09/01/2022KOK BAYRAQA+ | A-
Bachelet alluded to the fact that more than 900 “civil organizations” asked her not to publish the report. But these “organizations” either do not exist or are just CCP fronts.
by Kok Bayraq
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), Ms. Michelle Bachelet, has now left her office on August 31. In the last days before leaving, she hinted that she might not keep her promise to publish a long-awaited “Xinjiang report,” although at the last minute she published it. She stated that in recent months, her “office had received letters from about 40 countries, including China, asking for non-publication of the report.” She added, “I have been under tremendous pressure to publish, or not to publish.” She alluded to the fact that an impressive number of “civil organizations” asked her not to publish the report.
When I saw the open letter in China Daily with more than 900 civil organizations listed as signatories, I laughed sarcastically, wondering who would believe this statement. China is again trying to fool the world, which is essentially fooling itself. Interestingly, I did not expect that this would put much pressure on one of the most prestigious persons in the world’s most prestigious organization—the UN.
Both political history and China’s own legal documents have proven that civil organizations cannot exist in a one-party government system. “Civil” organizations in such a regime are realistically a piece of the government or puppet organizations. This is common knowledge for primary school students, so how could High Commissioner Bachelet claim not to know about it?
I spent a few days searching for information about the organizations listed in the open letter, and 90% of them do not exist on either Google or Baidu. Let us consider the list logically. Who are these 900+ so-called “civil organizations”?
There are numerous organizations on the list that include the name Xinjiang. The reality is that regulations dictate that no more than 15 Uyghurs can gather for a wedding or funeral. Uyghur residents need police approval even to accept visitors into their homes. Therefore, how can such “civil organizations” exist? Uyghurs are not allowed to see uncensored international news, and many are punished for crossing the great wall of the Internet. How would they know about the sensitive news about the Xinjiang report? If there are some organizations with Han settlers who could speak to the world, they are not civilians but part of auxiliary alliances of Chinese officials and armed forces, i.e., the very people who are committing genocide. They are the main group that is benefitting from government systems and the genocide against the Uyghurs, so their opinions cannot be regarded as independent. With that said, I do not believe that these organizations exist at all.
Some of the named civil organizations are associated with the provinces of inner China. Recently, expert Holly Snape published the report “Re-writing the rules,” which concluded that Chinese officials assessing civil servants’ “political quality” also control NGOs and their regulations. The report also stated that China has enhanced laws and policies a step forward and does not allow for an independent civil society; civil society organizations must submit to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “total” leadership over their operations.
Thus, we can say that all the organizations on the list, if they truly exist, are branches of government agencies and are not really part of civil society.
I also noticed that of the foreign friendship organizations from “40 countries” on the list, most have no formal regulations or systems, and they are based on specific financial interests. For example, Diana Greer, head of the US–China Cooperation Association, is the head of a travel agency, and she needs the support of the Chinese consulate to develop her business.
Another expert, Kalpit A Makikar, stated in a report, “Overseas Chinese have always had a unique relationship with China’s rulers since its imperial past. Since the Communist takeover in 1949, the party-state has sought to coopt ethnic Chinese settled abroad through the United Front Work Department (UFWD).” He continued, “Now, Xi Jinping is weaponizing overseas Chinese on an industrial scale, and its reverberations are being felt in Western democracies.”
Some of the foreign organizations, including the US–China People’s Friendship Association, were under the wing of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship (CPAFFC). The CPAFFC has been described as the “public face” of the CCP’s UFWD. The CPAFFC‘s leadership is drawn from the upper ranks of the CCP. Its current chairperson is Lin Songtian, China’s former ambassador to South Africa, who suggested that the U.S. Army was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China.
The most important thing of note is that no single organization among the 900+ listed has any reputation or recognition in the world. They have never been known for any worthy activity and have never spoken out against any government, yet they suddenly voice concerns when the Uyghur genocide is being publicized, which should raise questions about their origins and nature. Therefore, the letter, whether it contains real or fake signatures, was prepared by the UFWD, whose goal is to “make the foreigners serve China” (Chinese: 洋为中用).
Ms. Bachelet also said that she had received an opinion from China and was investigating the facts based on that opinion. Thus, she was still considering Chinese officials truthful, which is odd given that her own words were changed and falsely reported by them as “Bachelet admires the human rights record of China.” This fake news still appears on China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, which is why Ms. Bachelet’s should have known how Chinese propaganda operates.
Ms. Bachelet may have had a number of reasons to delay until the last day she was in office the publication of the Xinjiang report, as others have discussed in Bitter Winter. We may only hope her successor will be more committed to the real cause of human rights.
Kok Bayraq is a political émigré from East Turkestan (Ch. Xinjiang) and an opponent of the Sinicization of his homeland. He left China in 1994 when his journalism got him “into trouble with the authorities,”and is now living in Washington, D.C.. His unique thoughts and feelings published in Taipei Times and Global Voice comment on the ongoing Uyghur genocide.