China and the genocide

The events in Xinjiang and the fate of the Uighurs in the western province of China have been an integral part of Western reporting for years. Reports on the allegedly excessive measures taken by the Chinese government and the resulting comprehensive human rights violations against the Muslim minority have led to China's repeated condemnation before the UN and hearings on the issue in the Bundestag. The central accusation against China is that of the genocide of the Uighurs. Walther Bücklers investigated whether this accusation is indeed justified and what conclusions the hearings on China in the Bundestag allow, among other things, with a personal trip to Xinjiang in May 2021.

Much has been written in the last three years about Xinjiang and the alleged human rights violations against the Uighur minority. And for those who have closely followed Western media coverage, there can be little doubt that the most serious accusation against the Chinese government, that of the genocide of a Muslim minority, has now been proven. Terms such as "systematic persecution", "concentration camps" and "genocide" have been an integral part of many articles on the subject of Xinjiang since at least 2019, and since 2021, official voices have been increasingly speaking out that want to hold China accountable for its human rights violations.

For example, in January of this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used one of his last official acts to officially accuse China of genocide. In February, the Canadian House of Commons passed a resolution calling China's actions in Xinjiang genocide. In the same month, the Netherlands also adopted a similar resolution. On March 08, the Newlines Institute published the study "The Uyghur Genocide", which comes to the clear conclusion that China is responsible for a genocide. At the end of March, the Biden administration confirmed Pompeo's assessment. Then the usual US lackeys from Europe followed at some distance.

In May, the member of the Greens in the European Parliament, Margarete Bause, published an opinion commissioned by herself from the scientific service of the Bundestag, which also comes to the conclusion that China's actions are actually genocide, at least according to German legal opinion and measured by the UN Convention on International Law. Consequently, the Bundestag Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid will hold a public hearing almost a week later, on 17.05.2021, to make its own assessment. And although the situation seems to be clear not only for five NATO partners, but also for international research institutes and the scientific service of the Bundestag, the hearing unexpectedly comes to the conclusion that a genocide in Xinjiang cannot be considered proven. A surprising result that raises the question of how, after three years of extensive reporting on such a serious crime as genocide, there can be more than one opinion. What is happening in Xinjiang? Are the Uighurs really victims of genocide?

The question of demographic genocide

Genocide is one of the most serious crimes that a state can be accused of. The mass murder of an ethnic or religious minority - the definition that probably best reflects the understanding of the German public – is a rare and exceptionally brutal act, an escalation of state violence. Being blamed for a genocide is considered such a disgrace that even mass killings by states can be classified as genocide historically, even decades later can still lead to diplomatic blatancy. Especially for Germans, the topic is fraught with deep emotions due to the Holocaust. Therefore, it is not surprising that years of reporting that speaks of "massive persecution", "forced labor", "concentration camps" and "genocide" in connection with Xinjiang can only lead to the conviction that China is repeating the crimes of the Third Reich.

But if China really committed systematic mass murder, it would be a mass murder that, contrary to expectations, would result in a population growth that increases income and educational opportunities, that would not trigger mass flight and for which there is neither image nor video evidence. It would also be the first mass murder to lead to a travel boom. Last year alone, more than 150 million tourists visited the region. There is no data that could credibly prove a mass murder of the Uighurs, and it is accordingly an accusation that is brought exclusively by dubious sources.

The clearest sign that this is not a mass murder in Xinjiang is that even the most popular indictments on the subject of China do not accuse murder, but only the prevention of births. The most prominent study on the topic comes from the German Adrian Zenz, who has already made a name for himself through a large number of comparable publications on the subject of Xinjiang. It was published by the Washington, D.C.-based Jamestown Foundation in June 2020. The theses of this study were subsequently cited dozens of times in the media and therefore deserve closer attention.

Zenz also does not cite mass murder, but the significantly increased sterilization rates since 2017 and at the same time sharply falling birth rate in Xinjiang as the "best evidence up to this point" for a genocide according to the UN Genocide Convention. The Genocide Convention states, among other things, that the suppression of births can be considered genocide as long as it is used as an instrument for the destruction of a religious or ethnic group. The sharp drop in the birth rate cited in the study and the sharp increase in sterilizations in Xinjiang since 2017 is actually a fact. So is this, if not a mass murder, at least a genocide in the sense of the Genocide Convention?

The question of the "creeping" genocide

This conclusion seems questionable, since, on the one hand, birth regulation in China is not an exclusive Xinjiang phenomenon, but an all-state phenomenon, and since, on the other hand, the Uyghur population continues to grow despite all measures. Zenz's own study puts the growth of the minority at almost 20% between 2010 and 2018. In the same period, the growth of the German population was less than 2%. Other data, such as the birth or sterilization rate, are in fact subject to strong changes that reflect government intervention in the field of family planning and health care. However, they are not exceptional in an international comparison. The birth rate fell by almost 50% within two years and was even lower than Germany's rate of 9.4 in 2019 at 8.14. This is also below average for China, but the birth rate in Shanghai is even lower and no one there would accuse the Chinese government of planning a genocide.

Zenz points out that in direct contrast to the national trend, sterilizations in Xinjiang have increased tenfold since 2014. In 2018, they were about 2.4 per thousand. This increase can be partly explained by the fact that contraception was only limited or not available at all in many places in Xinjiang until a few years ago, and the Chinese government has invested billions in the expansion of the health system in Xinjiang since 2017. This expansion of the health care system resulted, among other things, in over 9,000 dispensaries, where common contraceptives have been made available to the population free of charge throughout the province. An increase in the use of contraceptives was a foreseeable consequence. At the same time, in 2017, the nationwide guidelines for family planning, which allow couples living in the city to have two children and rural couples to have three children, were introduced for the first time in Xinjiang. Violations now resulted in fines, the abandonment of children was financially promoted.

The sharp increase in spiral applications in the years 2017-18 is thus mainly due to the attempt of the population to avoid negative financial consequences and the pressure to comply with the law by the authorities. It is likely that due to the actions of the authorities and the threat of fines, pressure was partially indistinguishable from coercion to sterilization. But, despite all this, this is about the implementation of family planning standards that already exist in the rest of the country, and not about the targeted oppression of a particular ethnic group. The level of 2.4 per thousand is comparable to that of industrialized nations and can therefore be regarded as above average due to the very different socio-economic realities in Xinjiang. But as in industrialized nations, this indicates more a targeted investment in public health than a genocide.

Zenz's study shows gross technical errors. One of the most cited findings is that 80% of all new spiral deployments in China in 2018 would have been carried out in Xinjiang. Since the population of Xinjiang is only 2% of the total Chinese population, this would have been a cause for concern. The correct figure, however, was 8.7%. A spiral insertion graph suggested, due to incorrect indication of the order of magnitude, that every single woman in Xinjiang has to endure 4-8 spiral insertions per day. Further examples of questionable use of data resulted in the accusation from the academic side that Zenz converted banal, publicly available information on family planning into genocide. The fact that Zenz's study was able to enjoy such great attention in the Western media landscape despite these technical shortcomings and despite previous publications of comparable quality should be considered questionable.

But in the end, the situation regarding the population development in Xinjiang is so clear that even voices critical of China such as Theo Sommer of die Zeit come to the conclusion that there can be no question of a demographic genocide. But at least a cultural genocide must be blamed on China, or as Sommer puts it: "Now a culture is being wiped out."

The question of cultural genocide

Before Adrian Zenz decided to plead directly for demographic genocide in 2020, he was a proponent of cultural genocide. In an interview with Tagesschau in 2019, he stated that China is destroying the Uighurs "culturally, religiously, linguistically, in every way." Theo Sommer talks about demolished mosques, deposed imams and the compulsion to have to learn Chinese in re-education camps. So is the Chinese government really targeting Muslim minorities and in particular the destruction of Uyghur culture?

Remebi with Arabic Letters

The Uighurs are one of the 55 recognized minorities in China and as such enjoy special rights in terms of language, writing and cultural customs. The full name of Xinjiang is "the autonomous region of the Uyghurs Xinjiang– - this autonomy makes it possible to enact one's own laws, there is leeway in the interpretation of laws of the central government and also the right to use one's own language and script. Besides Mandarin, Uyghur is the official language of the region. All street signs and official documents are bilingual, which means that the Uyghur script is omnipresent in Xinjiang, in direct contrast to the prosecution.

The school curriculum is also bilingual. Newspapers and books incl. Translations of foreign works are published in Uyghur. There are special radio and television programs also in Uyghur. In addition, Uyghur is one of the five languages on the national currency, the Chinese yuan, along with Mongolian, Tibetan, Zhuang and Mandarin. Language and writing are key elements of any culture. To argue that a country that not only allows, but actively supports the publication of audiovisual media in a particular language, that actively teaches this language and script at school, and that distributes the script on the national currency throughout the country, attempts to destroy this part of culture is devoid of any logic.

But what about religion? Do the Uighurs not face reprisals because of their faith? The Chinese government has cited religious extremism as one of the reasons for its actions in Xinjiang. However, the fact that China's measures are not directed against Islam per se can be seen from the fact that not all of the country's ten Muslim minorities are equally affected. Similar deradicalization measures are not being carried out in any other place outside Xinjiang. The largest Muslim ethnic group in China, the Hui, are therefore not subject to the same restrictions as the Uighurs.

However, the fact that Xinjiang itself is not about banning the Uighurs from their faith can be seen, among other things, from the fact that the charter flights organized by the Chinese government for the annual pilgrimages to Mecca for thousands of Chinese Muslims, although only under strict conditions, continued to take place despite everything until the beginning of the pandemic. Another clue is that, unlike in the rest of the country, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are still official holidays in Xinjiang.

According to the China Islamic Association, there are over 39,000 mosques in China; the majority of them, over 24,000 mosques, are in Xinjiang alone. Mosques and Islamic architecture significantly shape the cityscape of cities such as Urumqi, Kashgar and Hotan, and daily joint prayers continue to be held. It is possible that there are also mosques that will be partially or completely demolished. However, cultural genocide is not the only conceivable motive here, but can also occur due to dilapidation or restoration work, and would certainly have to take place on a more ambitious scale if the de-islamification of Xinjiang were to be the goal.

That there should be fundamental doubts about the allegations of the targeted destruction of Muslim cultural sites by the Chinese government can be seen from the fact that these allegations have already turned out to be false several times and the prosecutors, for example, misinterpreted Google Earth or depicted shopping centers as religious sites. The most comprehensive and frequently cited indictment comes from the ASPI, accusing China of demolishing over 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang. However, ASPI has already gained a reputation for borderline anti-Chinese studies through similarly lurid publications and questionable interpretation of satellite images. For example, several of the "warehouses" previously identified by ASPI also via Google Earth turned out to be schools or office buildings. Another ASPI study on allegedly systematic forced labor in Xinjiang was based on speculation about a report on working conditions in a single factory. Following the study, unannounced visits by Skechers to their supplier in Xinjiang could not confirm any of the points cited by ASPI. In Australia itself, ASPI is considered the architect of anti-China hysteria among Australian politicians, and the examination of ASPI's questionable study on forced labor in Xinjiang led to accusations of hypocrisy and academic fraud.

Was geschieht wirklich in Xinjiang?

Police in Xinjiang

There is no question that the freedoms of the Uighurs are subject to comparatively severe restrictions. Nowhere in China is the state security apparatus as visible as in Xinjiang. Police stations, security personnel and patrols are omnipresent in cities and are more heavily armed than usual in China. Security checks in airports, hotels, attractions are more frequent and are handled with greater seriousness than in any other province. But since terrorism on Chinese soil is the starting point there, it goes without saying that security authorities live more closely together there.

Without a historical context, the development of such comprehensive security measures and mandatory deradicalization programs is difficult to understand. However, they are neither a sign of arbitrariness nor of ethnic hatred of a minority or Islam. China's approach in Xinjiang was the response to decades of religious extremism and terrorism, which alone cost the lives of hundreds of residents of the region, Uighurs and Han alike, in the 10 years before 2015. A fact that, despite the repeated coverage of terrorist attacks since the 90s, has also been questioned in the Western media and two Chinese documentaries on the subject.

Due to the sheer scale of the deradicalization program with hundreds of thousands of participants, there are legitimate doubts about the selection criteria of the authorities for participation and whether people without any tendency to extremism were unnecessarily forced to participate. At the same time, the participation and the deradicalization program itself were limited in time and included exit on weekends. According to the Chinese government and confirmed by Western media, the re-education camps have been closed since the end of 2019, but this still does not stop German media from talking about one million interned people.

Other measures taken by China to combat terrorism in Xinjiang received far less media attention than the re-education camps. The camps were only part of billions of dollars of investment in the region over many years, with which the Chinese government has tried to deprive religious extremism of its social basis. From the point of view of China's political leadership, the violence in Xinjiang was favored by various factors – especially poverty, lack of education, unemployment and social backwardness – and it was the improvement of these factors that China invested in. The fact that the government's conclusion was not completely taken out of thin air can be seen from the data of the 2010 census and many political decisions of the last 10 years in Xinjiang are only comprehensible by their understanding.

The historical situation in Xinjiang

In 2010, Xinjiang was the second poorest province in China in terms of disposable income. The level of education, especially of the Uighur minority, was extremely low. At a time when over 82.5% of the students in China attended high school, 87% of the Uighur population at best completed middle school, 45% perhaps did not even finish primary school. The educational opportunities of the female population were particularly precarious. Only 8% managed to graduate from high school, in the poorest, Uyghur-dominated regions it was sometimes just 1%.

Kids in Xinjiang

Xinjiang researchers such as the Chinese Li Jianxin described a lifestyle that had remained virtually unchanged for decades in intergenerational poverty, arranged marriages often of underage women who lived as housewives after their marriage and whose primary duty was to bear children. Li's studies revealed an average marriage age in Uyghur-dominated southern Xinjiang of 18. Research by the Xinjiang village chief Hou Hanmin in Kashgar in 2015 also found that 50% of all women were married before the age of 18. One of the participants in the study was already a grandmother at the age of 34.

Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the birth rate in the southern city of Hotan itself was still 3.3 children per woman in 2017. A value that has not been reached in Germany for more than 100 years and which explains the strong population growth of the Uighurs in the last 10 years. Taken as a whole, these are the data of a developing country with a lack of perspective and without self-determination for a large part of the female population in particular.

The actions of the Chinese government

China's actions in Xinjiang initially focused on education. Between 2010 and 2017, compulsory schooling was increased to 12 years, school fees were eliminated and bilingual education was promoted. The proportion of high school students in the Uyghur-dominated parts of Xinjiang grew from 38% to 84% in five years. In 2019, it was already 98.82% for the province as a whole. More than 46% of 18- to 22-year-olds pursued a degree, a figure that has doubled since 2010.

In 2016, the Chinese government began to organize cross-provincial worker transfers against rural unemployment in particular. In the following years, tens of thousands of mostly Uighur workers were offered higher-paid jobs outside the province. In 2017, Beijing invested $5.2 billion in the expansion of the health care system in Xinjiang as part of a nationwide poverty alleviation campaign. For the first time, millions of people were given free access to contraceptives. At the same time, as already mentioned, the nationwide birth rates were also made mandatory for minorities in Xinjiang for the first time. Violations were punished with fines, compliance with birth quotas and the abandonment of further offspring were financially promoted.

Billions more are spent each year on infrastructure projects and other aspects of poverty alleviation. In 2019 alone, the government invested five billion euros in the province, enabling 600,000 people to rise out of absolute poverty in this one year alone. The region's disposable income increased by 75% in the 10 years from 2010 to 2020. In addition, the government initiated programs aimed at strengthening relations between individual ethnic groups. The Fanghuiju program, which was launched in 2014, required more than 1 million Xinjiang residents to visit a partner of another ethnic group several times a year, and individual laws were passed to create financial incentives for marriage between Han Chinese and members of a minority.

Distorted facts

The processing of these complex processes by Zenz and various questionable think tanks and the reporting of the German media subsequently turned marriage subsidies into "forced marriages", workers' transfers into "forced labor", the offer of free contraceptives into "forced sterilization" and re-education camps into "concentration camps". The measures taken by the Chinese government in Xinjiang raise legitimate questions about proportionality, even without propagandistic exaggeration. There is little doubt that coercion played a role in both the re-education camps and the Fanghuiju program. Only a few will voluntarily consent to their own deradicalization or grant access to their own home to practically strangers.

The contributions to the workers' transfer, specially produced by the Chinese TV channel CGTN, also clearly show how party cadres exert personal pressure to convince Uyghurs to participate. The government's fight against fundamentalism has pushed back religious practices and cost leading imams the office. The question of whether the encroachments on the personal rights of the Uighurs and religious freedom were not disproportionate is justified. But despite everything, the measures were not directed against Islam or arbitrarily against a minority. Criticism purely on their scale suggests that there are more elegant solutions to counter serious terrorism without presenting a real alternative. What was mentioned far less often is that the measures were crowned with success. There have been no further terrorist attacks in the region since 2017.

Xinjiang in 2021 is still Xinjiang, even after a decade of change. The region is still home to a large number of minorities, dominated by Uighurs. The culture is still unmistakably Islamic and Xinjiang is still clearly different from other parts of China. It is undeniable that Uyghur civil liberties have been restricted in the context of the fight against terrorism. At the same time, they are wealthier, safer and better educated than ever before. Critics who speak of the extinction of a culture must suspect that they are reducing the culture of the Uighurs to poverty and religious extremism alone. Due to the measures taken by the Chinese government, the social reality of Xinjiang is no longer that of a developing country. This development may have been associated with coercion and disproportionate in parts, but it is not genocide.

The sources of the genocide

If there is no genocide in Xinjiang, the question naturally arises as to which sources Mike Pompeo, US research institutes and German politicians refer to and what is the driving force behind resolutions in national parliaments when they publicly claim the opposite. A closer look at the most influential sources reveals that the most prominent authors of the charges against Xinjiang are mainly connected by two things: US funding and a lack of credibility. The most obvious example of this is the most cited expert on Xinjiang, Adrian Zenz.

Adrian Zenz

Adrian Zenz is not so much an expert on China as an Evangelical fundamentalist who is currently employed by the anti-communist Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington D.C., which was founded by the US government. In the past, he worked at an evangelical educational institution near Stuttgart and published faith studies that describe the equality of men and women, homosexuality and the nonviolent raising of children as religiously problematic and theorize about the "refinement" of the Jews in purgatory during the Last Judgment. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2019, Zenz stated that he felt "called by God" for his research on Xinjiang. Zenz's re-education camp study, which popularized the number of 1 million internees, he published at the CIA Jamestown Foundation, which is also based in Washington, D.C. His professional network, the manipulative use of data, the poor scientific integrity of his work as well as the one-sidedness of his conclusions allow clear conclusions about Zenz's credibility.

ASPI

The most popular source besides Zenz is the previously mentioned ASPI, which has attracted attention above all with the attempt to prove a genocide via Google Earth images and with various studies that are often thematically identical to Zenz and comparably unscientific. Zenz and ASPIs James Leibold have also written more than half a dozen articles together since 2017. ASPI is funded by the Australian Ministry of Defence, the US State Department, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the US military complex and NATO, among others. The portrayal of China as a malicious antagonist is beneficial for the US, Great Britain and NATO for geopolitical reasons, and for the US military complex for financial ones, since it suggests the further arming of Australia. As with Zenz, this is a conflict of interest. It should also be mentioned that – apart from research on Google Earth - all studies on Xinjiang by Zenz and ASPI are based on publicly available Chinese sources. It seems highly unlikely that the Chinese government will publish information about a genocide committed by itself.

The IPAC

But what was the driving force behind the genocide resolutions in Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Lithuania? Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that they were all put to a vote by members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. The IPAC, founded in 2020, is an association of politicians from 19 national parliaments and the European Parliament, whose advisory staff, including Zenz, has diverse connections to the CIA-related Jamestown Foundation and the CIA sister organization NED or were themselves longtime CIA employees. The organization was founded on the dubious assumption that Chinese violations of international and human rights deserve more attention than those of its own member states and NATO. Consequently, IPAC is not so much a neutral observer of international events as NATO-PR, and its members stand out primarily due to anti-Chinese polemics. Although the genocide resolutions were all non-binding and thus purely symbolic in nature, they enjoyed detailed reporting and show how a sufficiently motivated political fringe group can exert an undue influence on public perception, even if the content has no factual basis.

Newlines Institute

But what about the scientific studies on the subject? The study published by the Newlines Institute in March of this year with the unambiguous title "The Uyghur Genocide" is in some ways a culmination of Xinjiang propaganda. Newlines is a sub-organisation of Fairfax University of America, a questionable institution with just eight lecturers, which almost closed in 2019 due to its lack of academic standards. The leadership of the institute is a mixture of former employees of the US State Department, military advisers and intelligence officers. Among the experts interviewed for the study are IPAC members Cotler and Kennedy, US diplomats and Adrian Zenz.

The study does not present its own findings. It is based on the works of Zenz, ASPI and often quotes articles from the CIA station Radio Free Asia. Zenz alone is cited over 50 times. Another oft-cited source is the Xinjiang Victims Database, a database that appears to be the one-man project of American Gene Bunin. According to Bunin's own information, the database with over 24,000 entries does not claim to be 100% credible, falsely declared people as deceased and contains personal entries in which, despite being marked as particularly trustworthy, there must be doubts about their authenticity. For example, Kazakh Sayragul Sauytbay repeatedly gave contradictory interviews about her experience in Xinjiang and subsequently published a book, the contents of which, e.g. the statement that she had seen plans from China to occupy Europe in 2035 in the camp forced even supporters to distance themselves from her. The generous use of these questionable sources shows that the Newlines study does not meet scientific standards. And there is a suspicion that it is mainly used to give new seriousness to discredited anti-Chinese propaganda about a new edition by a trustworthy-sounding educational institution.

The Bundestag and the hearing on the Uighurs

It was the 17th of May when the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the Bundestag met for a hearing on the international legal assessment of human rights violations against Uyghurs. Just as before in Canada, Great Britain and the Netherlands, the framework of the hearing and the hearing itself were dominated by members of IPAC. Three participants, including the chairman of the committee, Gyde Jensen , the speaker of the Committee, Margarete Bause , and also the speaker, Michael Brand , are all members of IPAC. As a precaution, Bause anticipated the desired conclusion of the hearing with the publication a week earlier of an opinion of the scientific service of the Bundestag, which states a genocide in Xinjiang. The report is a remarkable work that derives its conclusions on the genocide largely from the Newlines study. Of the seven invited experts, two are also IPAC members, one of them is Adrian Zenz.

During the hearing, Jensen mistakenly introduces Zenz as a "professor at the European School of Culture and Theology" and not as a senior fellow of the "Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation", as this would probably have raised questions about his objectivity on the subject of China. The expert Safferling introduces the concept of Responsibility to Protect, which legitimizes interventions in other countries and whose application by NATO in Libya led to the destruction of the country. Deputy Braun speaks of the persecution and forced organ harvesting of the "very peaceful movement" Falun Gong in China. A rumor that the anti-scientific, far-right Falun Gong cult itself has put into the world and that was debunked by the Washington Post at the latest in 2017. When a consensus finally emerges during the hearing that there is insufficient evidence for a genocide, Margarete Bause presents the China Cables and the Karakax list, among others, as a counterargument. These documents are called fakes by the Chinese side. According to the SZ, they can be trusted because "a Western secret service" and Adrian Zenz consider them authentic. This is not convincing. In the end, it is mainly due to the integrity of the invited legal experts that the hearing ends without falsely establishing a genocide.

This inglorious episode in the Bundestag may seem insignificant, but it carries serious symbolism in itself. The hearing on the genocide in Xinjiang may have been held in Germany, but the global genocide campaign against China itself is above all an American initiative. That this is the case is shown not only by the US financial flows to the most prominent representatives of the genocide thesis, such as Zenz and the ASPI, but also by the millions of dollars in annual funding of a number of Uyghur separatist organizations, such as the World Uyghur Congress or the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

The support of this American initiative made it worthwhile for German politicians to hold this hearing. A hearing on a topic – genocide in Xinjiang – for the clarification of which a short conversation with a serious sinologist would have been enough. If the Human Rights Committee had found a genocide, this would have been used as a means of political pressure. As Bau's report suggests, this is probably mainly to reduce the activities of German companies in Xinjiang. Ironically, a step that would not only have a direct negative impact on German companies operating in Xinjiang, but also on the Uighurs by eliminating career opportunities, and thus essentially subordinate German interests to American interests.

A bitter aftertaste should also be left by the fact that the behavior of the media and politicians to sell a lie to the German population with appeals to our historical sense of guilt is not unprecedented. After all, it was not least Rudolf Scharping's assurances that massacres and ethnic cleansing were being carried out in Kosovo and concentration camps were being operated in Pristina that created the necessary conditions in 1999 for participation in NATO's war in violation of international law and in the first German combat mission after the Second World War. All the accusations turned out to be unfounded afterwards. For his part, the then Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, defended the Greens' decision for war and against the fundamental values of his own party with the words "Never again Auschwitz!". The Kosovo War was also a NATO initiative without any relation to the interests of the German population.

The hearing on the genocide in Xinjiang shows that it is possible in the German Bundestag, with the involvement of questionable experts and manipulative expert opinions, to play political theater in order to sell an untruth. Adrian Zenz has been criticized for years for his academically questionable and manipulative works and, due to his one-sided conclusions, is also suspected of being a paid propagandist. Nevertheless, he was repeatedly invited to hearings as a China expert. The report commissioned by Margarete Bause shows that the scientific service of the Bundestag may also resort to dubious sources and may thus come to wrong conclusions in case of doubt.

The preparatory work for the political farce of the Human Rights Committee was done by the reporting of the German media, which, even years after Zenz's credibility was in question, continued to present him as an expert and who take up every new publication of the ASPI as if it were the work of a trustworthy, neutral authority. It can only be explained by a telling lack of interest in facts that German media continue to cite discredited sources, and to this day still report about one million detainees in Xinjiang. Or that no media worker notices that accusations of forced labor in the cotton fields or the genocide of a religious minority are narratives tailored specifically to US and German target groups.

There are real consequences for the credibility of the Bundestag if propagandists are sold as experts and academically deficient reports are used as a basis for political decisions. It has real consequences for the credibility of the German media when the same long-discredited stories are presented to the public for years without criticism and correction and the same tendentious sources are used.

The alleged genocide in Xinjiang will not be the last anti-Chinese campaign. The US State Department alone has an annual propaganda budget of 300 million US dollars "to counter China's influence". And based on the experience gained on the subject of Xinjiang, it can be assumed that German politicians and German media will rather put themselves at the service of the next anti-Chinese campaign than to serve the enlightenment and that the historical consciousness of guilt of the Germans will once again be driven through the press as soon as this is helpful for a geostrategic goal of the United States. It is difficult to argue that this is in the interests of the German population, which these democratic institutions are designed to serve.

The original article links all sources.