China Claims Leaked Proof of Uyghur Genocide Part of ‘Evil Narrative’ by ‘Notorious Rumormonger’

Members of the Muslim Uighur minority hold placards as they demonstrate to ask for news of their relatives and to express their concern about the ratification of an extradition treaty between China and Turkey at Uskudar square in Istanbul on February 26, 2021. - Chinese parliament ratified on December 26, …
Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

As outrage grows around the world over the leaked Xinjiang Police Files and the irrefutable evidence they provide of China’s atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims, Chinese state media is attacking the leading researcher for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Adrian Zenz.

China’s state-run Global Times raved on Wednesday that Zenz and the international consortium of journalists that verified the Xinjiang Police Files are trying to “abduct” U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet as their “puppet” during her impending visit to the Xinjiang region, which its inhabitants call East Turkistan. The Chinese Communist Party managed to stonewall Bachelet’s visit for years while it attempted to hide the evidence of genocide so dramatically uncovered by the recently released Xinjiang police files.

“Analysts called on the U.N. chief to hold the bottom line of justice and objectively see Xinjiang’s development … Alongside Bachelet’s stay in China, the U.S. and some anti-China forces are starting a new round of disinformation against China’s Xinjiang policies and to pressure the U.N. human rights chief,” the Global Times sputtered, unsubtly warning Bachelet not to pay any attention to the Xinjiang Police Files revelations.

After howling and raging at the U.S. and European officials who have responded to the Xinjiang data dump with calls for more accountability, the Chinese Communist paper settled on “notorious rumormonger” Adrian Zenz – a German anthropologist and globally respected analyst of the Uyghur genocide – as its target.

Unable to dispute the accuracy of Zenz’s report on Xinjiang, since analysts around the world worked for some four years to verify the accuracy of the records before they were released, the Global Times decided to impugn Zenz personally and question his motives.

The result was a masterpiece of bleak authoritarian comedy, as China’s propagandists insisted everyone is misunderstanding those crystal-clear shoot-to-kill orders issued to the guards at the “vocational training centers” the Uyghurs were marched into:

However, by reading through the files uploaded by Zenz online, experts found that Zenz had used his old tactics, including misinterpreting speeches and mixing local police anti-terrorist drills with police operations.

Some overseas netizens also pointed out that traditional Chinese characters that are not commonly used in the Chinese mainland appeared in some documents, which hinted at the high possibility of counterfeit. 

Despite Zenz’s interview with the BBC saying that these files are “unredacted” and “raw,” some netizens caught him on the spot for reviewing the documents on Wednesday and changes have been made after some loopholes were spotted by netizens. Moreover, a netizen “Yang Weili,” who downloaded the documents that Zenz uploaded online, posted screenshots of the file attributes and found that the documents were modified by many people, including Zenz, and Ilshat Kokbore.

The claim about “traditional” Chinese characters supposedly discrediting the documents did not appear to come from China but from a foreign apologist. Internet users dismissed the claim by noting that the characters in the documents appear to be in simplified Chinese text and those denouncing the traditional characters appear not to be able to tell the difference. Zenz himself has not commented on the claim.

The editorial also smeared Zenz as a born-again Christian who says he is “led by God” and feels he is on a “mission.”

The Global Times’ effort to debunk the Xinjiang papers was rather half-hearted because the true purpose of the editorial was to lay the groundwork for a denunciation of anything critical Bachelet says after her Xinjiang visit as the work of sinister American puppet-masters.

Communist officials pushed that line hard in press conferences this week. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin, for example, howled on Tuesday that “the U.S., Britain, and other Western countries have been repeatedly staging political farces around the U.N. high commissioner for human rights’ visit to China.”

“They have first openly pressured and strongly demanded that the high commissioner visit China and Xinjiang, and conducted the so-called investigation with presumption of guilt,” Wang sputtered.

For her part, Bachelet has been extremely deferential to the regime in Beijing during her visit, to the dismay of some human rights activists – although they seem to be holding their sharpest criticism in reserve until she gets out of China and files her report.

On Wednesday, Bachelet teleconferenced with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping — who was personally implicated in the oppression of the Uyghurs in the leaked Xinjiang Police Files — and expressed her “admiration” for China’s “efforts and achievements in eliminating poverty, protecting human rights, and realizing economic and social development,” according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s readout of the conversation. 

Communist officials responded to Bachelet’s polite statements by endlessly repeating that she must not “politicize” what she sees in the Uyghur homeland.

“The U.N. and China barred foreign media from accompanying Bachelet, and it’s unclear whom she will meet and how much access she will be granted throughout her visit,” the Associated Press noted dryly.

A Global Times editorial on Thursday insisted that since reporters for Chinese state media have visited Xinjiang and seen nothing but happy Uyghurs cavorting in schools that just happen to be surrounded by machine-gun towers and barbed wire, there is nothing for Bachelet to see:

Making a rumor simply needs lips but refuting it requires constant efforts and investigations. Over the past years, the Global Times reporters have visited Xinjiang many times to do on-the-spot interviews and we know too well about the US and West’s ability of cooking up lies without bottom lines. We found that people who were “dead” in Western media reports turned out to be alive well and many so-called “missing” people are living peaceful lives in their hometowns. So-called “detention facilities” in Western reports are in fact schools, governmental institutions, hospitals, residences, shops and so on.  

This continuous campaign of smearing Xinjiang is essentially an evil narrative which applies to the US and the West themselves, in an attempt to use Xinjiang to contain China. They translated the “vocational education and training centers” into the so-called concentration camps and fabricated lies about “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang. They deliberately revoked the historical memory of Western people, reminding them of the American Indians in the 16th century, the 19th-century African slaves, and Jews in the 20th century. Now, they want to “replant” their own black history, but the indisputable truth is: between 1953 and 2020, the population of Uygurs in Xinjiang increased from 3.6 million to 11.6 million. Is there such a “genocide” in the world?

The Global Times concluded that Zenz, the “individual specializing in smearing Xinjiang,” and his colleagues released their vast trove of extensively validated files as part of an evil Western scheme to make it politically impossible for Bachelet to report favorably on her visit.

The Chinese propagandists also tried to discredit the BBC, which was one of the first major outlets to report on the Xinjiang Police Files:

The BBC is known for its record of Xinjiang reporting. It has always been “interested” in Xinjiang, and has made a lot of false reports. The Global Times reporters in February 2021 counted the BBC’s Xinjiang-related reports for the past six months and found that about three-fourths of them are not signed, which is inconsistent with its positioning as an “internationally renowned media outlet.” On Xinjiang-related topics, the BBC is no longer a news media outlet in the general sense, but a tool for systematic ideological attacks on China. The latest reporting by the duo of BBC and Zenz is just another show they are skilled in.

The frenzied Global Times editorial slamming the BBC for printing unsigned editorials was itself unsigned, for those interested in keeping score.

Adrian Zenz, who presently lives in Minnesota, told France24 News on Wednesday he was not surprised to see Chinese propagandists attack him, but he was disappointed by how many foreign apologists are willing to help cover for the Uyghur genocide. 

“I think it’s understandable China is attacking me, they’re actively trying to cover their tracks in Xinjiang. But I was very surprised by the criticism I received by people who feel they have to defend Beijing,” he said.

France24 pointed out that China’s lie about the Uyghur concentration camps being “vocational schools” was only formulated after Zenz’s research made it impossible for Beijing to deny the camps existed at all. 

China’s propagandists are right about one thing: the release of the Xinjiang Police Files will surely increase the pressure on the U.N. Human Rights Commission to release its own much-delayed report on Xinjiang and might pressure Bachelet into publishing something other than the whitewash dreaded by human-rights groups and Uyghur activists.


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