CHINA / SOCIETY
Chinese Embassy expresses firm opposition against French publication over report distorting Xinjiang issue: source
Published: Jul 04, 2021 10:03 PM
As of press time, nearly 4,000 signatures had been gathered on an online petition on change.org, urging the publication to withdraw the report. Photo: screenshot of the online petition

As of press time, nearly 4,000 signatures had been gathered on an online petition on change.org, urging the publication to withdraw the report. Photo: screenshot of the online petition



 As more and more Chinese people in France sign a petition against a popular French children's publication that recently published a front-page report distorting China's Xinjiang issue, a source close to the matter told the Global Times on Sunday that the Chinese Embassy in France has expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the publication's newsroom.

Mon Quotidien, a French newspaper for children aged 10 to 13, published a report on June 30 titled "Chinese are robbing us of freedom," which smeared the Chinese government for restricting the freedom of people in Xinjiang and using forced labor.

The newspaper said "I don't want to be Chinese or do like them: torture people, imprison them and force them to work ..."

The report showed French children "a dark China full of oppression and fear, full of errors and lies." 

The report also quoted a "tragic account" by a Uygur woman living in France named Gulbahar Mahmutjan, who claimed to have been detained and subjected to various types of persecution in a training center when she returned to Xinjiang from France.

Chinese government departments at all levels, including the Chinese Embassy in France, have repeatedly clarified and refuted Western media organizations' malicious hyping of untrue reports on Xinjiang.

It is shameful that the Western media have turned a blind eye to the facts and are now targeting children and teenagers who are just beginning to form a world view and do not yet have the ability to make independent judgments about what is true and what is not, analysts said.

As Mon Quotidien is a popular newspaper recommended by many French schools, many netizens in France denounced the report as misleading to children, calling it "ridiculous" and fearing it would create hatred at schools.

As of press time, nearly 4,000 signatures had been gathered on an online petition on change.org, urging the publication to withdraw the report.

"We understand that freedom of expression is fundamental in France, but a newspaper like Mon Quotidien must exercise this freedom with responsibility, vigilance and good judgment, especially when its readers are children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 13," read the petition.

The petition noted that under the cover of a comic strip, this report could arouse hatred against Chinese children or those of Chinese origin in schools, subject them to discriminatory comments and violence, exclude them from groups and isolate them. 

"For the sake of our children, we therefore ask the newspaper Mon Quotidien to withdraw this edition and to respect its own motto:'100% facts, 0 opinions'," the petition said.

Many netizens commented in French on the report on social media platforms including change.com and Facebook. 

"I don't want my kids to read the lies. Adults are able to think and form their own opinions, but children are not. Please don't brainwash children," read a typical comment.

"Not at all is it a subject or suitable reading for Mon Quotidien. Why did they try to create hatred at school where it did not exist?"questioned a netizen.

Another slammed the report, saying that it is scandalous and inadmissible to format a publication with anti-Asian racism for young people.

A netizen who signed the petition said, "I signed because insulting a whole [Chinese] nation on rumors and unproven assumptions is unworthy of a [French] society that calls itself humanist."

Many said that their children were faithful readers of the publication but their grandchildren would not be.

At a press conference held by the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Beijing on February 18, a person was introduced named Gulbahar Mahmutjan, who was described by Mon Quotidien as a "victim" who was 55 years old from Karamay city in Xinjiang. She has been absent from her work for a very long time. She's a complete secessionist and extremist. Her self-claimed experience in Xinjiang is total nonsense, said the press conference.

It has been verified that Gulbahar Mahmutjan is a member of the World Uyghur Congress - a US-backed right-wing regime-change network seeking the "fall of China" - and has taken separatism and terrorism as her career for a long time, according to the press conference.


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