05/06/2021, 12.22
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Moscow to Beijing’s rescue: No Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang

by Vladimir Rozanskij

A Russian-Chinese project aims to "expose the Western lie". Russian media publish interviews with satisfied workers from Xinjiang. Secretary of the Shanghai Group: "There are no violations of human rights", no religious discrimination or "racial genocide". Moscow delegates control of troubled Central Asia to China.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Kremlin has sided with China against the West in the "fake news" war on Xinjiang. On May 4, a Russian-Chinese project to "unmask the Western lie" on the Uyghur genocide, prepared by the joint efforts of the Russian and Chinese media, appeared in Rossiyskaja Gazeta. A mobile information application Rossija-Kitaj-glavnoe "Russia-China-current affairs" has even been proposed. In the reports, "the love for the work of the people of Xinjiang" is exalted on the occasion of the May Day celebration, "which deserves the respect of the whole world". It is claimed that Uyghurs "voluntarily work in local industry".

The campaign against "fake news" has been going on for some time. On April 4, Vladimir Norov, secretary of the Shanghai Group, visited several locations in Xinjiang, including Urumqi, Kashgar, Aksa and other centres. With him was a delegation of Uzbek and Russian diplomats (photos 1 and 2).

On his return, he stated that in Xinjiang "there are no violations of human rights", much less religious discrimination or "racial genocide".

During the May holidays, the Russian and Central Asian media gave space to the testimonies of Xinjiang workers, mostly of Kazakh ethnicity, going against the "Western propaganda" on forced labour in the region, claiming instead of enjoying conditions very satisfying work.

The claims in media and those of Norov contrast with what many NGOs, experts and states in the West claim: that in Xinjiang the Chinese authorities hold or have detained more than one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in concentration camps. The United Nations has also confirmed the existence of labour camps in the region, where hundreds of thousands of people are reportedly employed by force. Independent researchers even claim that the Chinese government is conducting a local forced sterilization campaign to control the growth of the Uyghur population. Beijing has always denied any accusation, branding it "fake news", but has always refused "unscheduled" and "unguided" visits by experts, politicians and UN members.

Moscow's support for "fake news" masks closer collaboration and taking China as an example to control the regions of Central Asia, which are increasingly restless and increasingly authoritarian.

In an investigation by Idel.Realii, information recently appeared on the spread of control technologies in the cities of the Oltrevolga, where the expansion efforts of Chinese investors have recently concentrated. The Chinese manufacturer Hikvision is systematically installing facial control cameras in both Xinjiang and Tatarstan, justifying them with the necessary security measures in relation to the recent unrest and conflicts in various areas of Central Asia.

Meanwhile, the border conflict between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has been provisionally suspended with the May Day agreements. According to the website fergana.ru, during the clashes around the Golovnoj aquifer, 36 people died on the Kyrgyz side, with 183 injured and 33,000 displaced.

The Asia-plus website instead reported 19 victims and 88 injured on the Tajik side. The president of Kyrgyzstan declared May 1 and 2 days of national mourning. The various authoritarian regimes of the countries of Central Asia seem less and less capable of controlling the situation, and the risk that many observers perceive is the destabilization of the entire region.

Russia itself appears rather powerless in the face of the disintegration of post-Soviet spaces, and seems to increasingly leave the field to the influence of the People's Republic of China, already economically present and active in the area.

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