Disinfo: Claims about genocide in Xinjiang are propaganda not backed by evidence


With China, any nuance is valid to use exaggerated qualifiers and pompous terms. China is the new enemy and, therefore, to speak of genocide is legitimate. And the excuse, in this case, is the Uyghurs.

In 'China against the Uyghurs' narrative, there is a forgotten actor: the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP). The Uyghurs, far from being an unprotected ethnic group organised only in peaceful groups, have the TIP, a tremendously extremist jihadist group, responsible for terrorist attacks and affiliated with al-Qaeda. Chinese behaviour is not different from that of other countries who pride themselves as democratic such as, for example, Spain, which, being already a democracy [after Franco’s dictatorship] and facing a similar problem, acted in a much dirtier way, arming and giving a free hand to the paramilitary group GAL, which was essentially state terrorism. But nobody has exaggerated as much as to talk of a 'Basque genocide'.

The genocide narrative, in the absence of solid arguments beyond an emotional speech without any backing, is always accompanied by mentions of the well-known re-education, de-radicalisation fields or training centres. Such secret centres, according to some researchers, that China does not even try to hide them. However, although re-education and work centres are not alien to any socialist system like China, we must stop seeing the straw in someone else's eye having a beam in our own, because in Europe there are also re-education and de-radicalisation programmes for jihadists.

For more drama, Washington spoke first of a few, then thousands and then millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps. The figure is undoubtedly too large for only radicals or members and supporters of the Turkestan Islamic Party to be repressed, but of course, where does the figure come from? How today, with high-resolution satellite images, can such large concentration camps be hidden? Logic leads to thinking that such a bombast is nothing more than propaganda. Because like propaganda, it is information without any backing.


Contrary to the claims made in this disinformation story, there is massive evidence backing denunciations about serious human rights violations in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, including satellite images, testimonies of victims, research by experts and activist groups and leaked internal documents.

There is an ongoing debate on whether these crimes against the Uyghur minority fit into the legal term of genocide, as the Parliaments of Canada and The Netherlands have officially stated, but there is no doubt about their severity. By affirming that these charges are emotional anti-Chinese propaganda not backed by solid arguments or evidence, this disinformation narrative aims to deflect China’s responsibility for these human rights violations.

Since 2018, satellite images have proven beyond doubt the existence of at least 380 concentration camps in Xinjiang, documented by the Xinjiang Data Project of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Media like the BBC and Buzzfeed also carried out their own satellite investigations on this subject.

It is true that a jihadist group called Turkistan Islamic Party is responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks. However, the number of its fighters is estimated at a few thousands, while China’s crackdown and internment of Uyghurs affected at least one million people, as part of a policy of ‘preventive repression’ that goes far beyond countering extremism and has been considered arbitrary by human rights defenders. This cannot be compared by any metrics with the de-radicalisation program,es in Western countries like France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany or the UK, which are respectful of human rights.

The comparison with Spain’s so-called “dirty war” and the state-sponsored paramilitary group GAL doesn’t stand either. The GAL killed at least 27 people and left 26 injured between 1983 and 1987, some of them innocent victims with no relation at all with Basque separatist group ETA, but it was always an illegal operation. It was fully dismantled by the Spanish justice and its main members, including its enablers and backers in the government, were tried and sentenced to prison, including the Minister of Interior of the period.

See similar examples in our database, such as that the US will use Uyghur jihadists against China, that claims about repression and concentration camps in China are exaggerations aiming to stop its influence, that human rights are a Trojan horse in the West’s hybrid warfare, that China is a victim of propaganda as it saved its economy and the lives of its citizens, or that the West is trying to eliminate Russia as a geopolitical actor under the pretext of ‘human rights’.

On 22 March 2021 the EU decided sanctions for serious human rights violations including large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China.