Saturday, April 10, 2021

Chinese state broadcaster documentary justifies death sentence against Uighur officials

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China has launched a new propaganda campaign to justify its repressive policies in Xinjiang. In a tense international context, particularly following the sanctions against several Chinese officials adopted by the European Union at the end of March, the state television channel CCTV broadcast, on April 2, a documentary entitled War in the Shadows: The Challenges of Countering Terrorism in Xinjiang, also broadcast in French by the international division of the channel, CGTN.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Uighurs: European Union “targeted sanctions” provoke Chinese response

This latest installment in a series of four documentaries on terrorism in Xinjiang attempts to demonstrate the links of some local officials with international terrorist organizations and the influence of “two-faced” Uighur officials, in other words, the traitors who are said to operate in shadow, while occupying positions of responsibility.

According to the documentary, a former local police chief and a former Xinjiang Education Bureau official were sentenced to death and three other education officials received life imprisonment. The latter are accused of having participated in the development of textbooks which “Can blur and undermine the sense of national identity”.

On Tuesday, April 6, the Xinjiang government confirmed the two officials’ death sentences, with a two-year reprieve – a sentence usually commuted to life in prison. These former officials were arrested between 2017 and 2019, at the start of a vast campaign of repression in Xinjiang which saw internment in camps of ” re-education ” over a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minorities. After denying the existence of these camps, China now presents them as “Vocational training centers”.

Justify the policy pursued in Xinjiang

China responded to sanctions from the European Union and the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom at the end of March, in turn sanctioning dozens of politicians, researchers and institutes from these countries. In the process, a major boycott campaign was launched against Western ready-to-wear brands which had ended their supply of cotton from Xinjiang, amid accusations of forced labor by Uighurs in the textile industry.

Since then, the state media have redoubled their efforts to justify the policy pursued in the autonomous region of Western China since 2017. The objective is in particular to demonstrate a link between the numerous attacks perpetrated by Uighurs and a terrorist movement. international, the Islamist Movement of East Turkestan (MITO). Its existence is now disputed: Washington removed MITO from its list of terrorist organizations in 2020, for lack of evidence that the movement continues to exist.

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