China Compares Uyghur Genocide to Alleged ‘White Mobs’ Attacking American Muslims

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian takes a question at the daily media briefing in Beijing on April 8, 2020. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian defended his regime’s ongoing genocide of the Uyghur Muslim people on Wednesday by claiming that roving “white mobs” terrorized Muslim communities in America in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Zhao (pictured) claimed America also has a history of “genocide” and “horrific systemic ethnic cleansing and slaughter” against Native Americans.

Extensive evidence, including eyewitness testimony and satellite imaging, shows that the Chinese Communist Party has imprisoned as many as 3 million ethnic Uyghurs, as well as other Muslim minority members like Kazakhs and Kyrgyz people, in a network of over 1,000 concentration camps throughout Xinjiang, China’s largest and westernmost province. Survivors say guards at the camps submit prisoners to indoctrination, torture, “nightly” rape, and medical testing consistent with live organ harvesting. Outside of the camps, China has demolished thousands of mosques, installed a sophisticated surveillance system, and enslaved hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs in its cotton fields.

Zhao Lijian rose to prominence in his role as a Chinese government mouthpiece for accusing the American government, without evidence, of unleashing the Chinese coronavirus pandemic on the world through the U.S. Army. The Chinese government has yet to publish any evidence supporting the conspiracy theory; all evidence collected presently indicates the pandemic originated in Hubei province, China, in late 2019.

Both the administrations of Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden have described the campaign against the Uyghur people as a “genocide.” State Department spokesman Ned Price again used the word regarding the Chinese government’s behavior there on Tuesday, prompting a question of Zhao soliciting a response.

“As we’ve said repeatedly, the so-called allegation of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is the most preposterous lie of the century,” Zhao asserted. “The more diligently the U.S. works to fabricate lies on China’s human rights conditions and disguise itself as human rights defender, the more it exposes its guilty conscience burdened by its grave human rights problems at home.”

“US history has recorded the horrific systemic ethnic cleansing and slaughter of native Indians, which constitute genocide and crimes against humanity,” Zhao continued, later referring to American racism as “comprehensive, systematic and persistent” and equating sanctions on repressive regimes with the allegations of genocide against China.

Zhao later claimed that Muslims in China – subject to imprisonment in concentration camps, forced sterilization, disappearances, torture, slavery, and killing – live more freely than Muslims in America.

“After 9/11, some American cities witnessed radical behaviors including smashing and looting of mosques in Muslim communities. The Muslim group were [sic] targeted by white mobs,” Zhao claimed. The spokesman did not name a single incident of “white mobs” attacking Muslims or any American city where this occurred.

“A U.S. poll showed that over 80 percent of those surveyed believe Muslims face discrimination in the U.S.,” Zhao added, without citing a polling firm or research institute.

After the September 11 attacks, the FBI did document an increase in the number of incidents against Muslim people in the country, though these were individual crimes and the evidence did not indicate what percentage of the crimes were attributable to white Americans, much less “white mobs.” Pivotally, these attacks were prosecuted and not part of a state-sponsored campaign against Muslims like the one China is currently implementing in Xinjiang. One of President George W. Bush’s first public appearances following the Al Qaeda attacks in 2001 was to the mosque at the Islamic Center of Washington, where he urged peace and understanding for American Muslims.

“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” Bush said at the event. “Islam is peace.”

In contrast, China has effectively outlawed the practice of Islam outside of the control of the state. Under dictator Xi Jinping, the Chinese communist regime has launched a campaign to “sinicize,” or make more “Chinese,” all five legal religions in the country: Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The campaign requires mosques to display large banners praising Xi and imams to heavily promote communist propaganda. Many banners replace key Islamic iconography such as inscriptions of the shahada, or Islamic profession of faith: “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”

While some mosques remain intact in Xinjiang behind the red banners, tens of thousands have disappeared. In a report published in September, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) revealed it had documented the destruction of 16,000 Uyghur mosques since 2017. The Chinese government replaced some of these mosques with features apparently meant as insults to Muslims, such as public toilets.

Zhao has made his claims of out-of-control racism in the United States a staple of his daily briefings. On Tuesday, he told reporters, “in the U.S., racism is a systemic and persistent existence covering every aspect.”

“White supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members openly used racist slogans to preach white supremacy, incite racial discrimination and hatred. U.S. history has recorded the horrific systemic ethnic cleansing and slaughter of Native Indians, which constitute genocide and crimes against humanity,” Zhao claimed. “U.S. law enforcement brutality has led frequently to death of African Americans. In the workplace, racism is a deep-seated problem. Discrimination against ethnic minorities is a prevalent presence across the whole society.”

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