A U.S.-based think tank published a study on Tuesday alleging the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has forced over half a million rural Tibetans into military-style labor camps in the first half of 2020.
Responding to the study on Wednesday, the CCP mouthpiece Global Times refuted its findings, claiming that Western media was “not qualified” to make such accusations against Beijing because the West, especially the U.S., has failed to resolve its own “ethnic conflicts.”
According to the Jamestown Foundation study, the Chinese government drove over 500,000 Tibetans into military-style camps in the first seven months of this year. The camps were designed to train surplus rural laborers into industrial workers. Upon completing so-called “vocational training,” which includes political indoctrination, 50,000 Tibetans were shipped to work for low pay in factories within Tibet.
Several thousand others were transferred out of the region to Chinese factories, government quotas revealed.
On Wednesday, the Global Times claimed that the government document cited by the study as evidence that the CCP forced over half a million Tibetans into labor camps and thousands out to factories was distorted by so-called Western propagandists aiming to slander the Communist Party.
“The official document states clearly that 543,000 people were transferred to be employed in the first seven months [of 2020]. But this figure was twisted by [Adrian] Zenz [the study’s lead researcher] as they were forced into ‘military-style training centers’,” the newspaper argued. Zenz has also contributed significantly to research revealing the enslavement of over a million ethnic minority people in Xinjiang, north of Tibet.
According to the CCP mouthpiece, the Tibetans referred to in the study were transferred “on their own volition” as part of China’s long-established “nationwide policy of transferring surplus laborers from rural areas to employment in other places.”
In a separate article released earlier Wednesday, the Global Times argued that “[t]he West is not qualified to accuse China of [wrongdoing in] its governance in ethnic minority autonomous regions” such as Tibet because “the West is generally falling into religious and ethnic conflicts. … [Especially] in the U.S. … the Trump administration has failed to resolve the crisis.”