Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

We are pleased to republish below a valuable article by Arjae Red, a union activist and Workers World Party leader, on the attempts by the imperialist media to misdirect pro-Palestinian sentiments on the left towards an anti-China narrative based on slanders about the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Arjae observes that Western propagandists are “making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party.” He points out that, however, not a single government in a majority-Muslim country has backed these slanders against China, whereas they do unequivocally condemn Israel’s genocidal acts.

The article explores the national question as it relates to both situations. The US views Palestine as a “strategic staging ground for US military and economic domination of West Asia”, and the Palestinian people as “an obstacle in the way of the accumulation of superprofits”. This provides the clear context for the sustained national oppression of the Palestinians. The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded “as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism.” From the beginning, the PRC has promoted the rights and cultures of minority nationalities. Indeed, “the Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”

Comparing the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians with the Chinese state’s treatment of Uyghurs, the difference could hardly be starker. While Palestinians experience blockade, occupation, siege, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and bombardment, “Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities… Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport.”

Arjae further notes that the US-led sanctions over Xinjiang have a dual purpose: to disrupt Xinjiang’s integration into the Belt and Road Initiative; and to cause economic hardship and discontent among the local population.

The author concludes with two key slogans of our time: “Free Palestine from the river to the sea! US hands off China!”

This article was originally published in Workers World on 16 January 2024.

The movement in the U.S. supporting Palestinian national liberation has drawn truly massive numbers of people in action. On Jan. 13, for example, a reported 400,000 people marched on the White House, marking the largest pro-Palestine demonstration in U.S. history.

To counter this growing outpouring of support for Palestine in the center of world imperialism, Western propagandists are trying to misdirect the popular outrage towards People’s China. They are trying to revive the discredited “Uyghur genocide” narrative, making bogus comparisons between the Israeli settler regime’s treatment of Palestinians and the treatment of Uyghur people by the Chinese government and Communist Party. A closer look at each situation reveals enormous differences.  

Who do we believe? 

The intense propaganda charging “Uyghur genocide,” starting in 2016, saturated the U.S. corporate media, quoting statements by U.S.-funded NGOs and U.S. politicians. The statements aimed to slam through heavy sanctions against China.

Following a fact-finding trip to the region, however, a 2019 delegation from the Council of Foreign Ministers — a key decision-making body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — endorsed and commended China’s treatment of its Muslim citizens (hongkongfp.com, March 3, 2019). With 57 member states, the OIC is one of the largest intergovernmental bodies in the world.

A week after our trip to Xinjiang last year, a large delegation from the League of Arab States, including top official representatives from more than 16 Arab/Muslim countries, visited Xinjiang. In a June 2023 press statement, the delegation praised “the social harmony, economic development, people of all ethnic groups living in harmony in Xinjiang and accelerated progress.” They urged caution toward “international forces who smear and even demonize Xinjiang.”

No governments in majority-Muslim countries support the U.S. charge of “genocide” of a Muslim minority population in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, these governments publicly criticize U.S.-supported Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Multinational workers’ state vs. Zionist settler colony

Central to the comparison is a class analysis of the social foundation of the states of Israel and the People’s Republic of China. Like the United States, Israel was founded as a settler colony, built upon the slaughter and forced removal of Indigenous peoples, theft of their lands and the settlement of a majority European population. 

U.S. strategists viewed the Israeli state on Palestine’s land mainly as a strategic staging ground for U.S. military and economic domination of West Asia, and thus as a major contributor to the profits of the world imperialist ruling class. They saw Palestinians as an obstacle in the way of their accumulation of these superprofits. To accomplish this conquest, the Israeli state has threatened to appropriate or erase every vestige of Palestinian culture, including Palestine’s history and food.

Israel as a state is thoroughly exploitative, extractive, and oppressive to the core. The state and the settler population, if it subscribes to Zionist ideology, serve the ends of the global imperialist ruling class.

The People’s Republic of China, on the other hand, was founded as a multinational workers’ state, forged through the overthrow of feudal and capitalist ruling classes and by ousting parasitic forces, such as Japanese and British imperialism. The Chinese Revolution established a state based on the political rule of an alliance between the workers, peasants and other progressive classes, led by the Communist Party. 

The Chinese People’s Republic inscribed into its political framework regional autonomy for formerly oppressed nationalities, like the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Historic Uyghur cities, such as Ürümqi, which had been renamed “Dihua” (meaning “to civilize”) following a 1755 Qing Dynasty invasion, regained their original Uyghur names. 

Uyghur culture is widespread and celebrated in today’s China, which includes teaching the Uyghur language, as well as the languages of other ethnic populations in the region, in public schools. Before the Chinese Revolution, these languages were suppressed.

The People’s Republic is thoroughly multinational, based on the political rule of the working class and guided by the Communist Party. Its public goals involve developing a socialist economy and maintaining social harmony between ethnicities. 

Israel destroys, China builds

Videos abound of the unmitigated destruction of Gaza by Israeli Occupation Forces. The IOF have bombed and bulldozed entire city blocks to dirt and rubble, razing homes, hospitals and schools. 

Over decades, Israel has kept Gaza under a brutal blockade and crushed Palestinian businesses. Now the attacks have left the population without food, water, medicine and electricity.

Rather than destruction and extraction in Xinjiang, Beijing’s policies promote development. Major infrastructure projects have built housing, schools, hospitals and high-speed public transport. These projects outdo anything U.S. business or government projects have done on U.S. territory. 

Uyghur and other ethnic minorities enjoy government grants and other affirmative action programs in education and job opportunities, which enable them to establish their own thriving businesses and fully participate in the vibrant Chinese economy. All of this has gradually reduced the wealth and development gap between the western Xinjiang region and the eastern coastal region of China, where, historically, all of the heavy industry was concentrated. 

Xinjiang experiences no economic blockade except what U.S. policies impose. The Chinese government ensures that the basic needs of the people are met. During the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, Communist Party organizations delivered food and other supplies to Uyghur communities.

Continue reading Dismantling Western hypocrisy on Xinjiang and Gaza

Dee Knight: Eyewitness Xinjiang

We are pleased to republish below the second of Dee Knight’s reports from his recent visit to China (we posted the first instalment last week).

This article focuses specifically on the trips to Xinjiang’s two largest cities – Urumqi and Kashgar – where the group aimed to deepen their understanding of the region, particularly in light of the slanderous accusations routinely hurled by the Western media about putative human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim population.

Describing the group’s trip to Urumqi’s main bazaar, Dee observes that Uyghurs and Han Chinese can be seen “mixing, mingling and melding nonchalantly while shopping and doing business.” Meanwhile, contrary to the claims of cultural genocide, “street signs and advertisements typically appeared in both Chinese characters and Uyghur script.”

Dee addresses the claim that the Chinese government uses ‘concentration camps’ to indoctrinate Uyghurs and to destroy their cultural identity. He explains: “Such facilities were set up by the government to provide under-employed Uyghurs with vocational skills, recreational activities, medical services and other benefits. Most have included dormitories, where people who lived far from the center could stay during the week, and return home on weekends.” He describes meeting a 21-year-old Uyghur woman “who spoke near-perfect English” which she had learned precisely in one of these supposed ‘concentration camps’. “The training gave her the skill she needs to earn a living in the bazaar, where other members of her family also work.”

The author further discusses China’s policy in relation to minorities and religion, and notes that none of the accusations levelled at China about suppression of religious freedoms in Xinjiang are borne out by either statistics or observation. The Uyghur birth rate has been steadily rising at a far faster rate than that of Han Chinese; Uyghur life expectancy has increased from 31 years in 1949 to 72 currently; Xinjiang, like the rest of China, enjoys near-100 percent literacy; and there are a huge number of mosques in Xinjiang, which are very well maintained.

Dee concludes:

More westerners need to come and see for themselves. That may be the best way to disprove the official government and media slanders. It could also help to build people-to-people friendship. We found nothing but friendliness everywhere we visited. People were pleased when we tried to communicate in Chinese, and also pleasant and patient to communicate with us however possible. The Chinese people are definitely not our enemy, and their government is doing a very good job serving and protecting them. It really is time for the US government to try harder to make friends with China, and help forge common prosperity and a shared future.

Dee Knight is a veteran of the US peace and socialist movements, and is a member of the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and of the Friends of Socialist China advisory group.

This article was first published in LA Progressive on 19 November 2023.

As US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping prepare to meet this week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in San Francisco, the question arises whether Biden will pull back from spurious claims of “genocide” and “forced labor” against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang, China’s economically dynamic far western province.

Xinjiang, China’s far western province, has borders with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. It is China’s Belt and Road portal to all these countries.

On a ten-day visit to China in early November with the theme that “China Is Not Our Enemy,” I had an opportunity to visit Xinjiang’s two major cities – Urumqi and Kashgar – hoping to see the situation up close. There have been horrific claims by US officials and the mainstream media of severe repression of Xinjiang’s Muslim Uyghur population. While these claims have recently been “walked back,” or reduced to claims of “cultural genocide” according to a YouTube report by Cyrus Janssen, our delegation wanted to see for ourselves. (The “cultural genocide” claim relates to the fact that Mandarin Chinese is a required subject in Xinjiang’s schools, while the Uyghur language is an elective.)

Xinjiang’s Surprises

No matter what you might expect from Xinjiang, it’s full of surprises – mostly very pleasant. After a five-hour flight from Beijing, Urumqi, the capital, appears like a valley oasis emerging as the rugged and craggy (and very high) Tianshan mountains loom nearby. This city of 4 million (of whom over half are Uyghurs and smaller percentages are Hui and Khazak), is a market center serving as a portal to Central Asia on the western edge of China’s famous Belt and Road. It buzzes with activity, especially near the wholesale markets where traders come to order all kinds of consumer products from everywhere, but mainly either from local artisans or from China’s manufacturing centers in the east and southeast of the country. We took advantage of wholesale prices to get a coat and hat suitable for the chilly autumn weather, and an extra piece of luggage to manage our tourist acquisitions.

China’s State Council on October 31 announced a plan to build a Xinjiang Free Trade Zone, including the regional capital of Urumqi, Kashgar prefecture and Horgos. It is the first such zone in China’s northwest border region and the 22nd pilot Free Trade Zone in China.

While shopping for beautiful silk scarves in the main bazaar, we were served by a 21-year-old Uyghur woman who spoke near-perfect English. She told us she learned it in a 10-month course in a government-sponsored training center. The training gave her the skill she needs to earn a living in the bazaar, where other members of her family also work.

Continue reading Dee Knight: Eyewitness Xinjiang

U.S. media narrative on Xinjiang attempts to ingrain hostility toward China

This article by Sara Flounders, originally published in Global Times and reprinted by Workers World, connects the dots between the US’s military-industrial complex and the ongoing slander campaign concerning alleged human rights abuses in China’s western province of Xinjiang.

Sara writes that the huge, complex and powerful corporate media web – which “seeps into every area of conscious life” – is “intermeshed with the top US military corporations.” These in turn “are also privately owned capitalist corporations. Their survival is based on enormous, government subsidized military contracts. Military corporations make the highest rate of profit with the highest returns to stockholders.” Sara continues: “The media’s task is to sell war and to justify war,” in this instance the New Cold War and the escalating campaign of China encirclement.

Noting that “no Muslim country has ever backed up the charges of genocide in Xinjiang”, Sara points out that numerous delegations from Muslim-majority countries – as well as the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – have sent delegations to Xinjiang in recent months and have “praised the Chinese government’s policies and the harmonious relations and respect for the religion and culture of the people that they observed.”

Seeing China’s rise as a threat to its global hegemony, and furthermore “attempting to deflect attention away from the massively destructive US wars against Muslim people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria”, the US is issuing baseless slanders against China. Our movements must understand, reject and expose this cynical propaganda.

A recent nine-day visit to Xinjiang in September 2023 by 22 foreign journalists from 17 overseas media organizations reported favorably on the vibrant local economy and China’s efforts to preserve the local traditional and diverse cultures.

Instead of ending the flood of lies in the U.S. media about Xinjiang, a U.S. State Department agency, the Global Engagement Center, attacked this fact-finding visit, the visiting journalists and also China. This U.S. agency released a 58-page report warning that China’s information campaign on Xinjiang “could sway public opinion and undermine U.S. interests.” The U.S. corporate media dutifully picked up the report and spread it. 

An [Associated Press] news story, “The U.S. warns of a Chinese global disinformation campaign that could undermine peace and stability,” used quotes from other government-funded organizations to reinforce its lies. This included Freedom House, which is 90% funded by U.S. federal grants. 

The antiwar movement in the U.S. is aware of the media’s role. At a recent rally in front of CNN News followed by a march through busy Times Square to the New York Times media conglomerate, the resounding chant was: “Corporate media, we can’t take lies anymore! Stop your drumbeat for war!” This reflected the growing rage at the role of the largest media conglomerates in promoting militarism and racism. 

The Big Lie

“Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.” This comment, attributed to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, is obvious in how news coverage in the U.S. is organized today. Sometimes this leads even well-meaning people astray. They might say that, “I’ve heard so often that there is slave labor and genocide of the Uygur Muslim people in Xinjiang, so it must be true.”

I’ve held a series of talks and interviews with different audiences describing the diversity of cultures, modern cities and new farming techniques in Xinjiang, which I visited this May. My comments were greeted with a mixture of interest, curiosity and a frustrated suspicion from the U.S. media, which have continually lied in the past and demonized a targeted country to justify each war.

Continue reading U.S. media narrative on Xinjiang attempts to ingrain hostility toward China

Pakistani, Kazakh and Nepalese leaders conclude successful China visits

Pakistan Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev concluded their recent visits to China, to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, with visits to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, prior to their returning home. Both leaders met with Ma Xingrui, a Political Bureau member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee as well as party secretary for the autonomous region.

The Pakistan Prime Minister offered the Friday prayers at the historic Hang Yang Grand Bazaar Mosque in Urumqi and prayed for the progress and prosperity of the country as well as the Muslim Ummah. He specially prayed for the oppressed people of Gaza and for their deliverance from suffering. Kakar also addressed students and faculty at Xinjiang University in Urumqi, saying:

“In Pakistan, we say a good neighbour is a treasure. In this regard, we are very fortunate to have China as a good brother, good neighbour, good partner, and good friend.”

In his discussions, Kazakh President Tokayev focused on the economic ties between the four border regions of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang. The share of Xinjiang exceeds 40% of the total trade volume between Kazakhstan and China. In six months this year, the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Xinjiang increased by 87%, reaching US$8.5 billion, he noted.

“We will encourage Kazakh tourists to travel to China to explore natural beauty and your achievements in socio-economic development,” he said, adding:

“Since ancient times, Xinjiang has been famous for its substantial cultural development. Local creative teams deservedly enjoy international recognition. We support the full development of creative exchanges and mutual tours, which will undoubtedly help strengthen the ties of good neighbourliness and friendship.”

These visits underscore the growing importance attached by China to both neighbourhood and subnational diplomacy. They also highlight the fact that the leaders of neighbouring countries reject the western propaganda falsely alleging religious persecution and denial of national rights in China’s border regions.

In similar vein, Nepalese Prime Minister Prachanda concluded his eight-day official visit to China in September, which began with attending the opening of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, with a visit to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, also known as Xizang. After visits to the ancient Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in the capital Lhasa, Prachanda visited visited Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake, which are considered holy by Hindus. He told the Nepali national news agency RSS that provisions would be made for pilgrims and tourists from Nepal, India and other countries to visit Kailash and Manasarovar through the Nepali route. 

The following articles were originally published by the Pakistani newspaper The News, Kazakhstan’s Astana Times and the Press Trust of India (PTI, reprinted by various Indian newspapers).

PM in rare visit to Xinjiang in China

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Friday departed for Pakistan on the completion of his five-day visit to China. At the Urumqi International Airport, the prime minister was seen off by the Standing Member of Communist Party of China Illizat Ahmetjan, and senior officers of the Chinese government and Pakistan’s Embassy. On the last leg of the visit, the prime minister visited Urumqi and met Member Politburo of CPC’s Central Committee Ma Xingrui, besides addressing the students at Xinjiang University.

The prime minister offered the Friday prayers at the historic Hang Yang Grand Bazaar Mosque in Urumqi and prayed for the progress and prosperity of the country as well as the Muslim Ummah. He specially prayed for the oppressed people of Gaza and for their deliverance from suffering. Kakar also addressed students and faculty at Xinjiang University in Urumqi.

“In Pakistan, we say a good neighbor is a treasure. In this regard, we are very fortunate to have China as a good brother, good neighbor, good partner, and good friend.

Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping has extended support to Pakistan and urged a secure environment for Chinese institutions and personnel.

During a meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on the sidelines of the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Thursday, Xi said, “It is hoped that Pakistan will ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel in Pakistan.” The longtime allies reaffirmed their “unwavering” partnership, vowing to further strengthen strategic communication and bilateral cooperation, reports the international media.

Continue reading Pakistani, Kazakh and Nepalese leaders conclude successful China visits

Western powers hypocritical in smearing China on Xinjiang but neglecting Palestinians’ suffering

On 18 October 2023, the UK ambassador to the UN, James Kariuki, read a joint statement about putative human rights violations in Xinjiang at the Third Committee of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The statement – which was signed by Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Marshall Islands, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu, Ukraine, the US and UK – repeated the various now-familiar tropes about the treatment of Xinjiang’s Uyghur population: “arbitrary detention and systematic use of invasive surveillance on the basis of religion and ethnicity”, forced labour, forced sterilisation and more.

At the same session, Pakistan, on behalf of 72 countries, made a statement explicitly supporting China’s position on Xinjiang-, Hong Kong- and Tibet-related issues, strongly opposing the politicisation of human rights, double standards, and interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.

Meanwhile Venezuela, on behalf of 19 members of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, made a joint statement to support China’s position and to fiercely criticise the Western powers’ outrageous double standards in the field of human rights, racial discrimination and unilateral coercive measures.

The following article, originally carried in Global Times on 19 October, summarises ambassador Zhang Jun’s contribution to the session, in which he resolutely rebuffs the slanders thrown by the imperialist countries and their hangers-on. Observing that the whole narrative around Xinjiang is aimed entirely at weakening and maligning China, Zhang noted the astounding irony of accusing China of anti-Muslim discrimination at a time when Gaza is facing a ferocious assault and the same countries throwing accusations at China are at the same time impeding a ceasefire in the Middle East.

Zhang further addressed the rise in racism and Islamophobia in the Western world:

It is the UK that has seen a rise in racism in recent years. It is the US that is known for committing genocide against Native Americans. Its hypocrisy and double standards on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have also aroused anger among Muslims worldwide. It is some European countries that, under the guise of freedom of speech, condone the desecration of Koran and fuel Islamophobia. The list goes on and on! Your hypocrisy, darkness, and evil are the biggest obstacles to the progress of the international human rights cause.

With the countries of the Global South, including the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries, showing their support for China, it’s abundantly clear that “the political plot to destabilize Xinjiang and contain China has long been seen through by the world and has already completely failed”.

China strongly opposed the US, UK, and a small number of other nations’ attempts to misuse the UN platform to incite conflict and baselessly defame China after they groundlessly blamed China on topics related to the country’s Xinjiang region at a session of the UN General Assembly. Analysts said that the world has once again witnessed the hypocrisy and political motivations of the US and some other Western nations as they claim to “care about” Muslims in China’s Xinjiang area, who live peacefually, while turning a blind eye to the pain of the people in Gaza.

On Wednesday, James Kariuki, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, represented some countries and delivered a joint statement at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, in which they alleged China has “violated” human rights of Muslims minorities in the country’s Xinjiang region. 

Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations,  strongly refuted these accusations and stated that the bad habits of a few countries like the UK and the US remain unchanged, as they once again abused the Third Committee of the General Assembly to provoke confrontation and groundlessly accuse China, which China firmly opposes and strongly rejects.

“I want to seriously tell a few countries like the UK and the US that the various lies and deceptions about Xinjiang cannot deceive the world. Currently, Xinjiang enjoys social stability and harmony, economic prosperity and development, and religious harmony. These are basic facts that any unbiased person can see clearly,” Zhang said. 

No matter what political performance the US, UK and some countries put on or how desperately they try to rally other countries, their political plot to destabilize Xinjiang and contain China has long been seen through by the world and has already completely failed, said Zhang. 

While refuting lies about China’s Xinjiang region, Ambassador Zhang also warned that a few countries like the UK and the US that using human rights issues as an excuse to accuse and attack China cannot cover up their own blemishes.

“It is the UK that has seen a rise in racism in recent years… It is the US that is known for committing genocide against Native Americans… Its hypocrisy and double standards on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have also aroused anger among Muslims worldwide. It is some European countries that, under the guise of freedom of speech, condone the desecration of Koran and fuel Islamophobia… This list can go on and on! Your hypocrisy, darkness, and evil are the biggest obstacles to the progress of the international human rights cause,” Zhang added. 

It is not uncommon to see the US and other Western nations take advantage of international forums, particularly the UN Assembly, to “siege” China by spotlighting “human rights” issues in China’s Xinjiang. Their goal is to keep these topics the focus in the international media and to continue stigmatizing China, analysts said.

“China has invited foreign diplomats, reporters, professors, and individuals from a variety of fields to see what actually happened in the Xinjiang region with their own eyes for the past few years. These individuals have then come out to debunk lies propagated by anti-China forces in the US and other nations,” Jia Chunyang, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

“Do the US and other Western countries sincerely care about the welfare of Muslims across the world? The response is ‘no,'” Jia brought out the worsening discrimination toward Muslims living in the US. 

Additionally, the US and some Western nations ignore the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while voicing their “concerns” for Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region – this amply demonstrates that their true priorities are to use the Xinjiang topic to contain China rather than to genuinely care about the lives of the people living there, analysts said. 

Also on Wednesday, the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza, according to media reports. 

The US’ biased stance on the current situation in the Middle East fully exposed its hypocrisies and its practices of politicizing and instrumentalizing human rights, Wang Jiang, an expert at the Institute of China’s Borderland Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times.

The West and the US have historically contributed to the human rights cause, but what they are doing now completely contradicts the ideas and perspectives that were first introduced about human rights. The US and certain other Western nations have various standards on human rights for other nations, as well as for adversaries and allies, and which standard they employ depends on their own political requirements, Wang said. 

Ambassador Zhang on Wednesday also criticized the US and some Western countries’ politicization of human rights, noting that such actions are “completely unpopular.”

On Wednesday, the representative of Oman, on behalf of the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, made a joint statement in support of China. In the meeting held the previous day, developing countries and friendly nations actively spoke in support of China. 

Aymeric Monville: Report back from Xinjiang

We are very pleased to publish below the report by the progressive French academic Aymeric Monville of his recent (August 2023) trip to Xinjiang. The report responds directly to the obscene anti-Chinese propaganda that has been raging for several years in the Western media regarding ostensible human rights abuses against China’s Uyghur population.

Aymeric describes his visits, along with the writer Maxime Vivas, to Kashgar, Urumqi and assorted villages. The picture he paints is dramatically different from the stereotype found in the Western media of a dystopian nightmare characterised by brutal repression and cultural genocide.

Arriving at the Kashgar bazaar in the middle of the night, I found it to be a profusion of light, joy, song and happy people in the streets. In particular, the sight of young women on scooters, their hair blowing in the wind, gave me an impression of great freedom.

He notes that, if the whole thing had been somehow staged for his benefit, it would have been a remarkable feat of organisation: “an absolute record for a Hollywood production involving literally thousands of people”.

Of particular note is the account of a visit to a de-radicalisation centre – what would be described in the Western media as a “concentration camp”:

In fact, it was a school where young people who had not committed any crimes but had been influenced by jihadism were taught not only Mandarin so that they could integrate into Chinese society, but also the constitution and a trade. They can play sport, winning table tennis competitions for example, and can go home at weekends. Recognising the basic characters 图书馆, I realise that this is the school library and ask to enter. I also asked to be shown books in Uyghur as well as Mandarin, which was done. I was also assured that the pupils’ Muslim faith is respected and I have no reason to doubt this.

The report includes an interesting discussion of the Uyghur language – its origins, widespread use, and connection to Uyghur culture – as well as various observations on the everyday activities and living conditions of the Uyghur people. There is no evidence of any “cultural genocide”; indeed massive efforts are made to protect the diverse cultures of the region. Monville points out that, if religious fundamentalist separatists were allowed to succeed in their aims, this cultural diversity would come under serious threat: “We can be sure that Uyghur culture in all its diversity, like that of the other ethnic groups living in the region, would have been very much at risk of eradication.”

The report is highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the truth about Xinjiang. We hope it will be widely disseminated.

Aymeric Monville, born in France in 1977, is the author of several philosophical and political essays. In English, he has just published “Neocapitalism according to Michel Clouscard” (foreword by Gabriel Rockhill). He is deeply involved in the fight against anti-Chinese propaganda, and has published essays in France such as “The Ramblings of the Antichinese in France” and “China without Blinkers”.

I am back from Xinjiang, where I spent several days in the company of the writer Maxime Vivas, some of whose books I have had the honour of publishing. We visited Kashgar, a town close to the Afghan border with a 92 percent Uyghur population; then Urumqi, the capital with a population of over 2 million; and finally the new town of Shihezi, developed in the 1950s by the bingtuan (兵团), peasant-soldiers sent by Mao Zedong to develop pioneer areas so as not to have to compete with the local population for water in this semi-desert region. Not forgetting a diversion to sublime Lake Tianchi, to the east of the Celestial Mountains.

Xinjiang has around 25 million inhabitants in an area three times the size of France, but only 9.7 percent of the territory is inhabitable, so I think that this visit to the major urban centres and the main roads used to reach them gives me a sufficiently representative overview to be able to talk about this region with more authority than many French journalists who have never been there, certainly not recently, and particularly since the slander campaign orchestrated by Mike Pompeo and the CIA from 2019.

It was my first visit, and the third for Maxime Vivas.

Having long understood that the campaign about the alleged “genocide of the Uyghurs”, the “genocide in progress” (according tothe French daily Libération) or the “cultural genocide”, the forced sterilisation of women and so on, which has even been voted on by the French National Assembly, is nothing more than a copy and paste of the same campaign that took place ten or fifteen years earlier on Tibet, I was obviously expecting to meet many Uyghurs living in perfectly decent conditions. Nevertheless, I was struck by the relative prosperity of this remote region of China. Arriving at the Kashgar bazaar in the middle of the night, a few hours late, I found it to be a profusion of light, joy, song and happy people in the streets. In particular, the sight of young women on scooters, their hair blowing in the wind, gave me an impression of great freedom and made me think of what their fate would be on the other side of the Afghan border, where they would lose all their rights. We asked people in the street to pose for photos with us. Everyone, including the women, happily participated.

Continue reading Aymeric Monville: Report back from Xinjiang

Reality in Xinjiang belies US propaganda

In the second article carried by the US newspaper Workers World regarding the recent visit by Workers World Party and International Action Center members to China as part of a delegation organised by the China/US Solidarity Network, Sara Flounders, who is also a member of our advisory group, reports on their visit to Xinjiang, where the group gathered footage for a forthcoming documentary that aims to show the reality of life in the autonomous region, which has been a major propaganda focus of the US-led new cold war on China.

Having visited the regional capital of Urumqi and the ancient city of Kashgar, as well as the countryside, small towns and villages, Sara writes: “Torrents of US media reports had told us to expect cities under martial law, military forces of occupation and heavily armed police on every corner…Coming from the New York City area, I expected a police force of at least equal size. The New York City police force is the world’s eighth-largest armed body. On our return, reports of ‘Stop and Frisk’ programs centered on Black and Brown youth dominated the media…

“What we saw in Xinjiang was vibrant cities…full of tens of thousands of tourists, along with the local population of many nationalities. Huge and colorful marketplaces and bazaars, almost all of them run by Uygur families, stretched for many blocks. Busy subway lines crossed the cities. Everywhere we saw food markets brimming with inexpensive produce. Restaurants,  cafés,  and street food stalls were packed with local people. In the evenings, the streets were full – not silent and ominous.”

Outlining the region’s social progress in health, education and other areas, Sara notes: “The illiteracy rate in Xinjiang has fallen to 2.66%, lower than the country’s impressive 2.85% national average. At the time of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, illiteracy was 80% throughout China and more than 90% in Tibet and Xinjiang. Today 97.51% of small children are in preschool programs. Some 98.82% of the youth are enrolled in senior high schools in Xinjiang.”

In Kashgar, she reports that the 15th century Idkah Mosque can house up to 20,000 worshippers. “It is only one of the numerous Islamic centers and mosques, which we saw while walking the city streets and in several villages. Tall, slender minarets and dome-shaped roofs seemed to be a part of every block.”

No wonder, therefore, that, in stark contrast to the harsh sanctions imposed by the US government: “No Arab or Muslim countries have joined in the US rewriting of history and its targeted attacks on China. This is because these countries know that the US government is responsible for 30 years of massively disruptive wars, sanctions, drone attacks and targeted assassinations in a series of Muslim countries, including Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.”

Sara’s article is republished below.

U.S. propaganda is powerful. Responding to an increase in U.S. attacks on China, a delegation was organized by the China / U.S. Solidarity Network, which then visited China from May 11 to May 31.

One focus of the trip was a visit to Xinjiang (pronounced Shinjaang) province to gather video footage and interviews that give a more realistic picture of this vast and quickly modernizing, multiethnic region. Footage for the documentary, currently named “Voice of Xinjiang,” focuses on an area with 4,000 years of history, which is at the center of the ancient Silk Road that today is a major hub in China’s ambitious Belt and Road trade program.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is a vast arid, mountainous and high-desert region in China’s far northwest. Xinjiang has significant oil and mineral reserves and is currently China’s largest natural gas-producing region. The province — although the largest in geographic area, covering one-sixth of China’s total land mass — is sparsely populated, having only 2% of China’s 1.4 billion population. Of Xinjiang’s population of 25 million, 60% belong to 13 ethnic minorities.

Continue reading Reality in Xinjiang belies US propaganda

Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang

The following Global Times article is based on an interview with Emirati scholar Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council, following a recent delegation he led of more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries to Xinjiang Province.

Outlining the motivation for the visit, Al Nuaimi points out that there is gross misrepresentation of Xinjiang – and of the situation of Muslims in China generally – in the mainstream media. “I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing.”

Al Nuaimi stated that Muslims in China enjoy freedom of religion, and noted that a Muslim and Chinese identity coexist comfortably. He also spoke highly of the constantly improving standard of living in Xinjiang.

Countering the narrative of Chinese “concentration camps”, Al Nuaimi talks about his visits to technical colleges on this trip and on a previous trip in 2019. He speaks favorably of these colleges, saying they play an essential role teaching training and preparation for the job market. “I am an academician. I visited most of the universities in North America and Europe and their colleges and technical centers. They don’t have this for their youth. I wish that what we have seen today was available in all countries.”

He concludes by urging the people of Xinjiang to ignore the slanders hurled by Western politicians and journalists. “They criticize China because they want to slow or undermine your achievements and your development.”

Led by Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, chairman of The World Muslim Communities Council from the UAE, a delegation including more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries visited Northwest China’s Xinjiang region starting on January 8. They went to mosques, the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, bazaars and many other places to communicate with local residents and religious groups in Urumqi, Altay and Kashi and to get a better understanding of the region’s development and protection of religious freedom.

On the last day of their visit in Kashi, Al Nuaimi was interviewed by Global Times reporters Liu Xin and Fan Lingzhi (GT). He shared his views on the current situation in Xinjiang and the smearing campaign led by a small group of countries to attack China on Xinjiang-related issues. 

GT: We’ve noticed that this is not your first visit to Xinjiang. Are there any specific reasons for you to make this trip?

Al Nuaimi: When I visited this region in 2019, I was with a small delegation from the UAE only. I thought it’s very important for the Muslim world to understand what is happening in the Xinjiang region, as seeing is believing. This is why I invited many colleagues from different countries to come and join the visit. I can see the difference and the development that’s happening here.

Yesterday we visited the old town in Kashi. We saw the market, we saw the people on the street, we engaged with them. We saw how people are enjoying a lifestyle, enjoying the development and you can see their happiness and their smiles.

Continue reading Islamic scholars impressed by development and religious freedom in Xinjiang

Manufacturing consent for the containment and encirclement of China

The following detailed article by Carlos Martinez explores the escalating propaganda war being waged by the imperialist powers against China. Carlos notes that “propaganda wars can also be war propaganda”, and that the torrent of anti-China slander has a clear purpose of manufacturing broad public consent for the US-led New Cold War.

Carlos shows how the propaganda model described in Herman and Chomsky’s classic work Manufacturing Consent has been updated and enhanced using modern communication techniques, and how it is being applied today against China, in particular in relation to the allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Carlos introduces the most frequently-hurled slanders on this topic and debunks them in detail.

The author concludes that this propaganda campaign is serving to “break the bonds of solidarity within the global working class and all those opposed to imperialism”, and that all progressives must resolutely oppose and expose it.

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. (Malcolm X)

The Western media is waging a systematic and ferocious propaganda war against China. In the court of Western public opinion, China stands accused of an array of terrifying crimes: conducting a genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang; wiping out democracy in Hong Kong; militarising the South China Sea; attempting to impose colonial control over Taiwan; carrying out a land grab in Africa; preventing Tibetans and Inner Mongolians from speaking their languages; spying on the good peoples of the democratic world; and more.

Australian scholar Roland Boer has characterised these accusations as “atrocity propaganda – an old anti-communist and indeed anti-anyone-who-does-not-toe-the-Western-line approach that tries to manufacture a certain image for popular consumption.” Boer observes that this propaganda serves to create an impression of China as a brutal authoritarian dystopia which “can only be a fiction for anyone who actually spends some time in China, let alone lives there.”[1]

It’s not difficult to understand why China would be subjected to this sort of elaborate disinformation campaign. This media offensive is part of the imperialist world’s ongoing attempts to reverse the Chinese Revolution, to subvert Chinese socialism, to weaken China, to diminish its role in international affairs and, as a result, to undermine the global trajectory towards multipolarity and a future free from hegemonism. As journalist Chen Weihua has pointed out, “the reasons for the intensifying US propaganda war are obvious: Washington views a fast-rising China as a challenge to its primacy around the world.” Furthermore, “the success of a country with a different political system is unacceptable to politicians in Washington.”[2]

Continue reading Manufacturing consent for the containment and encirclement of China

The UN human rights regime fissures as OHCHR’s politicized “Assessment” of Xinjiang alienates the Global South

This article by Casey Ho-yuk Wan, an attorney and independent researcher, analyzes the UN Human Rights Council’s 6 October 2022 vote against a Western-backed motion to hold a debate on China’s alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Casey observes that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is at serious risk of further losing credibility, particularly with the countries of the Global South, if it continues to allow itself to be used for a US-led anti-China propaganda campaign.

On 6 October 2022, the UN Human Rights Council (“HRC”) rejected the Western-sponsored draft decision A/HRC/51/L.6 (the “draft decision”) proposing that the HRC hold a debate on Xinjiang under agenda Item 2 at the 52nd HRC regular session in February 2023, with 17 supporting, 19 opposed, and 11 abstaining.[1] The draft decision’s defeat and the closure of 51st HRC regular session on 7 October 2022 provide an opportunity to reflect on the deepening fissures in the UN human rights regime, represented by the HRC and the Office of the High Commissioner of the Human Rights (“OHCHR”), and the growing alienation of the Global South, in particular with regards to Western politicization of human rights and the OHCHR’s complicity in the West’s instrumentalization of human rights as a weapon against developing countries.

Item 2 of HRC sessions generally cover “reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General” and thus customarily cover HRC-mandated proceedings. In the recently concluded 51st HRC regular session, Item 2 discussions included the report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, established by HRC resolution 39/2, the report of the OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, authorized by HRC resolution 46/1, and the report of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua, authorized by HRC resolution 49/3.

Continue reading The UN human rights regime fissures as OHCHR’s politicized “Assessment” of Xinjiang alienates the Global South

Syrian Ambassador: Muslims in Xinjiang experience greater freedom than Muslims in the West

The below extract from CGTN’s popular The Point features an interview with Syria’s Ambassador to China, HE Muhammad Hasanein Khaddam. 

Although relatively new in his ambassadorial role, this is his second posting to China. Broadcast on September 7, the ambassador was one of a group of diplomats from 30 Muslim majority countries who had recently paid a visit to Xinjiang. Describing the region as an oasis, Ambassador Khaddam said the gap between what they saw with their own eyes and what is presented in the west is unbridgeable.

However, this did not surprise him, as the same lies had been told about his own country during 12 years of war waged by terrorist groups and the western powers. Muslim people in Xinjiang, he pointed out, enjoy freedoms that can’t be enjoyed by their co-religionists in many western countries that criticise China. 

Turning to the situation in Syria, the Ambassador notes that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), that Syria formally joined at the beginning of this year, brings hope of a new modality of ‘win win’, without dictation or disrespect. Companies from friendly nations that stood with Syria, he explains, will enjoy numerous opportunities in the reconstruction of the country, such as in the building of ports, roads, bridges and a railway to Iraq.

The flaws in the “Assessment” report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on China

In this important article, originally carried on Counterpunch, Alfred de Zayas, a former long-term United Nations employee, dissects the recent report of the Office of the (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights on China’s Xinjiang region, which he believes, “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.” The report, he notes, was not mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, comes in response to pressures from Washington and Brussels, and forms part of their geopolitical hybrid war against China.

De Zayas draws a comparison with his own mission to Venezuela, prior to which he read all the relevant reports from the OHCHR, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. But when he fact-checked these on the ground, he saw a fundamentally different picture from that contained in reports by ideologues who had not been to Venezuela. 

The author therefore writes that, “the questions must be raised whether and to what extent the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council are operating in the service of Western interests, to what extent the human rights concerns of the rest of humanity are taken on board.”

On 31 August 2022, the last day of Michelle Bachelet’s 4-year tenure as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office released a 46-page document, which I believe should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.  This document, which was not mandated by the Human Rights Council and responds to pressures on OHCHR by Washington and Brussels, bears the superficially neutral title “ Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”[1].

Already in June 2022, at the beginning of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, China’s ambassador Chen Xu deplored the increase in “politicization” of the Council, reminding the members that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.”

High Commissioner Bachelet did well in delaying publication of the Xinjiang “assessment” and returning to Chile before the unappetizing and destructive debates start during the forthcoming 51st session of the Council (12 September-7 October 2022).  Already the Chinese mission has rejected[2] the “assessment” as unprofessional and incompatible with the end-of-mission statement issued by Michelle Bachelet after her successful mission to China and Xinjiang in May 2022, a statement, which I consider balanced, detailed and constructive[3].  Alas, Bachelet’s statement after her well-prepared visit did not succeed in silencing the Washington and Brussels critics that have been systematically misrepresenting the situation in Xinjiang and misusing it for purposes of their geopolitical hybrid war against China.  Bachelet’s sedate statement was met by hostility, media mobbing and calls for her resignation.

Continue reading The flaws in the “Assessment” report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on China

This is why the Arab world stands firmly with China

This article by Keith Lamb, first published in CGTN on 14 September 2022, describes the friendly relations between China and the Arab world, noting in particular that the Arab states have refused to support the West’s slanderous accusations in relation to human rights in Xinjiang. Indeed, numerous envoys from the League of Arab States have visited Xinjiang and spoken enthusiastically about the development of human rights in the region.

The author notes that imperialist apologists explain the above away on the basis that Arab states are somehow afraid of China; but surely it’s the countries which “committed carnage against the Arab world” that should be feared, not China, which “has not invaded a single Arab state and doesn’t maintain a myriad of military bases.”

Far from carrying out military aggression against the region, China is involved in extensive cooperation, trade and aid. “Where others have bombed, China builds.” The author observes that, last year, Iraq was the number one recipient of Belt and Road financing, receiving $10.5 billion; this sort of engagement compares favorably with the US-led genocidal war on Iraq. Meanwhile China is cooperating extensively with the countries of the region on cutting-edge technology, including in green energy, telecoms and AI. As Keith says, “this is not a new imperialism but a rejection of it.”

Those blinded by the “free” press believe China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the location of a “genocide” against Chinese Muslims who are simultaneously “enslaved.” In contrast, envoys from the League of Arab States (LAS), who have been to Xinjiang, talk about China’s social and human rights achievements.

Those who screamed for violence against Arab states, including Libya, Iraq, and Syria, in the name of human rights, solve this cognitive dissonance by claiming that the Arab world is afraid of China. However, their delusion is only carried one step further to absurdity as clearly those who committed the carnage against the Arab world are the ones who should be feared.

In contrast, China has not invaded a single Arab state and it doesn’t maintain a myriad of military bases, which blurs the line between cooperation and occupation. If anything, considering the vast military power accumulated in the Middle East, the LAS support for China shows that they, despite lurking threats, will bravely stand up for truth so that “Weapons of Mass Destruction” lies can no longer be leveraged for the tyrants of war.

Instead, a new page of history is turning, which seeks to constrain the unilateral whims of a hegemonic bully. It is China’s peaceful rise and developmental philosophy contrasted with a fading unilateral order of violence, lies, and uneven development that leads the Arab world to stand with China today.

Continue reading This is why the Arab world stands firmly with China

Statement condemning the OHCHR’s ‘Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China’

The following statement has been initiated by Friends of Socialist China. You can add your name as an individual signatory using Google Forms. Once you do so, your name will appear on this page within a few hours. Organizations wishing to add their signatures to this statement should contact us at info@socialistchina.org

We strongly condemn the publication by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of its Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. In the words of former OHCHR lawyer and human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, this document “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased, and methodologically flawed.”

Based on substandard research methods and biased sources, the Assessment is completely lacking in credibility. It treats arms of the military-industrial complex such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), along with professional anti-communists such as Adrian Zenz, as legitimate sources. Meanwhile the voices of Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals are suppressed, as are the numerous reports of diplomatic trips to Xinjiang – including by representatives of Muslim-majority countries – that have taken place in recent years.

The Assessment pointedly ignores China’s extraordinary progress in promoting the human rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang: in relation to poverty alleviation, social welfare, economic development, safety from terrorist attacks, and more. Instead, the document uses deliberately ambiguous language – that China’s actions “may” constitute crimes against humanity – in order to slander the People’s Republic of China whilst maintaining some plausible deniability.

It is highly suspicious that the Assessment makes no mention of then-UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Xinjiang in May 2022. Having visited a prison and spoken to former trainees at a vocational education and training center; having interacted with civil society organizations, academics, and community and religious leaders; Bachelet found no evidence of crimes against humanity. The numerous conversations she had do not form part of the data set for the Assessment.

What is the reason for the disparity between the OHCHR report and Bachelet’s end-of-mission statement? It is painfully obvious that the OHCHR has come under intense pressure from the US to bolster the credibility of the lurid slanders that have been thrown at China by Western politicians and journalists. Such propaganda forms part of the West’s imperial agenda of undermining China.

The OHCHR Assessment does a profound disservice to the cause of strengthening global human rights cooperation. The report does not enjoy a mandate from the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council, and it runs counter to the wishes and interests of the mainstream of the international community. A joint statement delivered by Cuba at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June this year stated its firm opposition to the “politicization of human rights and double standards, or interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights”. This statement was signed by 69 countries, the overwhelming majority from the Global South.

Given the OHCHR’s relative silence in relation to persistent human rights abuses by the imperialist powers, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Assessment is politically-motived, produced under pressure from the US, and designed to contribute to a dangerous, escalating New Cold War.

We call on the OHCHR to withdraw its Assessment, and we stand in solidarity with the people of China, subjected to abhorrent and baseless accusations.

Initial signatories (organizations)

Initial signatories (individuals)

  • Kojo Amoo Gottfried (former Ambassador of Ghana to the People’s Republic of China)
  • Roland Boer (Professor, Dalian University of Technology)
  • Ben Chacko (Editor, Morning Star)
  • Michael Dunford (Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex)
  • Raymond Ferguson (National Secretary, Australia-DPRK Friendship and Cultural Society)
  • John Foster (Emeritus Professor, University of the West of Scotland)
  • Robert Griffiths (General Secretary, Communist Party of Britain)
  • Kenneth Hammond (Professor, New Mexico State University)
  • David Laibman (Editor Emeritus, Science & Society)
  • Dee Knight (DSA International Committee member)
  • Doug Nicholls (General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions)
  • Dirk Nimmegeers (Editor, ChinaSquare.be)
  • Ben Norton (Editor, Multipolarista)
  • Suzanne Berliner Weiss (author and activist for social justice)

Individual signatories

Niels Duus NielsenDenmark
Michael WongsamBritain
Simon HeimStudentHong Kong SAR, China
David AltimierProfessor, Political AnalystMexico
João RoqueBrazil
C Larsson
Peter OlechBritain
Stefania FuseroItaly
Ng Kong HungSingapore
Christopher HelaliInternational Secretary of the CC of PCUSAUnited States
JOSEPH PIETTEWorkers World PartyUnited States
Keith HeywoodBritain
Mark LeCanada
Joe LeeAustralia
Philippe GendraultPRCFUnited States
Daniel J. BrownAustralia
Lyn NeeleyTeacher AFTUnited States
Régis Apolinário CoelhoStudent/IFESBrazil
Jakob Ulrik MunckDenmark
Steve SweeneyJournalistBritain
Dan RossBritain
Gregory DunkelRetired, AFT2343United States
Nan ZhangCanada
Ng Sauw TjhoiChief-editor “China Vandaag”Belgium
Marie-France GermainCanada
DakotaIndigenous man of CanadaCanada
Edward Owen RedmondBritain
Tony KinderUniversity ResearcherBritain
Kim E Koo MDUnited States
Edward Owen RedmondBritain
De Maegd FransARLAC (Solidarity with Latin America and the Caraibes).Belgium
floyd gardnerveterans for peaceUnited States
Sue HarisInternational Action CenterUnited States
juan donostMexico
Matthew LouieUnited States
Man Leewenyahonline.comAustralia
Robin StoweUnited States
Ann LoganRetired book editorBritain
Joseph ThompsonStudentUnited States
William MurphyRetiredUnited States
Jason BowersUnited States
Michael ChiaSingapore
Alex TanMalaysia
Roger StollUnited States
Pat TurnbullBritain
Stewart Kellyconcerned citizenUnited States
Larry M LeeCanada
LekxMember-activist of grassroots movement Peace With Venezuela The Netherlands (Vrede Met Venezuela)Netherlands
Mitchell ShoreCanada
Dave ThomasChair Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association of NiagaraCanada
MaureUnited States
Doug NichollsGeneral Federation of Trade UnionsBritain
Zhen ChiChina
Peta ElmesUnited States
Peta ElmesUnited States
Victor KoppeLawyer (genocide specialist)Netherlands
Jonn MeroNorway
Clinton ScottBritain
Vicente CastellsBritain
James De BurgheChina
Mark Charles RosenzweigUnited States
Songyon JingChina
Stan SquiresCanada
Alexander ReysenbachPensionerBelgium
Bob OramBritain
Daniel B
Pete FoleyBritain
William DereJournalist and authorCanada
Wilhelm Reichmann
Chin K SeahCanada
Asfred MaldonadoPuerto Rico
Brandon MilesIndependent JournalistUnited States
Joe HerosyUnited States
Danny LiUnited States
Wilfred JayasingheSri Lanka Peace & Solidarity CouncilSri Lanka
Peggy Powell DobbinsUnited States
Elizabeth SmithCanada
Matthew AlmonteUnited States
Edward TrippRetiredUnited States
Xiaoming GuoCanada
Stephen PaulmierHawai’i Friends of the Soviet PeopleOccupied country of Hawai’i
Iris YauLecturer & CuratorBritain
Laurence Wright
Sandy Eaton, RNUnited States
Kate LattimoreBritain
Ben LunnComposerBritain
Hank KeetonKeeton CorporationUnited States
BobAkamineUnited States
Mark PrenterAustralia
Giles GeetooahUnited States
Demba Moussa DembeleEconomistSenegal
Wei Weng LEONGSingapore
David AyrtonBritain
Ron JuddNew Zealand
Youri Smouterjournalist & host of 1+1 at 1+1 hosted by Youri Smouter fmrley Yuri Muckraker at youtubeBelgium
Calla Mairead WalshUnited States, Canada
Ping HuaNo Cold War BritainBritain
Peter RubinUnited States
Brishni ChattopadhyayIndia
Damien MarsicChina
Bill MeyerMichigan Peace CouncilUSA
Tom WickhamIreland
Fabio Massimo ParentiAssociate Professor of International Political EconomyItaly
Michael AwAustralia
Bertil CarlmanRetired teacherSweden
Yick Foon WONGRetireeAustralia
Arsenio PanuelosPhilippines
David LeeAustralia
Robert Fitzthum
Derek BlackmoreBritain
James K InkenbrandtUnited States
Matthew CampbellUnited States
Joris De WinterBelgium
Anna EckertUnited States
B. Keith BrumleyUnited States
David MüllerSwitzerland
Joe MonteroAustralia
Kevin LindemannUnited States
Karen AramUnited States
Kostas KalogeropoulosResearcherGreece
Dr. Tamara ProsicResearcher, Monash UniversityAustralia
Jui Ching LingNetherlands
Kevin Patrick Michael McCannCommunist Party of BritainBritain
Antonis BalasopoulosCyprus
Håkan DanielssonSweden
Laura WellsGreen PartyUnited States
Ethan EvaloboUnited States
Derek GrigsbyOrganizer / MECAWI ( Michigan emergency committee against war and injustice )United States
Iain InglisChina
Leo CollinsIreland
Michael ShaneUnited States
ko ruijterNetherlands
Loo Wen SiangMalaysia
Siqlme CqkftSingapore
Ruipeng LiChina
Andre S
Jake HemingwayUnited States
Joseph OstosUnited States
M. K. BrusselUnited States
Mike ShaneCommunist Workers League (Fighting-words.net)United States
Karen LiRetired teacherUnited States
Robert LaffinUnited States
Ray GastonTeam Vicar Parish of Central WolverhamptonBritain
Leonardo BargigliUniversità di FirenzeItaly
John SharkeyCanada
M. K. BrusselUnited States
Mushahed AhmedMember of the central committee, Communist Party of Bangladesh (M-L)Bangladesh
Dilip BaruaGeneral Secretary, Communist Party of Bangladesh (M-L)Bangladesh
Miguel FigueroaCanadian Peace CongressCanada
Elisabeth HillsUnited States
Ruipeng Li
Eddy SebahiFrance
Noah BermanBritain
Nino PaglicciaFrente Hugo Chavez - CanadaCanada
eloi ramirezUnited States
kwok zu limSingapore
Bobby ChenChinaRock.FMUnited States
Cui GuoweiChairman/Shaanxi Provincial Patriotic Volunteer AssociationChina
Hulun Buir Environmental Protection Volunteers AssociationChina
Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteers AssociationChina
Wang JunzhanChina Great Wall SocietyChina
Gansu NGO Network for International ExchangesChina
Dragon Design FoundationChina
北京春晖博爱公益基金会 Chunhui Children's FoundationChina
China Association for Promoting International Economic & Technical CooperationChina
China Arab Exchange AssociationChina
Ken StoneTreasurer, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The WarCanada
China Association for Promoting International Economic & Technical CooperationChina
China Arab Exchange AssociationChina
Middle East Foundation for Peace DevelopmentChina
World Digital Economy Forum SecretariatChina
China Africa Investment and Trade Promotion AssociationChina
Dragon Design FoundationChina
Chunhui Children's FoundationChina
Beijing Changier Education FoundationChina
Novel Inception FoundationChina
Enlai FoundationChina
Beijing Crafts CouncilChina
Beijing Hengji Health Management and Development FoundationChina
Beijing NGO Network for International Exchanges 感谢!China
Charles BritzUnited States
Arnold AugustThe Canada FilesCanada
Michael CalluraRetired SteelworkerCanada
Kit Aislyn HaynesSigilUnited States
Alias HopeUnited States
Farooque Chowdhury
John Considine
Clare HaririBritain
Raymond FergusonNational Secretary Australia-DPRK Friendship and Cultural SocietyAustralia
David LaibmanEditor Emeritus, Science & SocietyUnited States
Peter GoseCanada
China Society for Human Rights StudiesChina
China Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences(CUAES)China
Lijun ZhangChina Association of Ethnic Economy (CAEE)China
Xiaohua WuChinese Association For Ethnic Policy (CAEP)China
China Ethnic Minorities’ Association For External Exchanges (CEMAEE)China
Minzu Unity and Progress Association of China(MUPAC)China
Russel HarlandTrade UnionistBritain
Sara BarkerCanada

Bachelet’s “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang” Risks Discrediting the OHCHR and Politicizing the Human Rights Regime

This article by Casey Ho-yuk Wan, an attorney and independent researcher, provides a rigorous critique of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recently-released Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the People’s Republic of China.

Casey gives an overview of the contents of the Assessment, noting that it makes no reference to the most serious charge against China – ie that it engaged in a genocide against Uygur people in Xinjiang – and furthermore that its accusations are couched in deliberately ambiguous language, for example “[China’s actions] may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”.

The author observes that Chinese voices are near-absent from the source interviews, in particular Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals. The Assessment does however extensively cite US-funded NGOs such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and ideologically-driven anti-communist researchers such as Adrian Zenz. As such, the Assessment suffers from a profound bias. Meanwhile it makes no mention of human rights that the Chinese government has been very actively promoting in Xinjiang: poverty alleviation, development, and safety from terrorist attacks.

Casey makes the crucially important point that the Assessment does not enjoy a mandate from the General Assembly or the Human Rights Council. Through a detailed analysis of voting and statements at the United Nations, he makes it clear that the majority of the world’s countries – and the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries – support China’s position and reject the accusations that have been thrown around by the US and its allies regarding Xinjiang. As such, and given the OHCHR’s relative silence in relation to persistent human rights abuses by the imperialist powers, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Assessment is politically-motived, produced under pressure from the US, and designed to contribute to the escalating New Cold War. One by-product is that the Assessment “will likely weaken the credibility of the OHCHR in the eyes of the Global South”, thereby causing lasting damage to the entire UN-based human rights framework.

The article is fairly long and detailed, but deserves to be thoroughly read.


On 31 August 2022, shortly before the tenure of Michelle Bachelet as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ended, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the People’s Republic of China.”[1]

This write-up is a response to the “Assessment”, which raises serious doubts as to the impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity of the OHCHR’s work with implications for the credibility not merely of the Assessment, but of the OHCHR as a responsible international organ capable of conducting human rights work in a constructive manner while avoiding double standards and politicization. This write-up will also speculate on potential political consequences of the Assessment. In summary, the Assessment risks the discrediting of the OHCHR and the politicization of the global human rights regime the OHCHR is mandated to promote, while likely serving to widen the chasm between the OHCHR and the Global South and to aggravate ongoing and potential international conflicts. 

The Contents of the Assessment

It is important to identify what the Assessment has stated. While much has been made by mainstream media of the Assessment’s seeming indictment of China’s crimes against humanity[2], the Assessment cannot be definitely said to be a sort of indictment or supposition of fact. Paragraph 148 of the Assessment provides:

The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.

This sentence is deliberately ambiguous. In particular, the use of the word “may” can take on two different meanings. The sentence could be stating that, given what the OHCHR currently knows, the extent of arbitrary detention likely constitutes crimes against humanity. This interpretation would be strengthened had the sentence been placed in present perfect tense – that the extent of arbitrary detention may have constituted crimes against humanity. Instead, the sentence placed in the present tense gives rise to a second interpretation: that, given the right circumstances, the extent of arbitrary detention could give rise to the level of crimes against humanity. In other words, “may” could imply either a preliminary finding or supposition of fact, or the mere possibility of a fact.

Leaving the sentence ambiguous in this manner seems to serve the purpose of staking out a position but without committing the OHCHR to find one way or the other in regards to China. At any rate, the sentence is by no means a definitive statement of fact that China committed crimes against humanity. The Assessment is also notable for making no mention of genocide, making only a passing reference to slavery, and presenting no definitive finding on forced labor in Xinjiang.

The Assessment limits itself to the evaluation of certain human rights concerns: China’s laws and policies regarding counter-terrorism and extremism; imprisonment and deprivation of liberty (particularly in regards to the vocational education and training centers (VETCs)); conditions and treatment in the VETCs; religious, cultural, and linguistic identity and expression; privacy and freedom of movement; reproductive rights; employment and labor; family separations and enforced disappearances; and intimidations, threats, and reprisals.

A full review of the Assessment is beyond the scope of this write-up. Suffice to say that in each of the areas listed above, the OHCHR found great cause to be concerned, and have definitively concluded that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in Xinjiang that are “characterized by a discriminatory component.”

Concerns Regarding the Assessment

UN General Assembly Resolution 48/141 of 1994 established the post of High Commissioner of Human Rights, who would be “the United Nations official with principal responsibility for United Nations human rights activities under the direction and authority of the Secretary-General; within the framework of the overall competence, authority and decisions of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights.” Among other responsibilities, the High Commissioner of Human Rights would “promote and protect the effective enjoyment by all of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.”

Resolution 48/141 further emphasized the “need for the promotion and protection of all human rights to be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, in the spirit of constructive international dialogue and cooperation…” These principles were reaffirmed by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 2006, which established the Human Rights Council (HRC) to replace the Commission on Human Rights. Resolution 60/251 further aspired to eliminate “double standards and politicization” of human rights issues. Resolution 48/141 also requires the High Commissioner to “respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States”, as well as to recognize that “all human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated” and to “promote and protect the realization of the right to development”.

The Assessment raises serious concerns about the work of the OHCHR, as the Assessment fails to live up to the principles of impartiality, objectivity, and non-selectivity, risking the proliferation of double standards and politicization in contemporary human rights work.

The Assessment is one-sided, and sets a worrying precedent

The Assessment claims a “rigorous review of documentary material currently available to the Office, with its credibility assessed in accordance with standard human rights methodology.” It pays special attention to the laws, policies, data, and statements of the Government of China, including document leaks by journalists alleged (and accepted by the OHCHR) to be of an official nature. Supplementing the review of documentary material, the OHCHR interviewed 40 individuals with claimed direct and first-hand knowledge of the matter at hand.

However, a review of the 306 footnotes of the Assessment reveals a concerning omission. Citations in the Assessment overwhelmingly consist of Chinese governmental material, “the vast amount of research that has been completed by non-governmental organizations, researchers, journalists and academics over the last years”, and the interviewed individuals. Missing from citations entirely are non-government Chinese material, including material from Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics, and individuals. Also missing are Chinese-language sources apart from Chinese governmental materials such as laws and regulations, and mass media reporting.

Continue reading Bachelet’s “Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang” Risks Discrediting the OHCHR and Politicizing the Human Rights Regime

The OHCHR human rights report on Xinjiang lacks credibility

Co-editor of FoSC Danny Haiphong analyzes the latest OHCHR report on Xinjiang, highlighting its lack of credibility as research and deconstructing the anti-China propaganda that informs the report throughout. The article was first published on CGTN.

The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) at the UN released a highly anticipated report regarding the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The report followed intense pressure from certain Western countries, especially the United States. It should come as no surprise that this politicized context would produce a highly incredible report that serves nothing but the political aims of the U.S.-led campaign to slander China.

The OHCHR report lacks credibility for a number of reasons. First, there is a complete absence of research protocols meant to enhance the reliability and validity of the 40 “in-depth” interviews used in the report. Direct quotations from interview participants were nowhere to be found. None of the interviews occurred on the ground in Xinjiang. Also left out of the report was any mention of the direct testimonial of dozens of diplomats from Muslim-majority nations who have visited the region and denied Western allegations of human rights abuses.

Furthermore, it is customary when using qualitative methods to acknowledge biases and shortcomings that may impact the results of the research. The OHCHR report not only lacked any acknowledgement of potential biases but was also allowed to masquerade as factual research in the Western media. However, bias in the report is not difficult to identify. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) are both cited in the report. These institutions receive funding from the United States government, with the ASPI receiving a total of $5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2020 alone.

Continue reading The OHCHR human rights report on Xinjiang lacks credibility

OHCHR report on Xinjiang is a patchwork of disinformation and Cold War propaganda

Just three months ago, UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet was subjected to relentless criticism in the West when, having visited Xinjiang, she failed to find evidence supporting the hysterical slander about a genocide against Uyghur Muslims. It is very unfortunate that she has, just hours before the end of her tenure, succumbed to US pressure and released a deeply flawed report which relies on a handful of submissions from dubious sources, and which contains insinuations rather than substantive charges.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the report well, as “a patchwork of disinformation that serves as a political tool for the US and some Western forces to use Xinjiang to contain China.” Wang noted that 60 countries have sent letters to the UN High Commissioner opposing the release of the report. “They are the mainstream of the international community”.

We reproduce below an article from the Global Times summing up the Chinese response to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

China on Thursday denounced a so-called UN human rights report on China’s Xinjiang region as completely invalid and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China, and said that it proved the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has descended into the accomplice of the US and some Western forces against developing countries. 

In response to the so-called “assessment of human rights concerns” in China’s Xinjiang released by the OHCHR on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference on Thursday that the so-called assessment is a patchwork of disinformation and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China by using the Xinjiang topic.  

Such a “report” seriously violates the mandate of the OHCHR, infringing on the non-political and objective principles. It once again proved that the OHCHR has descended into an enforcer and accomplice of the US and some Western forces against the developing countries, Wang Wenbin said. 

The spokesperson noted that even the report did not dare hype groundless topics of “genocide,” “forced labor” or “forced sterilization” – which were previously hyped by the US and some Western forces. Wang Wenbin said that this also showed that the lie of the century made by the US and the some Western forces on China’s Xinjiang has bankrupted. 

Analysts also pointed out that the “assessment” is neither objective nor professional and it is totally made to cater for the anti-China forces’ needs to further hype the topics on China’s Xinjiang region. 

Continue reading OHCHR report on Xinjiang is a patchwork of disinformation and Cold War propaganda

Open letter to UN High Commissioner for human rights

Friends of Socialist China is proud to be a signatory to this letter of nearly 1,000 Chinese and foreign NGOs to Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, calling on her to reject the demands of various fanatically anti-China elements who want her to use her position to slander China’s human rights record.

The full list of signatories can be found on Xinhua.

Dear Madame High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet,

During your visit to China including Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in late May, you had extensive exchanges with representatives from different sectors. We believe that you saw with your own eyes that Xinjiang has enjoyed sustained economic development, social stability, improvement of people’s livelihood, cultural prosperity and religious harmony. You gained a good knowledge of the fact and truth that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy various forms of human rights in accordance with law. We expect that , you will draw a conclusion based on the facts, and present what you saw and heard in Xinjiang to the international community in an objective and fair manner.

We notice that for a period of time, certain anti-China forces, out of ulterior political motives, have publicly urged you to release the so-called assessment on Xinjiang, which is against the objective facts and confuses right and wrong. We express our serious concerns regarding this. It is reported that the assessment is entirely based on false accusations fabricated by anti-China forces and false testimony by overseas anti-China separatists, and echoes the biggest lies of the century that there are so-called genocide, crimes against humanity, forced labour, forced sterilization, religious repression in Xinjiang. Such an assessment is completely untrue. The assessment, once released, will be definitely used by certain countries as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to contain China’s development under the pretext of human rights. It will badly damage the credibility of Madame High Commissioner yourself and the OHCHR, and seriously undermine the developing countries’ confidence in constructive cooperation with the OHCHR. It will deeply hurt the sentiments of all 1.4 billion Chinese people including the 25 million in Xinjiang and of all who support the development of Xinjiang. We are strongly opposed to the release of such an unreasonable, unauthorized, and untruthful assessment.

Facts should never be distorted. Truth should never be denied. We strongly call on you and the OHCHR to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, respect the authoritative information provided by member states, and respect the serious concerns raised by all Chinese people and all people championing justice around the world. We call on you and the OHCHR to stand on the right side of history, and not to release an assessment full of lies.

Who really profits from ‘forced labor’?

The “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, the latest anti-China legislation to be enacted in the United States, came into effect on June 23, having been signed by President Biden last December. Under this law, all goods from China’s Xinjiang are barred from the US unless the importer can prove they were produced “free of forced labor”. It is, of course, notoriously difficult to “prove” a negative, something compounded by the arbitrary designations and assertions already advanced by the US with regard to the autonomous region.

In this article, originally published by Workers World, Betsey Piette notes that this measure will harm US industries and further fuel inflation. More especially she notes that, “if US politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to ‘forced labor,’ they should look no further than the US prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the US produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in ‘wages’ for their work.”

The US imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, with some 800,000 people subject to such forced labor.

First signed by President Joe Biden in December, the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” took effect June 23. Under this latest anti-China measure, all goods made in Xinjiang province are banned, unless the importer can demonstrate the imports were produced “free of forced labor.” The ban also impacts programs that transport Uyghur workers to job sites. 

The new law could affect a handful of companies or far more. Its implementation could result in more detention of goods at the U.S. border, further delaying product deliveries and further fueling inflation. Hardest hit will be U.S. industries that rely on the import of commodities using lithium, nickel manganese, beryllium copper and gold mined in Xinjiang. These include manufacturers of solar panels, auto companies and energy firms.

This latest U.S. anti-China propaganda campaign is based on unsubstantiated claims that Uyghur people were forced to take up new jobs in industries recently relocated to Xinjiang. 

However, if U.S. politicians and anti-China lobbyists are genuinely concerned about protecting people from being subjected to “forced labor,” they should look no further than the U.S. prison-industrial complex. According to a report the American Civil Liberties Union released June 15, incarcerated workers in the U.S. produce roughly $11 billion in goods and services each year but receive pennies an hour in “wages” for their work.

Jennifer Turner, principal author of the report stated: “The United States has a long, problematic history of using incarcerated workers as a source of cheap labor and to subsidize the costs of our bloated prison system. Incarcerated workers are stripped of even the most minimal protections against labor exploitation and abuse. They are paid pennies for their work in often unsafe working conditions, even as they produce billions of dollars for states and the federal government.”

In the U.S., which imprisons a higher percentage of its population than any other country, roughly 800,000 people are subject to this forced labor, making roughly 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. In Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, incarcerated workers are essentially enslaved — paid nothing for their labor.

Over 75% of incarcerated workers interviewed by the ACLU told researchers that if they refuse to work, they are subjected to punishment, including solitary confinement, loss of family visits and denial of reduced sentences.

The Global Times, which is publishing a series of stories to expose the U.S. as a real “contemporary slavery empire,” says that this exploitation of incarcerated workers “plainly demonstrates the U.S.’s real disregard for basic human rights and their brutal exploitation of the country’s workforce.”

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed on Jan. 31, 1865, while abolishing enslavement actually allowed enslavement to remain legal, as “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” This amendment lets the government legally impose forced labor on incarcerated workers across the country.

Prison labor insourcing

Part of the problem for the U.S. enforcement of the anti-China labor ban is identifying what companies produce goods involving Uyghur labor in Xinjiang province. But it is very easy to find what U.S. companies are profiting directly from privatizing prisons or exploiting prison labor.

A majority of the labor performed by exploited prisoner-workers directly benefits the states managing prisons. Incarcerated workers are forced to perform various tasks from food preparation to laundry services. But many private companies profit as well.

Two major companies — Core Civic and Geo Group — are the giants of the U.S. private prison industry. Core Civic recognized $526 million in annual gross profits in 2021. Geo Group made $628 million. But these companies are not alone in profiting from prisons.

A Feb. 15 report by CareerAddict.com estimated that 4,200 large corporations use over 600,000 incarcerated workers to produce goods and services. There are several well-known companies on this list. McDonalds and Wendy’s use prison labor to produce frozen beef patties and other products. Calls to Verizon, Sprint or Avis for service may be answered by incarcerated workers.

Walmart and Starbucks use enslaved prison labor to cut down their costs of producing goods and services. Prison labor produces circuit boards for Compaq. For years Aramark has used incarcerated workers to prepare and package most food items used in prisons. In 2019 Aramark was sued for using “involuntary servitude” — they were not paying incarcerated workers anything.

Politicians could amend the 13th Amendment to remove the prison labor exclusion clause. Biden could take measures to end contracts with private prison companies. But none of this is likely to happen under capitalism.

Those genuinely concerned about “forced labor” should be on board with the movement to abolish prisons.

The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights

Co-editor of Friends of Socialist China Danny Haiphong explains why the US’s obsession with politicizing human rights against China is both baseless in substance and a deflection from its own heinous human rights record in all areas of economic, social, and political development. This article was originally published on CGTN.

The 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has entered its last week of deliberation. This particular session of the UNHRC saw the United States immediately politicize the issue of human rights by signing a statement from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and 46 other countries condemning China. The letter expressed “grave” concern over the human rights situation in China, listing the popular talking points in the West regarding the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the Tibet Autonomous Region. 

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva Chen Xu said that “disinformation has become rampant, which seriously runs counter to the original purpose of the Human Rights Council.” Cuba made a joint statement on behalf of 70 countries, stating that “the affairs of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China’s internal affairs.”

The U.S.’s politicization of human rights against China is ironic in a cruel way. Washington refuses to acknowledge the mountain of evidence proving that its allegations against China are illegitimate in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent a delegation to China and expressed satisfaction with its treatment of Muslims, including Uygurs, in a resolution on their findings. The OIC includes 57 member states and a population of near two-billion people. In 2020, Cuba made a statement on behalf of 45 countries that praised China’s counterterrorism and deradicalization policies in Xinjiang.

Continue reading The cruel irony of the US obsession with politicizing human rights