Radio Free Asia, a media organization publicly funded by the US government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, alleged in a now-viral report last week that China was forcing Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang to hand over their Qurans and prayer mats under the threat of punishment. They also quoted the so-called “World Uighur Congress” which allegedly confirmed this as well. China struck back over the weekend, however, when Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad Zhao Lijian wrote on Twitter that “This is totally baseless. Muslims in China enjoy good life. Radio Free Asia is anti-China. World Uyghur Congress is a separatist group”. The diplomat was right on all four counts, as the only basis for this fake news report was the separatist “World Uyghur Congress” whose claims were disseminated to global media by means of the anti-China Radio Free Asia, thus making the accusation totally baseless and refuting the Mainstream Media-driven assertion that Muslims don’t enjoy a good life in China.
That’s what’s important to focus on here – the way in which this story rose to global attention – because it says a lot about how the fake news industry is weaponized by government-affiliated outlets for geostrategic purposes. To be clear, there’s a difference between publicly funded organizations and state-run ones, as the former is editorially independent while the latter isn’t, but Radio Free Asia is operating in this context more along the lines of a state-run outlet than a free one. The reason for thinking this is because the company republished unproven but very serious accusations against the Chinese government which came from an untrustworthy source, the “World Uighur Congress”, which has a self-interest in discrediting Beijing and provoking Muslims all across the world to rise up against it in Xinjiang in the New Cold War just like they did against the USSR in Afghanistan during the Old Cold War.
One might be inclined to chalk this up to professional incompetency had it not been for the fact that this narrative perfectly aligns with the unstated one being pursued by American intelligence organizations, which want to damage China’s soft power standing in the global Muslim community – or “Ummah” – in order to slow down the speed with which Beijing’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity is being implementing in Central Asia, South Asia, and the Mideast. In addition, while it can’t be known for sure, it convincingly seems like this was a coordinated media offensive given how fast the story was picked up and spread across different information outlets all across the world, most of which didn’t adequately (key word) inform their readers that it was based entirely on an unverified claim by a self-interested separatist-terrorist organization’s reports to the publicly financed US media outlet “Radio Free Asia”.
At the end of the day, this entire story was nothing more than a fake news infowar attack cooked up by the US “deep state” through two of its anti-Chinese proxies, but it wasn’t by any means the first, and certainly won’t be the last.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review