'Independent Xinjiang report' full of bias, dubious sources; Nordic think tank questions its credibility after Western media's problematic coverage
Published: May 17, 2021 08:08 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 . File photo: Xinhua

A Sweden-based think tank has conducted an analysis on a previous "genocide" report on Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which was covered by many Western media outlets, but turned out to be neither independent nor trustworthy as the original report claimed itself to be.

The analysis was compiled by the Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research (TFF) in a rebuttal to the original March report by the American Newlines Institute, together with Canada's Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. 

The TFF's analysis found the report to be a product of cooperation among individuals from six intertwined interest groups, which are near-governmental rather than non-governmental. The TFF named them as Christian fundamentalist groups, hawkish US foreign policy conservatives, the Muslim Brotherhood, extreme anti-Communists, the pro-Israel lobby and the politicized human rights machinery where human rights concerns tend to serve various types of interventions by the US. 

The TFF revealed the connections, if not collusion, via the relations of the two institutes on the front stage and their sponsors and affiliates behind them. 

Given such findings, it remains "problematic" to credit such a thing to be a report published by independent scholars from an independent institute, the TFF noted. 

The report was problematic as it did not present original materials but concocted fake information and cited dubious sources. It also significantly and systematically chose biased sources and deliberately left out important perspectives, theories, concepts and facts, the TFF found. 

Photo: Screenshot of TFF website

Photo: Screenshot of the Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research's website

The TFF analysis also pointed out that the report in question asserted it had examined 10,000 testimonies from Uygur witnesses and accounts from detainees, but  it did not present them for double checking but only offered a conclusion. 

Participants in the report emphasized how large the variety of materials they collected and analyzed was. But none of the assertions they made were documented there. The references were just cited as facts. There is no discussion of methods, data sources or how the report's fact base was compiled and organized.

In addition to its huge academic flaws as a "report," the TFF pointed out how the contributors to the report omitted the fact of a confrontational China-US diplomatic relationship affecting the production of the report. 

Contributors' biases prompted the "black, guilty China and the white, innocent US/West" narrative, which the TFF saw as a repeated underlying thought figure - a simplified dichotomy hardly effective in convincing people of independent or solid scholarship.

The TFF pointed out that the Western media has actively covered the report without questioning its self-proclaimed "independence" and "genocide conclusions." Unsurprisingly, the Global Times found the TFF analysis was not picked up by a single Western mainstream news outlet, which only further demonstrates the "evil authoritarian China vs kind democratic West" mentality that those media organizations have long held. 

The report runs counter to problem-solving but only invites more conflicts given its undertones of confrontational diplomacy. It will only have negative consequences for China-US relations and even for the US itself, according to the analysis.

Global Times