The weapon of human rights
The Australian public, as well as MPs and other government officials, are being directed how to think about China by a small group of ideologically driven propagandists, funded by institutions of the section of the Anglo-American power establishment that seeks war without end, even risking nuclear warfare that would annihilate mankind. In this Postscript to the China Narrative Series, I address the weaponisation of human rights, used to justify a New Cold War with China. This is an evolving document, and may be periodically updated with new information.
(Read The China Narrative part one here; part two here; part three here; part four here; and part five here.)
The escalation of Western hostility towards China in recent years is not organic - it is part of a well-coordinated PR campaign, which coincides with changing US foreign policy towards China. In 2017, the US government’s National Security Strategy report declared China and Russia to be a strategic threat, “[challenging] American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”
In 2018, investigative journalist Whitney Webb reported Lockheed Martin was awarded over US$3 billion in government contracts in only two days, amidst US military fretting about Russian/Chinese advancement: “Since January, the US military - through the Pentagon’s 2018 National Defense Strategy - shifted gears, replacing the ‘War on Terror’ with a war against ‘great power competition’. In other words, the US military’s focus on fighting terrorism has ended, replaced with a focus on fighting what is essentially a new Cold War against Russia and China.”
In June 2020, MintPress reported: “Washington is currently ramping up hostilities with China, the Pentagon’s 2021 budget explicitly asking for extra funding to be ready for an aggressive war in Asia.”
In Australia, the majority of the reports and sources of media claims of Chinese government human rights abuses come from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an Australian government-funded defence think tank which is also funded by the US State Department, UK government, NATO and arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. ASPI is obsessed with China - its relentless “exposes” and reports always produce evidence for increased hostility and suspicion towards the Chinese government. ASPI has a hand in the government’s National Foundation for Australia China Relations, which is purportedly supposed to maintain the Australia-China relationship, but has been exposed as loaded with government-picked ASPI staffers, some of which were clandestinely funded by the US government.
Prominent members of ASPI are associated with weapons manufacturers; the global intelligence apparatus; and the Anglo-American power establishment. MintPress reports ASPI “is headed by ultrahawkish defence official Peter Jennings, who defended the Iraq War, supports regime change in other Middle Eastern states, and argued that ‘the West is setting the bar for military response too high’.” Jennings recently predicted that military conflict with China in the next few months is possible- if so, this has been aided by ASPI’s intense efforts to agitate against China. ASPI’s benefactors - arms manufacturers - are profiting handsomely from the increased international hostility towards China and Russia. War profiteers are seeing their budgets balloon with taxpayer-funded defence contracts.
To garner public support for this New Cold War, citizens have to be convinced of an evil enemy. Human rights abuse allegations are part of this war-machine propaganda.
How can we know if the relentless human rights abuse campaign levelled at China by the West is not based on a genuine concern for Chinese civilians? In my view, this can be determined by identifying incoherence; conflicts of interest; and paradox.
Why are organisations and politicians who are obsessed with China’s alleged human rights abuses also funded by war profiteers? Why are these same players silent on human rights atrocities in other countries such as Yemen; Palestine and Saudi Arabia?
Why can independent journalists consistently discredit evidence in “official” reports declaring Chinese government human rights abuses, and are consistently able to uncover the authors’ deep connections to the Anglo-American intelligence establishment and the military industrial complex?
Why does Western mainstream media consistently ignore evidence which contradicts the anti-China narrative? Why does the escalation of the anti-China PR campaign coincide with the change in official US foreign policy towards China - pivoting from the “War on Terror” to fighting a “war on greater competition” - with China and Russia specifically named as threats to US hegemony and power?
The Anglo-American ‘New Cold War’ against China and Russia needs consent from the public, who might otherwise protest hostile sanctions (which have catastrophic humanitarian consequences for everyday people) and the increasing threat of military escalation and nuclear war.
The Trump Administration is indicating it will let a major Russia-US nuclear arms treaty expire in 2021, a treaty TIME described as “the last remaining arms control agreement constraining the arsenals of the two major nuclear weapons powers”. In May 2020, former Pentagon advisor Jason Israel spoke to Sky News about the possibility of Australia being asked to host nuclear weapons for the USA—a dangerous proposition that would paint Australia a military target.
If you want to fight a New Cold War on the ridiculous basis of “competition”, how do you get the public on board? With an intensive PR campaign - war propaganda painting your adversary as evil and monstrous. The immense narrative management machine operates on a global scale and has been very effective - as reported by Mintpress: “As a result, public opinion on China has quickly soured; only nine years ago, Americans had a strongly positive view of the country. Today 66 percent dislike China and around 80 percent are ready to embrace a full-scale economic war against it.”
Central to this PR campaign is the weaponisation of human rights, an effective bludgeon to garner sympathy and outrage from the public. It whips up a willing mob to fight the establishment line - anyone who questions the narrative (or raises alarm about where we’re headed) is scorned; cancelled or labelled a “genocide denier”.
The China narrative is perpetuated by faux concern about human rights abuses touted by politicians such as warmonger and former CIA head, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Australian MP Andrew Hastie, collaborator with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS think countries can be bombed into democracy); or Canadian Nobel Peace Prize nominee Professor Irwin Cotler, regime change promoter and apologist for Israeli war crimes.
To legitimise the purported “human rights” concerns of establishment war ghouls, a vast network of corporate-backed non-profit organisations and “independent” think tanks produce reports to back up these claims. To the general public, these organisations appear trustworthy humanitarian do-gooders. In reality, these behemoth organisations are in bed with the regime-change apparatus and should rightly be identified as the “human rights cartel” of the non-profit industrial complex.
The “human rights cartel”
Billionaire-backed human rights organisations provide a useful humanitarian front for the regime change operations of the Anglo-American establishment. This “human rights cartel” uses fabricated reporting and collaborates with media, corporations and governments to run vast PR campaigns which contrive public consent for foreign wars.
Journalist Stephan Sefton reports on the “bogus fact finding" of these non-profit orgnanisations [NGOs], which “systematically omit sources and facts that contradict or exclude their preferred finding.” According to Sefton, “NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all guilty of extreme bad faith, [and] non-compliance with basic norms … In effect, they are themselves all accomplices to very serious human rights violations by Nicaragua’s US supported armed opposition … none of these organizations have adhered even to the Huridocs guidelines ... [which] propose concepts and good practice in relation to fact-finding, documentation and monitoring of human rights violations … [these] human rights organizations have categorically failed to comply...”.
Sefton writes corrupt NGOs serve in ‘psychological warfare’ operations in service of the US-UK intelligence apparatus and regime-change profiteers: “NGOs serve both as disinformation partners with Western news media and too as false interlocutors in international forums and institutions, where they attack governments challenging the U.S. elites and their allies. They actively subvert governments inside countries challenging the West … they also pervert due process in institutions like the UN, posing as civil society but in fact serving Western elite corporate imperatives, for example in international human rights and environmental mechanisms and forums…”
‘Humanitarian’ organisations provide virtuous branding for politically-motivated undertakings. Amnesty International has a long and troubling history of collaboration with US & UK intelligence. Human Rights Watch originated as U.S. anti-Soviet organisation, the Helsinki Watch Committee, co-founded by Aryeh Neier, who said: “When we created Human Rights Watch, one of the main purposes at the outset was to leverage the power, the purse and the influence of the United States to try to promote human rights in other countries.”
Journalist Max Blumenthal reports on Human Rights Watch’s direct involvement in regime change, support of military coups and approval of devastating economic sanctions in South American countries. Billionaire-backed Human Rights Watch (HRW) is described by investigative journalist Ben Norton as a “regime change-hungry” ‘human rights’ group which functions as “a revolving door between the NGO sector and the US government.” Norton documents HRW’s direct involvement in regime change operations and support of debilitating US sanctions against impoverished South American citizens.
Powerful NGOs with shadowy, often undeclared vested interests and vast swathes of corporate and government money dominate the “human rights” sector. Selective (or fabricated) reporting ignores humanitarian issues that do not contribute to a preconceived agenda. The human rights cartel are a grotesque charade, exploiting the compassion of a naive public - these seemingly benevolent NGOs are in fact industrial behemoths facilitating regime change and promoting corporate interests. Investigative journalist Cory Morningstar writes, “There is an imperative here to understand that these organizations are the key to the behavioural change for the global populace – change sought and heavily financed by foundations. … One could rightly muse that the non-profit industrial complex is the largest army in the world.”
Human rights abuses that do not fit the Anglo-American regime-change agenda are irrelevant, no matter how close to home. China’s 2019 report on distressing human rights violations in the US was likely tit-for-tat, but as independent journalist Alan Macleod points out, “China’s damning US Human Rights Report … may be propaganda, but it’s not wrong.”
In 2019, the CIVICUS Monitor downgraded Australia’s democracy from ‘open’ to ‘narrowed’, citing incursions on free speech and crackdowns on protestors. In the last few years, Australians have seen a sweeping series of dangerous laws which attack human rights and foreshadow the arrival of a police state. Why are Australian politicians, activists and media more concerned about addressing human rights in China than their own country?
Celebrities are enlisted to the PR campaign. An example is Amal Clooney, a celebrity human rights lawyer who has also formerly represented war criminals and human rights abusers - although glowing mainstream accounts of Ms Clooney do not acknowledge this “moral mercenary” side of her work.
’The Sentry’ is an NGO co-founded by Amal’s husband, George Clooney. The Sentry purportedly fights war profiteering, however its parent organisation, the Enough Project, was founded by the Center for American Progress (CAP). A 2013 investigation by Ken Silverstein revealed that CAP “takes money from corporate donors without disclosing it” and “sometimes acts as an undisclosed lobbyist for its donors.” Undisclosed benefactors of CAP’s Business Alliance, ‘a secret group of corporate donors’, included weapons manufacturers Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Electric. Author/activist David Swanson says the CAP “has backed most recent wars … It turns out Clooney opposes, not war profiteering in general, but war profiteering while African … 79% of all weapons transfers to poor nations are from the United States.” George Clooney's non-profit organisation produces reports which infer Chinese responsibility for corruption and war crimes in Sudan, while ignoring the US-UK contribution which directly contributed to war in the region. The "evidence" for Clooney's accusations against China is highly dubious, while his reports conclude with interventionist recommendations which overwhelmingly benefit US oil and mining industries.
Many of the claims of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government are supported by anecdotal, personal accounts or information published by activist organisations. Unfortunately, here the waters are muddied with a history of dubious accuracy and truthfulness of human rights abuse testimony.
Prominent Tibetan activist organisations have claimed to the United Nations that the Chinese government was forcing birth control; sterilisation and abortion on Tibetan women, to outrage in the West. The authors of a rigorous academic study debunking these claims concluded: "This study highlights the dangers of using refugee reports and anecdotal evidence to interpret highly politicised situations.”
Unfortunately, there is well-documented "asylum fraud" committed by Chinese citizens seeking permanent immigration to the United States. Seeking asylum has turned into an industry involving lawyers and non-profit organisations, using "fabricated narratives of persecution to counterfeit supporting documents and invented witness testimony."
An example of the dangers of relying primarily on anecdotes and personal testimonies to respond punitively to human rights abuse allegations was covered in 2015 by the Guardian: "Why do North Korean defector testimonies so often fall apart? Cash incentives and the western media’s endless appetite for shocking stories encourage refugees to exaggerate", with some horror stories, told by discredited refugees in testimony to the US Congress, exposed as fraudulent. The outcome of sanctions against North Korea, partly as punishment for the government's human rights abuses, have had a catastrophic impact on the human rights of everyday citizens.
Unfortunately, human rights abuse claims have proven a useful lever to garner public support for sinister agendas. In 1990, the US House of Representatives Human Rights Caucus heard false testimony from a 15 year old Kuwaiti girl, who said that Iraqi soldiers had invaded Kuwait and “tore hundreds of babies from hospital incubators and killed them.” These blatant lies were arranged by a US PR firm, which was hired to rally the US public into supporting the Gulf War. It worked. There is a terrible irony in going to war, inflicting immense suffering on ordinary people, in order to fight human rights abuses.
This introduction, exposing the weaponisation of human rights in order to shape public opinion and justify endless wars, is intended to provide a critical framework for approaching allegations of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses - particularly when these claims are relentlessly promoted by organisations linked to the Anglo-American power establishment; the global intelligence apparatus; and the military industrial complex.
It may be useful to remember that incoherence is key - if there is hypocrisy, there may be an agenda. This human rights crusade is not genuine. The same players who lied us into committing the war crime of the century, declaring the murder of half a million Iraqi children “worth it”, are the same players relentlessly accusing the Chinese government of human rights abuses. The warmongering power establishment's lying is pathological, yet Stockholm Syndrome-style, we keep believing it.
However sincere your intentions; however noble your cause - if you find yourself on the same side as the war machine, it is time to pause and reflect.
Evidence for US media and government allegations of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses of Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Province comes primarily from two studies. Independent journalists at the Grayzone have reported on the “shoddy methodology” and bias inherent in both reports. Mainstream western media has falsely claimed the United Nations confirmed the Chinese government is detaining up to 1 million Uyghur Muslims in “internment camps”—this "confirmation" never happened.
In Australia, a primary source of allegations of Chinese government human rights abuses against Uyghurs come from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an Australian government-funded defence think tank which is also funded by the US State Department, UK government and NATO. ASPI produces reports condemning the Chinese government for alleged abuses of Uyghurs, but their faux concern for human rights is belied by the fact they are funded by war profiteers. One cannot escape the troubling impression of a human rights crusade funded with blood money.
Reams of anecdotal evidence of human rights abuses of Uyghurs comes from activists and organisations under the umbrella of the World Uyghur Congress network.
The Grayzone has exposed the World Uyghur Congress as a US government-backed separatist organisation “dedicated to destabilizing the Xinjiang region of China and ultimately toppling the Chinese government”. The organisation’s executive director, Rushan Abbas, was identified by the Grayzone as “the US national security state’s favourite “human rights activist.” Abbas’ own bio (now scrubbed) detailed her “extensive experience working with US government agencies, including Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of State, and various US intelligence agencies.” Abbas previously worked as a translator in Guantanamo Bay, where Uyghurs were held by the US in detention for twelve years without trial, although the US Department of Defence recognised they did not pose any terrorist threat to the United States.
From its inception, the World Uyghur Congress has been funded and backed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The CIA-linked National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a US government funded organisation which purportedly “promotes democracy” overseas, while actually agitating for regime change and trying to overthrow governments the Anglo-American establishment doesn’t like. There is a long and well-documented history of NED’s leading role in funding regime change and colour revolutions, through its large grants to “activist” organisations which hide behind a front of “human rights” or “democracy”, all the while acting as agents provocateurs of a foreign (US) government.
NED declares democracy “has acquired the status of the only broadly legitimate form of government”, and clearly has no issue assisting with overthrowing foreign governments they don’t approve of. NED is widely criticised for its leading role in a litany of coups and regime-change operations in countries the USA, UK and their subservient allies consider adversaries. In 1993 Barbara Conry, a US foreign policy analyst at the CATO Institute, said NED used taxpayer funds to “harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements”. NED’s activities would “otherwise be possible only through a CIA covert operation”. Such activities “would be illegal for foreign groups operating in the United States”, Conry noted, yet NED is “exempt from nearly all political and administrative controls.”
In 1991, NED founding member Allen Weinstein declared: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
It is worth noting that China-agitators, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, have received funding from one of NED's strategic partners, the US government-funded 'Institute for War and Peace Reporting', in a payment which was never publicly disclosed.
NED has funnelled millions of dollars into Uyghur activist organisations for many years, since at least 2005. The US government-backed World Uyghur Congress was awarded NED’s 2019 “Democracy Award”. NED is part of the Project 2049 Institute - a hawkish US anti-China think tank also funded by the US State Department and arms manufacturers, which is used as an authoritative source on China in US media. In 2006, a NED report noted Chinese news media [correctly] associated American NGOs with the European colour revolutions, which, according to NED, had “alarmed authoritarian governments, alerting them to the precariousness of their hybrid, pseudo-democratic regimes”. NED declared democracy "has acquired the status of the only broadly legitimate form of government", but denied they were involved in regime change operations and criticised countries deemed to be resisting NED's "democracy promotion" work.
Prominent representatives of the US government have thrown their weight behind the Uyghur and Xinjiang allegations, passing legislation hostile towards China, purportedly in protest to human rights abuses by the Chinese government. This is in spite of the fact that, concurrently, the US and its allies are actively contributing to catastrophic human rights crisis in countries such as Yemen and Syria.
There are persistent claims that the Chinese government has unlawfully detained Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Province in concentration camps, claimed to be up to a million people.
The CIA-linked National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has funnelled millions of dollars into the Xinjiang Region for successive years (from at least 2005). In 2010 NED particularly prioritised “the rights of ethnic minorities, with projects focused on Xinjiang/East Turkistan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet.”
NED uses activist organisations as a “pro-democracy” or “human rights” front to funnel money into agitating, destabilising and attempted overthrow of foreign governments the Anglo-American power establishment doesn’t like. Historically, this includes China—NED backed activist organisations were involved in a 2011 attempted "Chinese Jasmine Revolution", and both NED and the CIA were heavily involved in the Tiananmen Square protests (see below, Tiananmen).
The Grayzone has revealed Western claims of forced labour in Xinjiang are primarily promoted by arms manufacturers; the US government and NATO to drive “[a] Cold War PR blitz”. Western media outlets rely on evidence produced by reports which “rely on a series of questionable studies by purportedly “independent, nonpartisan” think tanks and crank experts backed by the West’s military-intelligence apparatus.”
As reported by the Grayzone, “The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) are the main institutions responsible for the forced labor studies. The reports have also relied heavily on an evangelical religious fanatic billed as the “leading expert” on Xinjiang, Adrian Zenz, who has said he is “led by God” on a “mission” against China.” Shortly after the release of these reports, US lawmakers introduced the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which would effectively ban all imports from Xinjiang."
The Grayzone dissects ASPI’s report alleging forced labor camps in Xinjiang, commenting on ASPI’s “highly suspect claims”, noting that ASPI’s report “presents no original evidence from workers who have been forced to work in this program, but cites anonymous “testimonies” from an obscure, far-right online blog”. The Grayzone exposes mainstream Australian media outlets “often attempt to manipulate Chinese-Australians into echoing the official narrative on China.”
ASPI recently released a project allegedly involving “months/years” of work, the Xinjiang Data Project. The interactive map allegedly exposed concentration camps in the Xinjiang Province region, using analysis of satellite imagery to back up their claims. Within hours of publishing, serious doubts were cast upon the journalistic integrity and accuracy of ASPI’s claims, including by Professor Chengxin Pan from Deakin University. ASPI’s analysts viciously attacked the Professor for his analysis, demanding he retract his remarks. Professor Deakin commented, “… it's you & your ASPI colleagues (a whole group of you) who tagged my University, called my tweets 'misinformation', 'disgrace', made a fuss about me as an academic in an Australian university, and conveyed veiled threats. Is all this your modus operandi as ‘researchers'?"
The Grayzone expose reports: “The final study accusing China of implementing “forced labor” programs against Uyghur Muslims was a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) entitled, “Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains”. Like ASPI, CSIS is a militaristic think tank funded by the US government and a host of military allies … CSIS also receives significant funding from a number of weapons manufacturers, fossil fuel corporations, and banks. … In its “forced labor” report, CSIS offers little to no new information, relying instead on the work of Adrian Zenz and undisclosed interviews with anonymous “detainees who were forced to work.” While the Western public encounters stories about alleged “forced labor” as shocking journalistic exposés, they are, in fact, the direct product of an orchestrated PR campaign backed by US and EU governments, NATO, and arms manufacturers – all of which stand to benefit handsomely from the intensification of a new Cold War.”
Western media does not report on the Uyghur separatist terrorism that precipitated China’s security crackdown in Xinjiang, following years of CIA-linked NED funding into the Xinjiang region and Uyghur separatist groups. This would appear to follow a pattern - there is a long history of the CIA/Anglo-American governments arming and supporting terrorist groups, which then wreak havoc and devastation on civilians, destabilising countries to the strategic benefit of the Anglo-American power establishment.
The Australian Alert Service documented Western media’s refusal to accurately acknowledge the extent of mass murder of Chinese civilians by Uyghur terrorists from 2008-15, reporting: “The main Uighur separatist group in Xinjiang, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) a.k.a. Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), has been allied with al-Qaeda since at least the 1990s, and was responsible for virtually all bomb, knife and vehicular attacks on civilians and police across China in 2008-16. The ETIM/TIP is proscribed as a terrorist organisation in both the USA and UK, but both countries continue to support the group to destabilise Xinjiang, albeit Beijing’s security measures have prevented any attacks there in almost three years.”
According to the Alert Service, the ABC "not only stooped to implicitly justifying the mass murder of innocent civilians by Uighur separatist terrorists in 2008- 15, but reported the largest such attack in so misleading a manner as to invert reality.” The ABC did not mention the history of ETIM terrorist connections to al-Qaeda offshoots in Syria, “whence an estimated five to six thousand (at least) are even now seeking a way home to wreak fresh havoc in Xinjiang.”
The Alert Service noted the ABC’s adhering to the “Anglo-American propaganda line”, legitimising “multinational jihadist and mercenary terror gangs as the “opposition” forces in a “civil war”.”
The East Turkistan region has become an apparent focal point for the US government's agitation against China. In 2017, Salih Hudayar, a Uyghur American “business consultant-turned-political & human rights activist” founded the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM), a non-profit organisation that produces reports alleging the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in East Turkistan.
ETNAM is Washington DC based, and is advised by ex-US national security official Anders Corr, who is a founding member of the hawkish neoconservative foreign policy organisation, the Committee on the Present Danger: China.
27 year-old Salih Hudayar recently completed a degree in National Security Policy Studies at the American Military University, and has lived in the US since he was a child. For the two years prior to his founding of ETNAM, Hudayar worked as a freelance "international consultant and interpreter" in Washington DC, where he "[facilitated] deals and new business opportunities between companies, organizations, and governments".
In November 2019, Hudayar was elected as Prime Minister of the US-based East Turkistan Government-In-Exile.
The East Turkistan Government-In-Exile was declared in Washington DC in 2004 by members of the Uyghur/East Turkistani community. It maintains that it is the “democratically elected official body representing East Turkistan and its people” and that its mission is to “end China’s occupation and colonization of our Homeland and restore the independence of East Turkistan”.
In a 2017 policy proposal, Hudayar “puts forth the argument that it is in the interest of the American Grand Strategy in Central Asia … to consider the national aspirations of the Uyghurs in order to counter China’s aggressive expansion and promote peace and democracy internationally.” (Emphasis added)
Hudayar acknowledges Uyghurs “have increasingly been turning to violent methods” but states this in response to growing repression and to “counter China’s efforts to eradicate them.”
Investigative journalist Max Blumenthal writes Hudayar is the "self-proclaimed "Prime Minister" of "East Turkistan"", who lobbies the US government to "recognize China's Xinjiang as an independent ethno-state and instrumentalize Uyghurs as a proxy force."
Blumenthal notes, "Hudayar promoted the Uyghur separatist cause at Frank Gaffney’s neocon front in 2019", referring to Hudayar's appearance at the 'Committee on the Present Danger: China', a revived Cold War-Era anti-communist organisation, historically stacked with neoconservative foreign policy hawks and now repurposed and championed by the likes of anti-CCP zealot, Steve Bannon. As noted above, Hudayar's organisation, ETNAM, is advised by Anders Corr, a founding member of Committee on the Present Danger: China.
Frank Gaffney is one of America's most notorious islamaphobes and is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist. In 2017, the New York Times reported on Gaffney: "By his account, potential enemies are hidden in plain sight — praying in mosques, recruiting at Muslim student associations and organizing through mainstream Muslim rights groups — and are engaged in “this stealthy, subversive kind of jihad.”
“They essentially, like termites, hollow out the structure of the civil society and other institutions,” Mr. Gaffney said, “for the purpose of creating conditions under which the jihad will succeed.”
Many East Turkistanis and Uyghurs are of Muslim faith. Why was the East Turkistan Government-In-Exile's "Prime Minister", Salih Hudayar, associating his cause with a notorious islamaphobe such as Gaffney?
In 27 May 2020, Hudayar urged US Congress to recognise East Turkistan as occupied country.
Anders Corr, US national security official and advisor to the ETNAM, also states that East Turkistan is an “occupied nation”.
The significance of this can be seen in a 2017 statement from Hudayar - who implies that Uyghur separatists may be used to further US government interests: “The US can utilise the Uyghurs, just like the Kurds in the middle east to preserve US interests in Central Asia and Asia-Pacific in the long run”.
The implications of the Washington DC-based East Turkistan Government-In-Exile's position are troubling. The Washington DC-based ETNAM's aim is to "end China's occupation and colonization" of the East Turkistan region (ie overthrow the Chinese government), with apparent support from their US national security-linked advisor, Anders Corr. Their Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, claims his aims are aligned with "the interest of the American Grand Strategy in Central Asia" and has advocated utilising the Uyghurs to "preserve US interests" in the region.
As reported in the Australian Alert Service, efforts from the Anglo-American power establishment and their allies to attempt to marginalise China over alleged human rights abuses of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province backfired in 2019, “after almost twice as many countries, influential Muslim-majority nations among them, not only supported Beijing’s programs in Xinjiang but also demanded the Anglo-led bloc cease using feigned concern for “human rights” as a pretext for interference in other nations’ affairs”.
In 2019, leaders of 37 Muslim countries, including US allies, were signatories to a counter-narrative letter to the United Nations which sharply contradicted Western claims of Chinese human rights abuses of Uyghurs. These ambassadors were invited to the Xinjiang region to witness the outcomes of China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation programs. The diplomats then called on “relevant countries to refrain from employing unfounded charges against China based on unconfirmed information before they visit Xinjiang.”
There are sensationalised claims that the Chinese government is engaging in forced organ harvesting of practitioners of the spiritual movement Falun Gong, mostly perpetuated by Falun Gong-linked sources. Falun Gong is a secretive organisation, and a recent ABC documentary revealed indications of the dubious credibility of their claims. Part of Falun Gong’s religious cosmology includes their leader’s epic eternal battle against the evil Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is well known that Falun Gong is open about its desire to destroy the CCP and overthrow the Chinese government. The extraordinarily well-funded Falun Gong media empire includes the Epoch Times, an avidly pro-Trump publication which ASPI now openly supports. A Grayzone expose revealed Falun Gong’s followers believe “Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the [Chinese] Communist Party.”
The editorial content of the Epoch Times is relentless anti-China propaganda. The Epoch Times makes sensational claims, which includes unsourced conspiracy theories and odd pseudoscience. (Such as an Epoch Times article detailing Satan’s plan to make us into communists.)
The Grayzone reported the evidence for claims of the Chinese government’s forced organ harvesting comes from the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC). Key ETAC personnel are closely involved with the Epoch Times, with the Grayzone’s expose concluding “ETAC is very clearly a Falun Gong front group.”
The Australian Alert Service has documented the British establishment operative heading the ETAC's "China Tribunal", Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, who has "made a career of peddling false charges against Anglo-American geopolitical targets". Nice has previously levelled discredited claims against Yugoslavia and Syria, and is now heading a new "Independent UK Tribunal" to probe Uyghur genocide claims, under request from the World Uyghur Congress.
A 2017 expose from the Washington Post reported on the Chinese government’s previous practise of harvesting organs from prisoners condemned to death by criminal courts, in an unethical system which was abhorred internationally. The Post reports on the history of the Chinese government’s change of practice, to a now voluntary organ donor register. The Chinese government’s declaration that organ harvesting of prisoners no longer occurs is still met with disbelief in some Western countries. The Post reports that in 2016, “the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning “state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting” in China … and accusing the Communist Party of killing prisoners of conscience — held in secret, outside the usual criminal prisons — to feed the transplant industry.” When she introduced the House resolution condemning China’s organ-transplant system, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen "accused the “ruthless dictatorship” running China of persecuting peaceful practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, and of the “sickening and unethical practice” of harvesting organs without consent.”
However, the Post declared its own research “undercut these allegations”, referring to data on immunosuppressant drug consumption in China (drugs which prevent patients rejecting donated organs), which clearly reflected the Chinese government was telling the truth about the number of organ transplant operations conducted. The Post noted that even lawyers who formerly represented Falun Gong members reject allegations that practitioners’ organs were being harvested.
Falun Gong has a long history of support from the neoconservative, war-hawkish arm of the US foreign policy establishment, including longstanding connections with members of the Cold War-Era anti-communist organisation, the Committee on the Present Danger, which has recently been repurposed to agitate against China; and Falun Gong-backed organisations have also received millions of dollars in US government funding.
It is worth noting that there is no Anglo-American outcry over the many years of documentation of Israeli organ harvesting, involving “Israeli governmental funding and the participation of high Israeli officials, prominent Israeli physicians, and Israeli government ministries”, with the Israeli government subsidising citizens’ “transplant holidays”. International experts have acknowledged Israel is “at the top” of organ trafficking, in a pyramid system which involves brokers, bank accounts, recruiters, translators and travel agents who set up visas for “organ tourism”. Gruesome reporting documents organ theft by Israeli trafficking rings and forced organ harvesting of Palestinians.
The White Helmets are a well-propagandised group masquerading as human rights advocates or a ‘civil- defence organisation’, while committing atrocities; pro-interventionist lobbying; and essentially acting as a US-UK proxy for regime-change war in Syria. The White Helmets are the "human rights" darling of the West, with their own Netflix documentary promoted by Amal and George Clooney, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
A number of investigative journalists and geopolitical analysts have exposed the White Helmets as a US-UK funded and Israeli-supported organisation linked to extremist jihadist groups, participating in ethnic cleansing and massacres of Syrian civilians, including the abduction and murder of children. Western mainstream media claims the White Helmets were victims of a Russian "disinformation campaign that positions them as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organisation.”
Investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley reported on allegations the White Helmets were involved in organ trafficking: "A recent panel at the UN Security Council in New York revealed the shocking evidence of White Helmet involvement in organ trafficking in Syria. The lucrative trade of human body parts, bones, blood and organs is one of the most protected and hidden harvests of war." Beeley writes that not one mainstream media outlet reported on this. Beeley's reporting documents evidence presented to the United Nations by the Director for the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, Maxim Grigoriev: "People evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive," Grigoriev said quoting a witness who lives in an area where the White Helmets operated. "For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing."
Hong Kong protests
The recent “democracy” protests in Hong Kong were accompanied by a wave of Western censure towards the Chinese government. The mainstream narrative presented to Western audiences is vastly different from the findings of independent investigations.
Independent journalism has revealed that leaders of the Hong Kong protests were closely involved with Washington DC, collaborating with US neoconservatives to “preserve the US’s own political and economic interests.” Hong Kong democracy activist organisations have received significant funding from the NED.
Prominent figures in the Hong Kong “democracy movement” were pictured meeting with US national security politicians and with other US-backed regime-change provocateurs, including Ukrainian Neo-Nazis, who flew to Hong Kong to join the anti-China protests.
The Hong Kong “democracy” protests, with their “made-for-tv” pro-American narrative and denouncement of the Chinese government, were described by the Grayzone as a “carefully managed narrative of the US government and its unofficial media apparatus, which have portrayed the protests as an organic “pro-democracy” expression of grassroots youth. However, a look beneath the surface of this oversimplified, made-for-television script reveals that the ferociously anti-Chinese network behind the demonstrations has been cultivated with the help of millions of dollars from the US government…”
A relentless Western media campaign of biased reporting ignored facts: China’s national security law for Hong Kong - although adversely impacting civil liberties as all recent national security legislation has done - was actually less draconian than similar legislation in Australia, Britain or the United States.
The Australian Alert Service reported the forces behind Hong Kong’s “increasingly violent disruptions” openly began to foment overthrow of the government, “on the model of the November 2013-February 2014 “Maidan” coup d’état that saw US-backed neo-Nazi militias oust the elected president of Ukraine. … the trend in this direction had already become evident, as what began in late March as a peaceful protest movement was taken over by violent anti-China radicals supported by the US and British governments, including via the US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Now, the Anglo-American empire’s desire for a bloody regime change is right out in the open, after its pet “democracy” and “human rights” activists organised mass public screenings of a 2015 documentary that whitewashes both the American hand behind the Maidan coup and the neo-Nazis who carried it out, glorifying it instead as a victory for democracy, in a bid to inspire Hongkongers into a repeat performance.”
Hong Kong citizens and reporters who spoke out against the “fascist and violent elements of what is supposedly a noble fight against repression and a heroic struggle for greater freedom and democracy in this city” received death threats. One man was set on fire. Reporter Yonden Lhatoo asked, “What kind of dystopia is this, where champions of democracy tolerate no dissenting views?”
The Grayzone reported the protests “degenerated into disturbing scenes. In recent days, hundreds of masked rioters have occupied the Hong Kong airport, forcing the cancellation of inbound flights while harassing travelers and viciously assaulting journalists and police."
Although there were widespread claims of Hong Kong police brutality in mainstream media, another Grayzone expose contradicted this: “Yet after a year of protests in Hong Kong — during which time protesters have harassed and taken journalists hostage, ganged up on and beaten countless defenseless individuals, burned people alive, and murdered an elderly street cleaner by throwing a brick at his head — police have yet to kill a single protester or impose any curfew in the city. … This is in spite of the fact that Hong Kong’s protesters have explicitly aimed to use aggressive provocations to “get the police to hit [them]” to win international sympathy, including hurling bricks, gasoline bombs, and flaming arrows at officers. In fact, the Chinese army has never been deployed to protests, except when soldiers left their barracks on one occasion, unarmed and dressed in shorts and t-shirts, to clean debris left on the streets.”
The Grayzone revealed that a prominent Hong Kong protestor and anti-China activist, the “darling of the Western press” who “disseminates a constant stream of content hyping up the Hong Kong “freedom struggle” while clamoring for the US to turn up the heat on China”, was actually an American disseminating “anti-China propaganda behind the cover of yellow face”. The outed so-called activist "live-tweets during protests, posts incendiary commentary about the Communist Party of China (CPC), likens the Hong Kong “struggle” to Tibet and Xinjiang, begs the United States to ram through sanction bills like the Hong Kong Safe Harbor and Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Acts”.
There are ongoing allegations of the Chinese government’s alleged human rights abuses and repression of Tibetans. However, unbeknown to most, in the 1950s the US government authorised the CIA’s covert assistance to the “Tibetan internal resistance movement”: providing logistical support and training in guerrilla warfare; paying US$15,000 a month to the Dalai Lama, according to CIA veteran John Kenneth Knaus; and running a propaganda campaign, all intended to “confront, thwart or harass” the Chinese communist government. The program ran for almost two decades.
In a 1998 BBC-funded documentary on the matter, “The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet”, a supporter of the Dalai Lama is interviewed and reveals a violent attitude which belies the typical Western view of peaceful, repressed Tibetan Buddhists. The interviewee declares the Communist Chinese are enemies of Buddhism: “Since they were enemies of Buddhism, we never felt it was a sin to kill them. In fact, we were happy to kill as many as we could. When we kill an animal, we say a prayer. But when we kill a Chinese, no prayer came to our lips.”
Today, separatist activities and regime change operations are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a non-profit organisation which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in US government funding, to “promote democracy” overseas.
In 2019, NED President Carl Gershmann presented “A strategy for the international defence of Tibet”. Gershmann declared that China was culturally destroying the Tibetan people, in actions that he considered a crime against humanity. “As we think about how to respond, we need to bear in mind Beijing’s vulnerabilities. … It is now the job of the Tibetan movement and its supporters among parliamentarians and human rights defenders to mobilize an international campaign defending Tibetan rights and identity based on historical truth and international law. … At stake is not just the fate of the people of Tibet but also the future of world peace.” (An ironic statement, given the NED’s years of fomenting violent regime change and overthrow of foreign governments.)
The NED has poured millions of dollars into Tibet activist organisations over years, and presents democracy awards to Tibet activists. The Dalai Lama was the recipient of NED’s 2010 Democracy Service Medal.
In the 1990s-2000s, prominent Tibetan activist organisations (Washington DC-based and NED-funded) told the United Nations that the Chinese government was engaged in forcing birth control, sterilisation and abortion on Tibetan women. These accounts contributed significantly to the world's perception of China's involvement in Tibet, however these claims were discredited by academic research.
It is important to acknowledge that there are highly polarised accounts of Tibet’s history. Representatives of China have alleged that in 1959 [note - during the period of CIA funding of Tibetan militants] “the Dalai Lama and his supporters started an armed rebellion in a desperate attempt to preserve Tibet's feudal serfdom and split the region from China,” according to a 2009 account from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago. “Even from historical books written by Western scholars, people can draw the conclusion that Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama clique was a society of feudal serfdom that trampled human rights and easily reminded visitors of the dark age of medieval Europe. The feudal serfdom had truly brought "untold suffering and destruction" to the serfs and slaves who accounted for 90 percent of the then population. The slavery Tibet was just "hell on earth" as Carles Bell, who lived in Lhasa as a British trade representative in the 1920s, observed that the Dalai Lama's theocratic position enabled him to administer rewards and punishments as he wished. That was because he held absolute sway over both this life and the next of the serfs and coerced them with that power. In 1959, after the failed rebellion by the Dalai Lama and his followers, the central government of China carried out the long-delayed emancipation of millions of serfs and slaves in Tibet.” The Consulate's statement documents measurable economic, social and political improvements in Tibet after 1959, including an increased life expectancy from 35.5 years in 1959 to 67 years as of 2009.
The Consulate stated: “Why then such a distortion of historical facts by the so-called Nobel Peace Prize winner? [The Dalai Lama.] Because it is only through the distortion of history could he deceive Western audiences and disguise his true intentions. Since their exile, the Dalai Lama and his followers have never stopped pursuing activities to split Tibet from China and restore their theocratic rule despite his claims to the opposite.”
As referenced in “Dissidents or Separatists?”, accounts of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in mainstream Western media differ wildly from independent reporting on the matter.
Three years before Tiananmen, George Soros, billionaire backer of European so-called “colour revolutions” through his powerful organisations, which have toppled governments targeted by the US and UK neoconservative agenda, had endowed his “Fund for the Reform and Opening of China” with US$1 million (a large sum in China at the time). By 1989 Chinese authorities suspected Soros’s funds were a CIA tool, an allegation which had previously surfaced in 1987. As journalist Geoffrey Roberts has reported, events around Tiananmen had the flavour of a colour revolution: a top CIA operative experienced in regime change, James Lilley, stationed as US ambassador to China; CIA logistical support of student protestors; Gene Sharp, author of the colour revolution manual, moved to Beijing by the CIA; and US government-funded Voice of America radio broadcasting information on the protests towards Chinese audiences. NED opened two offices in Beijing the year before Tiananmen, and mailed thousands of incendiary letters from Washington to China. After the protests, the CIA’s Operation Yellowbird exfiltrated four hundred Tiananmen leaders to Western countries.
The Anglo-American establishment uses references to the Tiananmen protests to bludgeon China’s public image, while completely ignoring the CIA’s well-documented involvement in the matter. In June 2020, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, met with 1989 Tiananmen Square activists, and made speeches condemning Tiananmen to agitate against China. The Tiananmen activists Pompeo publicly praises have a long history of NED funding; were openly supportive of the Iraq War and support Western colonialism in China.
Western media also does not report accounts of the violence of the Tiananmen student protestors/CIA-backed agents provocateurs (who set reportedly trucks full of soldiers on fire, incinerating the occupants). Nor does it acknowledge what journalist Godfree Roberts reports, that “The BBC’s Beijing correspondent, James Miles, confessed to having “Conveyed the wrong impression, and that there was no massacre in Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops…There was no Tiananmen Square massacre”. But, even after The Columbia Journalism Review discredited the massacre story and WikiLeaks released Ambassador James Lilley’s July 12 (a month after the events) cable [which confirmed there was no massacre], few editors were interested.”
Human rights activists
As I have referenced in Dissidents and Separatists, there is a vast network of Chinese “dissidents” - activists; lawyers; artists and intellectuals - who provide western media with ongoing “evidence” of human rights abuses by the Chinese government. These activists are part of organisations funded by the NED and are often closely connected to the Washington DC power establishment.
An example is outlined by the Grayzone, in their expose on the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), an organisation which campaigns against the Chinese government for alleged human rights abuses. The Grayzone revealed that CHRD is actually based in the US, in the same building as Human Rights Watch - a billionaire-backed “human rights” organisation which actually serves as a revolving door with the US government and a front for regime change operations. CHRD is funded by US government grants and funding from the the US-funded regime change-agitators, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
As detailed above, prominent anti-China Uyghur activist organisations are closely linked to the US intelligence apparatus. In “Espionage and interference”, I documented two prominent Chinese-Australian “democracy activists” who are closely aligned with both this network and the Australian intelligence apparatus. One of these “activists” has been formally charged with espionage by the Chinese government.
This article intends to present a challenge to the one-sided narrative about the Chinese government’s alleged human rights abuses, which are providing the pretext for a New Cold War, rapidly developing into imminent danger of escalation into hot war.
China is an authoritarian country. However, ignoring; ridiculing; and blatantly lying about China’s strides in progressing human rights in the last forty years - social, economic and political - is counter-productive behaviour for people professing to care about human rights.
Representatives of the German government describe its productive and mutually respectful relationship with the Chinese government, whole continuing to speak forthrightly about human rights issues. The Australian government claims it "firmly believes that non-confrontational, cooperative dialogue is the most effective way to address the human rights situations in other countries", yet escalating hostility, instigated by Australian media; politicians and our domestic spy agency, has poisoned the Australia-China relationship, preventing cooperative dialogue. Unfortunately, academics who once displayed a balanced, intelligent and nuanced understanding of Chinese culture appear to have been coopted into the anti-China narrative, to literally equating the Chinese government with Nazis.
The anti-China narrative is an intensive PR campaign intended to shape public opinion, which can not be permitted to go off-script. For example, a recent documentary detailing China’s poverty elimination program was pulled from the US government-funded PBS shortly after airing, because it was produced in conjunction with an outlet associated with the Chinese government. (Why was US government funding ok, but not Chinese?)
The documentary, “Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty”, included a segment on investment improving the lives of citizens in Xinjiang. Ironically, US sanctions and boycotts of businesses in Xinjiang, justified by reports from the likes of ASPI, will prevent poverty alleviation in that region and set human rights progression backwards. We are at the point where no good story about China’s progress is permitted to be shown to Western audiences - censorship will even extend to a documentary on poverty elimination for tens of millions of people.
The US government’s push to sanction Chinese technology companies for their alleged connection to human rights abuses in Xinjiang destroys their viability and ability to participate in global trade. Carl Zha, host of the Silk and Steel Podcast which discusses history, culture and current events of China, says: “The end goal is [to] burn China’s tech industry into the ground.” Here it is evident the New Cold War is playing out - destroying the livelihoods of Chinese citizens, who are collateral damage in the Anglo-American war on “great power competition”.
Sanctions are a weapon, increasingly leveraged in the New Cold War against China.
An Australian government committee is currently considering legislation which would allow sanctions to be levelled against China for alleged human rights abuses or corruption, on the basis of “evidence” produced by biased non-profit organisations and anecdotes from hostile activists.
The hypocrisy of the Australian government sanctions inquiry is evidenced by the fact the loudest cheerleaders for these sanctions (and the inquiry’s star witnesses) are funded by arms manufacturers; supported military coups; have previously justified war crimes; and directly supported terrorist groups.
Sanctions have a catastrophic humanitarian impact on everyday people, a fact conveniently ignored by government members of this inquiry - because this is not important. Sanctions are a weapon that use “human rights” campaigns as shiny branding for acts of war.
We are being instructed how to think about China. This is an intensive global PR campaign, and as such, there is a goal at the end of it. We are being herded, yet again, towards consenting to acts of war against people who have done nothing to us.
If this PR campaign is successful, the resulting misery; poverty and suffering will mean nothing to the entities promoting the China-is-evil narrative. This human rights crusade, championed by war profiteers and the regime-change apparatus, is not genuine.
We’ve been burned before - we no longer believe claims of ‘weapons of mass destruction’, but we are falling for the ‘weapon of human rights’.
In this Postscript to the China Narrative Series, I address the weaponisation of human rights, used to justify a New Cold War with China.
(Read The China Narrative part one here; part two here; part three here; part four here; and part five here.)
By Melissa Harrison