Rudy Gobert and the Infectious Disease of the Uyghur “Genocide” Myth

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Some may know Rudy Gobert as the Utah Jazz center who, back in March 2020, made a mockery of COVID-19 by coughing and touching the microphones of reporters. Gobert and several other Jazz players would end up testing positive for COVID-19. Now Gobert is once again back in the media spotlight for reasons other than basketball. This time, the French basketball player is being showered with praise by the U.S. and European establishments after sharing an Instagram post from French actor Omar Sy denouncing China’s so-called oppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. Sy’s post regurgitated the commonly repeated narrative that millions of Uyghurs languish in “concentration camps” as part of a targeted campaign of anti-Muslim genocide.

Gobert and Sy are not alone in believing that China is detaining its Uyghur population in “concentration camps.” This narrative has become a staple of the U.S. and West’s overall anti-China policy over the past two years. Allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang have led the United States in particular to level sanctions on Communist Party of China officials as well as companies in Xinjiang that serve as suppliers to major U.S. corporations. Thus, no one will be forcing Gobert to apologize for his political stance on the issue. In fact, the World Uyghur Congress immediately issued a statement on Twitter to Gobert thanking him for his “courage and empathy.”

But what is the World Uyghur Congress and the other so-called experts claiming the existence of genocide in Xinjiang? Most of them are connected to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and its related institutions. Take the World Uyghur Congress. The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) was established in Germany in 1996 initially as the World Uyghur Youth Congress (WCYU) by Omer Kanat and Dolkun Isa. Kanat worked as a senior editor for Radio Free Asia for ten years between the years 1999 and 2009. Radio Free Asia was literally created by the CIA in the 1950s to subvert the post-revolution social order in China while the WUC received grants in the sum of nearly one million dollars in 2019 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a soft power institution linked to the CIA.

The NED has provided millions in overall funds to so-called Uyghur human rights groups based in the United States and the West. These groups are supported by a network of think-tanks and foundations that have attempted to legitimize claims of Uyghur genocide with academic “research.” The most widely cited academic is Adrian Zenz. Zenz is a Christian fundamentalist who is opposed to gender equality and believes he is “led by God” to take down the Communist Party of China. He works for the Jamestown Foundation and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, both of which credit their genesis to the U.S. government and the CIA.

In other words, Zenz is little more than a mouthpiece of the U.S. empire when it comes to China. His body of work includes making sensational claims that China is sterilizing Uyghur women through birth control policies and detaining the Uyghur population in “concentration camps” by the millions. Neither of these claims have been backed by solid evidence. The Uyghur population in China has increased exponentially between the years 2010-2018. Furthermore, a number of Muslim majority countries have supported China’s policy of de-radicalization in Xinjiang while not a single U.S. or Western source has been able to verify claims that China is locking away Uyghurs in “concentration camps.”

The negation of the political reality in Xinjiang is by design. Plenty of opportunities have been afforded to U.S. and Western journalists to investigate the situation in Xinjiang for themselves. Reuters, perhaps the chief promoter in the corporate media of the Uyghur genocide myth, traveled to the region in 2019. Their report was largely dismissive of findings that the “concentration camps” they speak of are actually reeducation and employment centers meant to assist those caught in the exploitative trap of terrorist organizations like the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), recently renamed the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP). TIP committed regular acts of terrorist violence on China’s soil from 1990-2016, killing hundreds if not thousands of people.

Often missing from the U.S. and Western narrative on Xinjiang is that so-called scholars such as Zenz are directly connected to both terrorist organizations responsible for separatist violence in Xinjiang and U.S. military contractors. Istiqlal TV, for example, is an Uyghur-exile network based in Turkey that regularly hosts leaders from TIP in its programming. This media organization is where Zenz derived his conclusion that millions of Uyghurs are detained in Xinjiang. Another favorite source of Adrian Zenz, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), is sponsored by weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman. It should come as no surprise that much of the so-called “mapping” data of detention centers in Xinjiang has been exposed as nothing more misread satellite images of schools and other public institutions.

The ASPI and the other handful of sources linked to the military industrial complex reveal just how politized the term “genocide” has become. The great Edward Herman’s book The Politics of Genocide encapsulates the hypocrisy of the U.S. and West’s crusade against China’s Xinjiang policy. One set of rules regarding genocide apply to the U.S. and Western powers, while another set entirely to China. U.S. and Western leaders can promote claims as fact so long as the sources are close to their own military and intelligence apparatuses. Meanwhile, the U.S. and the West never have to answer for their own well-documented participation in genocide and torture.

The list of examples of U.S. and Western-sponsored genocide is too large to list in full here, but they include the mass torture campaign at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (of which Rushan Abbas, Uyghur exile activist, and former DoD translator, was a full participant), the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples in North America and Australia, the U.S.’ mass incarceration and wonton murder of Black Americans by the national security state, and the tens of millions of people killed and displaced in Muslim majority countries by U.S. and Western wars since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The U.S. and Western way of life is steeped in Eurocentric racism which forms the roots of its promotion of ethnic strife, division, and racism in Xinjiang. U.S. and Western officials support the break up of Xinjiang into its own “nation” called East Turkistan. This “nation” would be led by the likes of Al-Qaeda affiliated Uyghur forces currently fighting the Syrian government in places like Idlib.

Rudy Gobert’s comment on Xinjiang is an exemplary case of the ways in which the quest to maintain U.S. and Western hegemony has been cloaked in concern for a mythical genocide in China. The truth is that China’s growing influence in the world is behind the increased interest in Xinjiang from imperial powers thousands of miles away. Xinjiang is the heartland of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a multilateral and multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan that involves over 120 nations. Neither the U.S. nor its Western junior partners can offer such a plan to the rest of the world. When it comes to U.S. and Western narratives regarding Xinjiang, it is important to return to the source. Rudy Gobert and many others would find a better use of their time looking into and opposing the crimes of their own governments rather than serving as cheap geopolitical missionaries for the U.S. Department of State.

*(Top image: Rudy Gobert. Credit: Vivint Smart Home/ YouTube)

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