Chinese ambassador trots out members of persecuted Muslim minority to say they aren’t mistreated at a bizarre press conference followed by a six-minute ‘Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land’ propaganda video
- China has denied human rights abuses in Xinjiang in propaganda presentation
- Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye described the allegations as ‘fake news’
- Australia has condemned restrictions on the freedom of religion, forced labour
China’s embassy in Australia has denied human rights abuses in Xinjiang in a bizarre propaganda presentation to local media.
With global pressure rising over Beijing’s appalling treatment of Uighur Muslims, China attempted to paint a rosy picture through videos featuring the persecuted minority group and speeches beamed into Canberra from Xinjiang.
Australia has condemned restrictions on the freedom of religion, mass surveillance, extra-judicial detentions, forced labour and sterilisation, but stopped short of sanctions.
Canberra has also refrained from calling events in Xinjiang genocide as the United States and some other western nations have described them.
China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye used a rare media appearance at his residence to refute the claims.
China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye (pictured) used a press conference on Wednesday to deny human rights abuses in Xinjiang
‘We reject those allegations which we think is fake news. Irrelevant stories that are made up by certain anti-China forces,’ he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
‘Over time, there has been some distorted coverage about Xingjiang in certain western media. Those reports are basically based on disinformation or misinformation.’
His speech was followed by the video presentation titled ‘Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land’, which was also shown in London last month as Chinese missions step up a propaganda offensive to counter its damaging human rights record.
‘This is a land of harmony and stability, where people from various ethnic backgrounds live and work in peace and contentment,’ the video said.
‘Over the long course of history people from various ethnic backgrounds in Xinjiang, joined by those from across the country, have worked together to develop this vast, magnificent part of the motherland.
‘Ever since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government has placed high on its agenda the inheritance, protection and development of the excellent traditional ethnic cultures in Xinjiang.’
The press conference included a propaganda video presentation painting a rosy picture of ethnic harmony in Xinjiang, China
The videos were followed by addresses from officials and other people in Xinjiang.
The speeches repeated claims of economic prosperity and religious harmony after a period of terrorist attacks.
Through a translator, Xinjiang Vice-Governor Erkin Tuniyaz said people with ulterior motives in foreign countries were turning a blind eye to people living good lives.
He said rumours had been spread about concentration camps, forced labour, religious conversions and sterilisation.
‘These allegations cannot be more preposterous and they are downright lies.’
The East Turkistan Australian Association condemned the communist regime for ‘genocide policies’ that locked up millions of Uighur people in prison-style concentration camps.
Detainees listening to speeches in a camp in Lop County, Xinjiang, China
‘Regardless how China describes the situation, it is no longer a simple human rights concern that (Uighurs) are subjected under the pervasive ethnic genocide and other crimes against humanity,’ the group said.
Ahead of the news conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled Australia would continue to speak out on human rights and other contentious issues.
‘We want a positive relationship, but we will have a positive relationship that is consistent with Australia acting in accordance with its values and its national character,’ he told reporters in Canberra.
‘That would never be something that we would yield for the sake of a relationship.’
The ambassador refused to answer a broader question about the China-Australia relationship but noted the embassy had repeatedly expressed dismay about criticism of human rights.