforms. (Ofcom pulls the plug on Chinese television station CGTN by Matthew Moore, The Times, 5 February)
CGTN suffered harassment from the ‘independent’ regulator Ofcom when it complained that the company that had secured CGTN’s broadcasting licence, Star China Media, did not (in Ofcom’s opinion) exercise sufficient editorial control over the content, which was instead being guided by CCTV.
When CGTN suggested a compromise solution, offering to set up another go-between company that would satisfy even Ofcom’s exacting criteria of independent control, Ofcom kept moving the goalposts. In the end, Ofcom simply asserted that CGTN was run by CCTN, CCTN was run by the Chinese state, the state was run by the Chinese Communist Party, the party was a political body … and the law forbids political bodies from holding broadcast licences. QED.
Ofcom’s childish caricature of the way in which Chinese society works and the guiding role that the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) exercises within it is beneath contempt, and could have equally been brought into service (with equal invalidity) at any point in the past. It is happening now because British and US imperialism are anxious to mould public opinion in preparation for confrontation with, and ultimately for war with, China.
Softening workers up for war
To soften up the public, it is necessary to paint China as both aggressive and expansionist abroad and a tyrannical human rights abuser at home. The mainstream western media are more than happy to keep pumping out this disinformation, owned as they mostly are by corporate interests and taking their ideological direction not from, God forbid, a ‘political body’, but from the permanent and unelected dictatorship of monopoly capital.
For Ofcom to accuse CGTN, as it does, of broadcasting one-sided coverage of the demonstrations in Hong Kong is particularly rich, given the many hours devoted in the British media to glorifying the western-backed, deluded and violent protesters as champions of freedom and democracy, with never a dissenting voice to be heard above the hubbub.
Now that most of the sound and fury over Hong Kong has died down somewhat, thanks to the firm rebuff administered by Beijing, the main thrust of the hostile propaganda is focusing on the supposed ‘genocide’ occurring in the Xinjiang province of China.
This campaign of lies and distortions hopes to reinforce the lies about China’s ‘human rights record’, something that imperialism is particularly eager to do to distract attention away from the continued detention of whistle-blower Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison for the ‘crime’ of publicising the war crimes committed by imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Imperialism has zero interest in human rights abuses, as its sponsorship of Saudi Arabia’s genocide in the Yemen and Israel’s genocide in Palestine, not to mention its own adventures in waterboarding and assassination by drone strike, amply attests. What does interest it greatly is trying to use the Xinjiang issue as a wedge to crack open the unity of China, taking advantage of the province’s strategic location to disrupt the progress of China’s Belt and Road initiative – in particular the building of an oil pipeline that could help China to avoid the threat of imperialist blockade on the Malacca strait.
Xinxiang ‘genocide’ the latest in a long line of anti-China lies
Very much has been claimed in the western media about what is happening in Xinjiang, none of which is proven. The province is home to many Uyghur Chinese, the majority of whom are getting on with their lives unaffected by the social turmoil which alone interests, and is in large part fomented by, the west.
A small minority of Uyghurs have come under the sway of islamist ideology, making them a prey to grooming by jihadi groups. In some cases this ends up with them getting recruited as terrorists, relocating to such destinations as Kazakhstan, Turkey and Syria.
The Chinese government can no more remain passive in the face of this islamist threat than can any other government. This situation has prompted Beijing to set up vocational schools to aid in the modernisation of the province, and also to counteract the baleful influence of jihadism. It is these schools that have been falsely depicted as ‘concentration camps’ in which a genocide is in full swing.
Despite the wild claims being made by the west, very little evidence is made available, and when it is forthcoming, the witnesses’ testimony is frequently inconsistent. A pattern that has been noted is that initial allegations begin relatively tamely; it is not until the witness has been taken up as a poster-child by one or other of the US-funded propaganda agencies that their testimony becomes more and more lurid.
An article on the Moon of Alabama website usefully tracks the way that the stories shift over time. For example, one witness, Saytagul Sautbay, gave a series of self-contradictory interviews over the space of several years.
“The details of her story continued to change in anti-Chinese directions. In early interviews, Sautbay claimed to have been an instructor working in a re-education camp. In later interviews, she claims to have been a detainee. In more recent interviews, she claims that she had seen torture and violence in the camps. In earlier interviews she had refuted such claims.
“In one story, she claims to have observed mass rape. In older interviews, she insisted that she had observed no violence at all. While she now claims that detainees in the camp were forced to eat pork, she had earlier claimed that no meat was served in the camps.
“The changes in her story came after Sautbay had fallen into the hands of a propaganda group.” (Why do these Uyghur witnesses’ stories constantly change?, Moon of Alabama, 4 February 2021)
For hired journalists in search of ready-cooked horror stories from alleged escapees from the ‘camps’, the US-backed World Uyghur Congress (and its string of affiliates) is an easy source of knocking copy, but none of these horror stories hold water on closer investigation.
As the article concludes: “While seeking to orchestrate a colour revolution with the aim of regime change in Beijing, the WUC and its offshoots have forged ties with the Grey Wolves, a far-right Turkish organisation that has been actively engaged in sectarian violence from Syria to east Asia.
“None of these links seem to have troubled the WUC’s sponsors in Washington. If anything, they have added to the network’s appeal, consolidating it as one of the most potent political weapons the US wields in its new cold war against China.”
Journalists who peddle this pernicious nonsense against China, whether gullibly or maliciously, are already guilty of spreading war propaganda, preparing the mass psychological shift that will be required to get the public in the right frame of mind to countenance an all-out war.