Yes, the West looked the other way during the 1930s, when people were starving. But the West is also looking the other way in 2019, refusing to see the concentration camps in China’s Xinjiang province. These camps have been designed to suppress the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority whose status in China in some ways resembles that of Ukrainians in the old U.S.S.R. Like the Ukrainians who did not want to be Sovietized, the Uighurs do not want to be fully absorbed into the Chinese state. Like the Soviets, the Chinese have responded with repression. Previous Chinese leaders sought to flood Xinjiang with ethnic Chinese, the same tactic they used against Tibetans. More recently, the state has grown harsher, creating camps where at least 1 million Uighurs undergo forced indoctrination designed to eradicate their language and culture.
In truth, we know far more about these camps, and about the accompanying repression, than anyone in 1933 knew about the famine in Ukraine.