04/28/2021, 10.30
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Xinjiang: Beijing organizes new 'propaganda tour' for foreign media

The authorities want to show that there is no violation of human rights in the autonomous region. Journalists accompanied to predetermined places. Chinese analyst: "Beijing is wrong to believe that these guided tours are effective".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese authorities have brought journalists from 10 foreign media to visit Xinjiang. The government's goal is to demonstrate to the international press that there is no violation of human rights in the autonomous region, including the crime of genocide, and that the Han population (majority in China) and the Turkish-speaking minority of Islamic faith live in harmony.

The "publicity tour", as it has been described by critics, was organized by the Communist Party’s publicity department in Xinjiang. Associated Press and TV Tokyo were among those taking part. The visit took place in the city of Turpan, where Australian researchers claim there is a political re-education camp.

According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, China holds or held more than a million Muslims in Xinjiang concentration camps. Recent media revelations have highlighted the existence of labour camps in the region, where hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz are forced to work, especially picking cotton. Some researchers also claim that the Chinese government is conducting a forced sterilization campaign in Xinjiang to control the growth of the Uyghur population.

China has denied the accusations, claiming that the camps in Xinjiang are vocational centres, part of a plan to reduce poverty while fighting terrorism and separatism.

The journalists accompanied in the autonomous region were able to visit only sites indicated by the authorities. TV Tokyo reveals that the local people she was able to talk to either do not answer questions or deny the existence of abuse.

It is not the first time that Beijing has invited foreign journalists to Xinjiang. In 2020 it was the turn of the BBC, which however reported that it had not been able to film and that it had been subject to constant checks. The Chinese government claims the region is open to foreigners. The UN Human Rights Agency and the European Union have long been asking to be able to visit it, but without the restrictions imposed by China.

Beijing political analyst Wu Qiang commented to the South China Morning Post that Beijing is wrong to believe that these guided tours are effective: “I “I believe many things are concealed, including the removal of some facilities. I don’t think the visiting group can get what they want to see, or be satisfied with what they could see. “No one believes the truth can be obtained through an officially organised visit. It seems Beijing has a very naive propaganda-based approach to coverage of Xinjiang.”

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