In Malaysia, China’s PR blitz on Uygurs in Xinjiang sparks anger | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

In Malaysia, China’s PR blitz on Uygurs in Xinjiang sparks anger

In op-eds carried by several media outlets, China’s ambassador Bai Tian denounced ‘Western’ reports of abuses in Xinjiang.

But the commentaries in English, Chinese and Malay have backfired, causing outrage online and among the country’s leading Muslim intellectuals.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last October released 11 Uygurs who had been jailed under the previous administration, disregarding China’s request to extradite them to Beijing. Photo: APMalaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last October released 11 Uygurs who had been jailed under the previous administration, disregarding China’s request to extradite them to Beijing. Photo: AP
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last October released 11 Uygurs who had been jailed under the previous administration, disregarding China’s request to extradite them to Beijing. Photo: AP
In op-eds published by several Malaysian media outlets last week, China’s ambassador to the Muslim-majority country denounced “Western media reports” of Uygurs and other minorities being detained in Xinjiang province as sensationalised “half truths”.
Bai Tian’s commentary, headlined “Truths about Xinjiang that Western politicians and media won’t tell you”, was carried by newspapers including the English-language The Star and Malay Mail, the Malay-language Berita Harian and Sin Chew Jit Poh, which is published in Chinese.
Rights groups including the United Nations say more than a million Muslims are being held against their will in a bid to erase their culture.

Bai, however, in his commentary said Beijing did protect the rights of religious minorities, citing Xinjiang’s many halal restaurants and the fact that there was one mosque for every 530 people in the province – a higher ratio than in Turkey.

“What minorities in China like Uygurs are facing is not torture, but policies and social welfare far more favourable than what their Han brethren are enjoying,” he said.

But the ambassador’s public relations blitz in the media – coupled with videos on the embassy’s official Facebook page highlighting “thousands of terrorist attacks” in Xinjiang – did little to reshape public opinion in Malaysia over China’s internment of its Muslim minorities. Instead, the commentaries sparked anger online and among the country’s leading Muslim intellectuals

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This "re-education" campaign is either an attempt at a complete ethnic cleansing of the Uygur people, or a way to clamp down on anti-Chinese violence; depending on what the Chinese believe they will gain from their efforts. And perhaps, a bit of both elements are at work here.

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