What I see in Xinjiang challenges US' hostile propaganda against China
Published: Jun 17, 2023 10:01 AM
Performers dance at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Jan. 23, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

Performers dance at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Jan. 23, 2023.(Photo: Xinhua)

The US' imperial hostility to China is increasing - with military threats, new rounds of sanctions, and increasingly wild fabrications. The Western media have been saturated with allegations of so-called human rights abuses, forced labor, religious persecution, and genocide - especially of Uygur and other Muslim minorities in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 

The VOA recently, citing experts, denounced as "Chinese propaganda" an Arab League delegation's recent visit to Xinjiang and support for China's governance policies. While the imperialist Western media push the narrative that "China is destroying mosques and Islamic centers," no Arab or Muslim countries have joined these targeted attacks.

Before COVID-19 shut down global travel, delegations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), with 57 member states, made fact-finding trips to the Xinjiang region and then endorsed and commended China's governance of its Muslim citizens. Some Western media outlets also attacked these OIC findings.

For Western media outlets, such as VOA, to lecture the Arab League and the OIC on human rights reeks of racist hypocrisy. They have never paid attention to the dramatic decline in the life expectancy of indigenous people in the US, from 71.8 years in 2019 to 65.2 years by the end of 2021. For those living on indigenous reservations, life expectancy is a shocking 52 years for women and 48 years for men.

I recently visited Xinjiang and saw the reality. The trip was a few days before the Arab League delegation. The China/US Solidarity Network organized the visit to provide a more realistic picture of this multiethnic region. 

US media reported about cities under martial law, with military forces of occupation and heavily armed police on every corner. The local population, especially the Uygur people, were described as impoverished and isolated, either forced into slave labor and backbreaking work in the fields or locked inside so-called concentration camps. However, what we saw was completely different.

What we saw in Xinjiang was vibrant cities — Kashgar and Urumqi — full of tens of thousands of tourists and a local population of many ethnicities. Huge and colorful marketplaces and bazaars, almost all run by Uygur families, stretched for blocks. Busy subway lines crossed the cities. Everywhere we saw food markets brimming with inexpensive produce. Restaurants, numerous cafes, and street food stalls were packed with local people. In the evenings, the streets were lively and full.

Numerous international studies, deliberately ignored by the Western media, back up our observations.

A drive through the countryside revealed fully mechanized agriculture with tractors, planters, drone sprayers, irrigation canals and acres of plastic-topped greenhouses. We saw no fields, including cotton, with workers doing hand labor - hoeing, picking or trimming. This is confirmed in numerous reports and many photos.

In Kashgar, the 15th-century Id Kah Mosque houses up to 20,000 worshipers. It is only one of the many Islamic centers and mosques that we saw while walking the city streets and in several villages. Tall, slender minarets and dome-shaped roofs seemed to be a part of every block.

We met with Uygur people working in food stalls, small groceries and farms. People of many nationalities are construction workers, truck drivers, animal herders, veterinarians, teachers and retirees. Many of them described how government subsidies and training programs had dramatically improved their living conditions and life opportunities.

Washington claims to be a protector of China's Muslim population. But it omits any mention of US wars, sanctions, drone attacks and coups against the Arab and Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

The accomplishments of China in ending poverty, illiteracy and building a dramatically better life for hundreds of millions deserve to be recognized. This means challenging the well funded Western corporate media. Their hostile propaganda only serves the interests of the military industrial complex.

The author is a political writer and activist for 50 years in the US. She is a contributing editor of Workers World Newspaper and helps coordinate the International Action Center and the United National Antiwar Coalition. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn