Xinjiang-related databases fabricated by anti-China think tanks based on false testimonies, purely political maneuvers
Published: Apr 09, 2021 07:13 PM
Artists prepare to perform 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)

Artists prepare to perform 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 number of foreign databases on so-called issues in China's Xinjiang including the Xinjiang Victims Database have been fabricated by anti-China forces, and claim to include eyewitness accounts and testimonies; however, they are full of outright lies and are purely political in nature, based on which Western countries and media outlets make up allegations such as "genocide and crimes against humanity." These "databases" can be clearly refuted by actual figures, official records and the family members of those listed in them, said officials from Xinjiang. 

Three "databases" - the Xinjiang Data Project, Xinjiang Victims Database and Uyghur Transitional Justice Database (UTJD) - involving over 10,000 so-called "victims," include nearly 7,000 who are living normal lives and over 3,000 who have been charged with terrorist activities or other crimes, Xu Guixiang, spokesperson of the Information Office of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said during a press conference on Friday in Beijing. Meanwhile, among the so-called 380 geopolitical information datapoints unveiled by those databases about "detention facilities," 343 are obviously schools, administrative institutions, hospitals, residential areas, shops and so on; such locations account for 90 percent of the total geopolitical information in these databases, Xu noted. 

The Xinjiang official further elaborated that behind all of these so-called databases, there are anti-China organizations, figures, and even secessionist forces based in the US and other Western countries. For example, the Xinjiang Data Project was created by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which is funded by US government departments and Human Rights Watch, a notorious anti-China organization. "It's clear to all that ASPI receives financial support from the US government and multiple military merchants who encourage it to spread rumors and demonize China, meaning it constantly releases groundless and ridiculous claims," he said.  

The Xinjiang Victims Database was created by anti-China figures and organizations such as Darren Byler, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement which is financially supported by the US and Australia, and the UTJD, created by the Norwegian committee of the Xinjiang secession organization World Uyghur Congress, which is also financially supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. These databases all share a common goal: to instigate, delude and seduce overseas Uygur people to fabricate victim-like experiences with false eyewitness claims and testimonies; they aim to provide evidence for the groundless allegations about illegal detention and crackdown on ethnic peoples in Xinjiang.

"These databases involve 12,050 people; we have verified the accounts of 10,708 people in total so far and 1,342 are completely fake who do not even exist. 6,962 are living normal lives, 3,244 have been charged with terrorist acts and other criminal offenses, 238 have died of illnesses and 264 are living overseas," Xu said. 

Using false identities and information, these databases make claims about victims that don't even physically exist, Xu said. There are also some people identified who are currently under detention but live normal lives; others have been sentenced for crimes such as terrorist acts, rape, murder, drug trafficking, robbery and prostitution.

These databases use four major tactics to create sensational and "headline worthy" material, which are often picked up and used by Western media outlets such as the BBC and New York Times without in-depth cross-checking the data's authenticity. For example, the databases suggest well-known Uygur people have experienced "forced labor or detention" but actual evidence shows that they are faking their experiences to echo the claims of other anti-China forces in the Western world. 

Second, in order to obtain sympathy from the global community, some victims bring their own relatives into their stories to add weight to their false testimonies. For example, they make up lies such as claiming their "family relatives have been detained, persecuted, and they have lost contact with them." This severely misleads the public's opinion.

Third, the databases include fabricated testimonies using those who have been charged with actual criminal offenses in China, turning them into victims, despite them actually being punished for their illegal actions.

For example, Tursunay Ziawudun's testimony, a "victim" who claims to have experienced rape and forced sterilization, turned out to be nothing but a lie and false, but it was still used by the BBC and other foreign media, Elijan Anayat, spokesperson of the information office of the region's government, told a press conference. 

"First, Tursunay Ziawudun does not have any record of undergoing sterilization surgery. Second, many points contradict with her earlier interviews with foreign media," the official said. 

She told the BBC that police interrogated her about her absent husband, pushing her on the floor when she resisted and kicking her in the abdomen, according to a report in February. But when she was interviewed by US media outlet Buzzfeed a year ago, she said she wasn't beaten or abused. She also claimed she was detained from January-June 2019, but her passport was issued on March 13 - how did she pick up her passport in person during the period she claims she was detained? 

Despite obvious holes in these databases, foreign journalists continue to quote them when researching their anti-China stories or making up claims about "genocide" or "forced labor" in China. When foreign journalists actually visited the region, talked to local people, and visited the region's vocational education and training centers, they realized Xinjiang is not like that described in Western media, a source who is close to the matter but preferred not to be named told the Global Times. 

"But some foreign journalists face pressure to stay within their editorial lines, and this explains why so many Xinjiang coverages continue to be strongly biased," he said. 

Western-backed Xinjiang database projects debunked Infographic: Xu Zihe and Feng Qingyin/GT

Western-backed Xinjiang database projects debunked Infographic: Xu Zihe and Feng Qingyin/GT