The Chinese Communist Party’s latest tactic to cover up the mass incarceration, brainwashing and enslavement of Muslim Uyghurs is to recruit young foreign travel bloggers to portray the homeland of Uyghurs in East Turkistan as a happy land of satisfied citizens. and productive.
Radio Free Asia (RFA) described on Sunday how “vloggers” are being employed to “echo and amplify Beijing’s massive propaganda effort to portray Uyghurs as happy and appreciative of the Chinese government”:
The videos show “foreign travellers” interviewing people in factories in Xinjiang. [the Han Chinese name for East Turkistan]with subtitles such as “Friends, it is a lie that there is a genocide of the Uyghurs”, “Everything is normal here” and “Is there a single proof that there are more than 1 million people in concentration camps?”
Vloggers who rejected the Chinese Communist Party’s proposals reported receiving offers of generous cash compensation and paid travel expenses, provided they were willing to be supervised by communist “minders,” “translators,” and “fixers” at every step. of the road.
“They organize our trip and pay for our room and board,” confirmed YouTube video blogger Lee Barrett.
RFA saw the initiative to cover up the Uyghur genocide with travel bloggers grow from big-money Chinese propaganda efforts, such as the $300 million payment to New Jersey-based Vippi Media to “create a on social media that promotes positive messages about China” by 2022. Beijing Winter Olympics and a sinister program pushing foreign students to become propaganda mouthpieces:
In the fall of 2021, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) government launched an initiative to mobilize foreign students in China to praise the “Xinjiang policy.” The effort was part of the central government’s broader plan to portray ethnic minorities in Xinjiang as happy and content, according to an article in the Xinjiang Daily.
Under the title “People of All Ethnic Groups in Xinjiang Live Happily and Joyfully,” the report cites a series of letters written by Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping asking foreign students in July 2021 to increase their understanding of “real China”, so that their knowledge would inspire others to understand the country as well.
Foreign correspondents with experience dealing with the Chinese government assured RFA that all these vlogger and student tours are heavily run by agents of the authoritarian regime, who make sure the cameras point only at what Beijing wants the world to see. , and the foreign propaganda recruits say exactly what Beijing wants them to say.
Several of the RFA correspondents said that the talent agencies that China pays to organize these tightly controlled tours know exactly what the Chinese government is doing, but play along anyway.
Some of the vloggers, on the other hand, appear to be relatively innocent chumps. Some of them seem unaware that the Xinjiang concentration camps are visible from orbitor that the Chinese government long ago stopped pretending they don’t exist, instead claiming they are huge vocational schools that happen to be surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers.
Those who ask awkward questions or try to film parts of Xinjiang that the Chinese government doesn’t want the world to see tend to be deported and barred from future lucrative paid blogging jobs.
“By going there and smiling and saying, ‘Look at all the Uyghurs dancing,’ you are helping one of the most disgusting governments in the world,” said Winston Sterzel, a South African video blogger expelled from China for refusing to accept a $2,000 contract. to make a video promoting a Chinese conspiracy theory that the Wuhan coronavirus originated in the United States.
“Xinjiang is huge, and there is no way an idiot YouTuber who can’t speak Chinese, who can’t speak the Uyghur language, who doesn’t know anything about China’s culture, can walk through this small area and claim that there is no genocide. or nothing. bad things are happening in China,” Sterzel said.
“My friends from there disappeared. What YouTubers say in the counter-propaganda videos they make about Uyghurs are lies,” said Xinjiang Victims Database founder Gene Bunin.
China managed to hold off international investigators for a decade while millions of Uyghurs were herded through Xinjiang’s concentration camps without mercy. deprogrammed of their culture and religion, but last week a five-member team from the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) finally arrived in China.
The UN team is currently in a long quarantine in Guangzhou. Next is a visit to Xinjiang that took UNHCR chief Michele Bachelet four years to negotiate with the Chinese government. Bachelet herself is supposed to visit China at some point, although the time has not yet been announced.
Skeptics point out that the UN team was only allowed to visit Xinjiang after Bachelet literally promised not to investigate (her trip must be of a strictly “friendly” nature) and there is every reason to suspect that Chinese officials will invoke the rules of coronavirus quarantine to prevent the team from visiting certain places.
Bachelet was also asked to indefinitely postpone a report on human rights in Xinjiang that was supposed to be released before the Beijing Winter Games. The report does not yet have an announced publication date, much to the dismay of human rights activists.
“The Chinese government has given no indication that the UN High Commissioner will be allowed to see anything she doesn’t want her to see. It should not fail victims of crimes against humanity and other serious abuses by allowing Chinese authorities to manipulate their visit,” said Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch.