lørdag 17. april 2021

From cover-up to propaganda blitz: China's attempts to control the narrative on Xinjiang

China's Foreign Ministry this week issued the most forceful defense of its policies in Xinjiang to date, calling allegations of "genocide" in the region the "lie of the century." The statement -- made in response to ongoing calls for a possible boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics -- represents the culmination of a long evolution of China's official narrative regarding its treatment of Uyghurs.

This evolving strategy, from outright denial to hardened public defense, is closely tied to the Chinese government's own increased sense of confidence on the world stage, and its willingness to confront its critics in the West head on, be it over Xinjiang, the South China Sea or Hong Kong, a CNN analysis shows. In recent months, Xinjiang has become something of a patriotic litmus test, in which those wishing to do business with China must pick a side -- either stand with Beijing in implicit defense of its policies, or face the consequences.

The propaganda campaign has also reached a fever pitch, with state media reporters dispatched to Xinjiang to supposedly "prove" there is no oppression there, a "La La Land"-inspired musical released to make Beijing's case, while critics overseas have faced sanctions and harassment.