DC-based think tank attacking China on Xinjiang has doubtful identity
Published: Mar 10, 2021 10:53 PM
People dance at a square during a culture and tourism festival themed on Dolan and Qiuci culture in Awat County of Aksu Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, Oct. 25, 2019.Photo:Xinhua

People dance at a square during a culture and tourism festival themed on Dolan and Qiuci culture in Awat County of Aksu Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, Oct. 25, 2019.Photo:Xinhua

 A so-called US "think tank" recently released report to stigmatize China on Xinjiang affairs and hype the rumor of "genocide" with cooked-up evidence, and Chinese analysts said on Wednesday that this "think tank" is actually lying to the international community and it's actually an institute that serves specific political forces rather than an independent and neutral institute.

Washington-based "think tank" Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy released a sensational report recently, with non-existent "evidence," claiming that China's Xinjiang policies constitute "genocide," and China "breached provisions of the UN Genocide Convention" in treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang, which, however, raised doubts on its real identity and intention behind its self-claimed independence. 

Established in 2019, the Newlines Institute, which was formerly named the Center for Global Policy, labeled itself a "nonpartisan think tank in Washington DC" on its website, working to "enhance US foreign policy based on a deep understanding of the geopolitics of the different regions of the world and their value systems." It said that it is funded by Fairfax University but maintains "complete operational, programmatic, and editorial independence."

Some foreign reports have revealed that the institute is not as independent and outward as itself claimed. 

The institute is a front of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) which is suspected of sponsoring terrorism, according to the Center for Security Policy. Ahmed Alwani, founder and president of the institute, became vice president of the IIIT in 2018, which was co-founded by his father, according to his personal file on the institute's website. 

The institute used to be criticized for trying to launder its credentials in 2020, when it was still named as The Center for Global Policy (CGP). Despite its outward appearance, the institute was merely "a trade name" for the IIIT, according to the Center for Security Policy. 

What makes its report more doubtful is that, rumormonger Adrian Zenz, an infamous anti-China pseudo-scholar, is one of its contributors. Zenz is behind numerous "reports" on Xinjiang, which are full of false claims, and is facing a lawsuit from companies and individuals in Xinjiang for causing reputational damage and economic losses.

This "think tank" is talking lies to create a sensation in the international community, which indicates that it is not a pure academic think tank but one with very strong political bias and is aligned with certain forces in the US and Western society to demonize and attack China, Chinese observers noted. 

Observers also noticed that the anti-China tactics used by some Western countries is now changing, from baseless accusations made by governments to smearing from so-called scholars and organizations. Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, believes that such change is to carry on the government policy of demonizing China to society, a dangerous sign for China. 

Fanning the flames internationally and within their own societies to defame China with so-called genocide in Xinjiang, the anti-China forces are trying to weaken China's soft power and pave the way for the West to take a tougher policy toward China, Li told the Global Times. But what is more important is that they are influencing the public or groups like NGOs to make them support anti-China politicians in the US and some Western countries.

"It's really challenging to resist such forces, but we need to keep refuting such false claims and talk," Li said. 

The intent of hyping Xinjiang "genocide" reports is very insidious as they are also trying to instigating the relationship between Muslims and Chinese society, so as to make Muslim countries stand by those who hold tough to China, experts noted. 

The US announced Tuesday that it has not changed its judgment that there is genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

The Uyghur's population in Xinjiang grew from 5.55 million to over 12 million over the past four decades or so. Is the doubling of population called "genocide?" Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry asked at a regular press conference on Wednesday. 

By contrast, those who learned the history of the US know that native Indians were expelled and killed during the Westward Expansion, and their population nosedived by 95 percent from 5 million in 1492 to 250,000 at the beginning of the 20th century. In another word, the population dwindled to one twentieth. It's not China, but someone else, is more suitable for the label of "genocide," Zhao said. 

Wang Yiwei, director of the institute of international affairs at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that hyping Xinjiang-related topics is not a simple human rights war, or a simple struggle for ethical and moral discourse. It is actually hard and real action that the US takes to guide the reconstruction of the international order in the post COVID-19 era, and establish a global high-tech supply chain, and lead the world.

Obviously, the US' tough tone toward China will not change and they will continue to spread rumors, Li noted, adding that China should not expect a certain degree of relaxation on this issue within the US and Western society.