Canada projects own abuses of indigenous kids in reporting on Xizang children
Published: Feb 21, 2022 06:23 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

On February 15, China's Embassy in Canada condemned some Canadian media outlets for proliferating reports claiming that children in the Xizang Autonomous Region "are forced into boarding schools."

Rejecting the claims as false, the embassy iterated that children in Xizang are offered a high quality of education and protection, and that boarding school policies were a product of the region's remote and mountainous geography, further noting that "Boarding students usually attend school from Monday to Friday, and go home on weekends, holidays, winter and summer vacations."

On Canada's behalf, this reporting is a bad-faith attempt to project the atrocities and abuses of their own history onto China, something which Canada may acknowledge superficially but has ultimately never held any person or organization to account for. Whilst Canada presents itself as a righteous and progressive country, sustaining an elitist posture, it should come to terms with the fact it has, through the legacy of its own school system, committed crimes against humanity. It is as offensive as it is misleading to accuse China of falsely doing the same thing. The two situations are not even remotely comparable.

Canada is sometimes referred to as an "Anglosphere" state. That is, an English-speaking country which derives its political, ideological and institutional culture from the legacy of British settler colonialism. Anglosphere states, as also seen in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, typically espouse an extremely elitist, crusader-like and self-righteous worldview which espouses the supremacy of their Anglo-Protestant culture. Each Anglosphere state respectively was built or made prosperous on the total and unapologetic displacement destruction of indigenous population and culture, depicted as uncivilized and even sub-human. 

However, following victories in World War I and World War II, such countries refashioned their identities into that of heroic "saviour states" who acted in the true interests of humanity and have since used this as a guise to bully and wage aggression against other countries, adopting an attitude that because the colonial atrocities and misdeeds of these countries were "in the past" they are no longer politically relevant. As a result, they express no remorse and exempt themselves from accountability, whilst projecting these crimes onto others using the rhetoric of "human rights" as a selective geopolitical weapon.

In the case of Canada, the country committed genocide against its own indigenous population through a system of residential schools that were administered by churches, which operated up until as late as the 1990s. The schools were designed to separate children from their parents, erase their native languages and cultures, and subsequently refashion them as Christianized and civilized Canadians. Such schools were rife with neglect, as well as physical and sexual abuse, and disease outbreaks that led to the deaths of up to an estimated 3,000 children. Since the deaths were subject to a coverup and the children buried in hidden unmarked graves, the true number has never been established and as of today, more and more graves continue to be found.

Despite this, Canada champions its own "values" and mission, and subsequently follows the US-led agenda against China with impunity. Canadian news outlets are egregiously zealous and self-righteous, and without a particle of humility or accountability over Canada's own crimes, they subsequently project these misdeeds onto China and make false comparisons, as if to claim they are the ones with the moral high ground. Rather, in Xizang, China has not engaged in any parental separations but has drastically improved the standard and quality of life. Xizang schoolchildren are not subject to abuse but instead given a good quality of care, and social mobility educational opportunities coupled with affirmative action programs. 

On such a premise, it is time for Canada to take a look and see itself for what it really is. Canada is the legacy of imperialism and genocide masked with a smiling face. A country that has committed grave atrocities but now dons a decorated façade of benevolence and liberalism. Will the people of this country wake up and recognize that their leaders, media and politicians are not acting in good faith? Will they recognize that China is not representative of the systemic crimes Canada has committed? 

The author is a political and historical relations analyst. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn