On January 19, 2021 during the Trump administration’s twilight hours, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally accused the Chinese government of committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims of the Xinjiang region of western China.
The press statement alleged:
Arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained, forced labor, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.
The accusation was the climax of the Trump administration’s evolving trade war against the Chinese people.
For all of the republican condemnation of Joe Biden’s weak China policy, the Biden administration, led by neoliberal ghoul Antony Blinken, did not waste any time endorsing Mike Pompeo’s accusation of genocide and has doubled down on targeted economic sanctions.
The evolution of diplomatic tension between the United States and China is the dark prophecy of a principle often attributed to Frederick Bastiat: “if goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.”
Indeed, the charge of genocide has been heralded writ large across mainstream media, regurgitated by such truth-tellers as the New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, CNN, The Independent, Reuters and by a cast of other usual suspects. Those not accusing the Chinese government of genocide spew hawkish rhetoric at a fever pitch unheard since perhaps the invasion of Iraq. Even sometimes-antiwar voices in the mainstream such as Tucker Carlson, Bill Maher, and John Oliver have joined in the saber-rattling.
Much has changed since Operation: Iraqi “Freedom.” The legacy media is desperate for ratings. The US propaganda arm must know that controlling the narrative is no longer as simple as infiltrating television, print, and radio.
Accordingly, a survey of prominent independent outlets reveals the same US State Department narrative on China. For example, The Joe Rogan Experience, the largest podcast in the world, with approximately 200 million listeners per month, has validated the Uyghur genocide claim with Ben Shapiro. Rogan has gone even further–giving the CIA itself a platform to spook its China propaganda. Among the guilty are Steven Crowder, Dave Rubin, Reason Magazine, VICE, The Young Turks, and Democracy Now!.
Of all the above independent outlets, the most egregious purveyor of Chinese fear mongering is Tim Pool, an independent journalist who emerged into prominence during Occupy Wall Street.
Tim Pool is good on many issues. He opposes the COVID lockdowns and bailouts, the BLM riots, Cancel Culture, police brutality, corruption, and above all–dishonesty in the media. Tim Pool has platformed good libertarian voices such as Dave Smith, Michael Malice, Eric July, Julie Borowski, Phil Labonte, and Luke Rudkowski (who has unfortunately joined Pool’s Uyghur claims).
In spite of his praiseworthy qualities, Pool’s accusations against China are bombastic. Take for instance the lizard-brain caliber of his segment titles: “China is Colonizing The ENTIRE World Even As It EXTRACTS the US, This is How They WIN,” “China WEAPONIZES US Wokeness Where They Used To MOCK The ‘White Left’, They KNOW What They’re Doing,” “Joe Biden WILL Sell The US Out To China on a SILVER PLATTER If They Ask For It,” and, of course: “The Chinese Communist Party is PROFITING Off Its Human Rights Abuses Against Minority Groups.”
In a March 23rd segment he claimed “the biggest threat [the US has] ever faced [is] a rising and despotic authoritarian Chinese Communist Party.” In the same segment, Pool commended the Biden administration’s imposition of sanctions against China for “human rights abuses” against the Uyghurs.
As for the content behind his ludicrous headlines, Pool broadcasts the same US State Department talking points, reporting many unsubstantiated allegations as fact. Like the above mainstream media outlets, He has made affirmative claims that Uyghurs are being detained in concentration camps where they are subjected to systematic sexual torture, involuntary sterilization, and organ harvesting.
The genesis of these claims stem from a June 2020 report by German Christian fundamentalist researcher Adrian Zenz. This same Adrian Zenz has stated he is “led by God” to accuse the Chinese government. Zenz was recently sued by several Chinese firms, who allege his defamatory research caused compensable harm to their industries and led directly to US sanctions.
Investigative journalists Gareth Porter and Max Blumenthal have thoroughly refuted Zenz’s work, concluding: “a careful review of Zenz’s research shows that his assertion of genocide is contradicted by flagrant data abuse, fraudulent claims, cherry-picking of source material, and propagandistic misrepresentations.”
As illustrated by Porter and Blumenthal, Zenz’s allegations are easily explained by a shift in China’s one-child policy and improved access to voluntary birth control and family planning.
Aside from Zenz’s statistical misrepresentations, the bare facts do not support the genocide narrative. The Uyghur population in Xinjiang has grown from 4.67 million in 1953 to 11.3 million in 2018–hardly a genocide.
Zenz and others in the mainstream media rely heavily on “eyewitness accounts” of “human rights abuses.” Such accounts form the basis for everything from Tim Pool’s daily talk shows to the US State Department’s official 2020 “Reports on Human Rights Practices.” The latter of which does not contain citations, making it nearly impossible to audit.
This reliance on eyewitness accounts of human rights abuses is troublesome given that eyewitness testimony is one of the least reliable forms of evidence. Moreover, these accounts were not given under oath, were not subject to cross examination, and their credibility was not evaluated by a fact-finder such as a judge or jury. They are not reliable.
Were the testimony subject to these basic legal safeguards, it would likely be found wanting. In part, because the alleged “eyewitnesses” constantly change their testimony–especially after contact with organizations linked to the US State Department.
Blogger Moon of Alabama has scrutinized some of the most cited cases:
First is the case of Saragul Sautbay, a Uyghur woman who claims to have been imprisoned in a Chinese reeducation camp.
When Sautbay was first interviewed about her alleged experience in the camps, she claimed she was an instructor there, that she never witnessed any violence while working, and that meat was never served at the camp.
After gaining asylum in Sweden, several interviews were arranged for her by what Haaretz only called “a Swedish Uyghur association.” A term perhaps meant to obfuscate its connection with the CIA-linked World Uyghur Congress. Her story then changed. She now claims to have been a detainee of the camp, that she witnessed horrific violence there, and that Muslim Uyghur detainees were forced to eat pork.
Another “eyewitness,” Tursunay Ziawudun, claimed to have witnessed the systematic rape of detainees in internment camps. Her allegations were trumpeted by the mainstream media in February 2021. Quizzically, when Ziawudun was first interviewed after leaving China, she did not testify that she had witnessed any rape or violence.
Also as reported by Moon of Alabama, many Uyghur “eyewitnesses” are groomed through organizations connected to the US State Department and the CIA such as Radio Free Asia, the World Uyghur Congress, and the Uyghur Human Rights Project.
These organizations procured many of their “eyewitnesses” through Atajurt Eriktileri (Volunteers of the Fatherland)–a group founded by ethnic Kahzak Serikzhan Bilash to “keep track Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uyghurs in Xinjiang.”
Through 2018 and 2019, Bilash and other members of Atajurt travelled across Xinjiang convincing unsophisticated Uyghur farmers to “speak up about their detained relatives in Xinjiang…They arranged interviews with international media, helped people write petitions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and helped people record thousands of video appeals, which they all made public on their YouTube channel.”
One wonders how a group of “a few dozen rural Kazakhs” had the means to connect rural Uyghur farmers with the international media without the assistance of special interest groups.
In March 2019, the Kazahk government shut Atajurt down and arrested Bilash for “inciting ethnic hatred.” He was fined and released on the condition he cease his activism for seven years. He has since fled to Turkey with his family.
Bilash’s attorney blames Kazakhstan’s position in the Chinese Belt-and-Road Initiative as motivation to quell dissent. Even if the Kahzak government was cooperating with the Chinese Government to silence Bilash, it would not preclude the possibility that Bilash and Atajurt’s allegations are unfounded.
The Uyghur Victim Database is another oft-cited source for atrocity testimony. However, its FAQ section admits that its submissions are not fact-checked and should not be treated as “cold hard facts.” Furthermore, according to its founder, Gene Bunin, many of the victim testimonies appearing on the Uyghur Victim’s Database and on the Uyghur Pulse were procured by Atajurt.
Atajurt’s procurement of “eyewitness” testimony is even more suspect given the CIA’s alledged use of Uyghur terrorists as proxy forces.
Indeed, the CIA is rumored to have recruited and trained Uyghur Muslims for clandestine operations throughout the Middle East. Journalist Eric Margolis told Scott Horton in both November 2008 and April 2009 interviews that he witnessed Uyghur Muslims being trained in Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden and the Pakistani ISI with the knowledge and support of the CIA for the purpose of destabilizing China.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson claimed in a 2018 speech that up to 20,000 Chinese Uyghurs had fought on the side of Al Qaeda in Idlib, Syria. Several Chinese authorities believe these Uyghur forces were invited there by Turkey, a NATO ally.
But why would the Western establishment concoct a genocide? What is the angle here?
In the same 2018 speech, Colonel Wilkerson speculated about what a coherent US strategy in Afghanistan might look like. The strategy would have three major components. The first would be to station and keep hard military power in an extraordinarily inaccessible region of the world–an area located near the center of China’s land-based Belt and Road Initiative. The second would be to have military power next to what is potentially the world’s most unstable nuclear stockpile in Pakistan.
The third prong would be to have a military force in position to protect CIA operations into Xinjiang Province, were a hot war to break out. The 12-13 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang already dislike the Han Chinese. The CIA could stoke the existing ethnic tension to destabilize the region from within.
When revisiting the subject in an April 2, 2021 interview, Colonel Wilkerson reported this process may already be underway. According to official sources, Uyghurs who fought on the side of Al Qaeda in Syria are returning to Xinjiang. Some have already arrived. China is reportedly very concerned, as these are trained and experienced jihadi terrorists, at least in their eyes. There are rumors that Turkey and the United States may be aiding these Uyghur jihadis through Afghanistan and into Xinjiang. Colonel Wilkerson ominously concluded that these jihadis are not headed back to Xinjiang to “bake cake.”
Despite the evidence and rumors that the United States and Turkey are covertly involved with the Uyghurs, eyewitness testimony procured by Atajurt and the Xinjiang Victims Database forms the basis for most allegations of genocide, including a banner Newlines Institute policy report which argued the prima facia case that the Uyghur situation fits the definition of genocide under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
In March 2021 this same Newlines Report was plastered over every Western-aligned media outlet as the first “independent report” proving the Chinese Government is committing human rights abuses and genocide against the Uyghurs.
A deeper examination of the Newlines Report reveals that it is, in fact, not independent. Its principal authors, which include the aforementioned Adrian Zenz, are “members of the  Wallenberg Centre [and] the hawkish Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, [are] former US State Department officials, and [are] ardent supporters of US military interventionism.”
Furthermore, the report’s financier and the Newlines Institute’s parent organization, Fairfax University of America, is a sham organization whose accreditation was placed in jeopardy after the US Department of Education recommended its termination. This occurred just days before the publication of the New Lines report.
Given his frequent and vitriolic coverage of the issue, Tim Pool’s failure to audit this story, or to present any contradictory evidence is inexcusable. At its worst, it is downright sinister.
Take for instance Tim Pool’s chosen “experts” on the Uyghur issue: the cast of China Uncensored, whom he has platformed twice in the last four months–once before Christmas 2020 and again at the beginning of March 2021.
What Tim Pool may or may not know (he hasn’t addressed it) is that China Uncensored are an affiliate of New Tang Dynasty (NTD), a broadcasting entity also affiliated with the Epoch Times. Further, that the owners of NTD, the Epoch Times, and the cast of China Uncensored are members of Falun Gong, a bizarre spiritualist group founded in China in 1992 by its charismatic leader, Li Hongzhi.
Falun Gong is a hybrid creation of Buddhism and Taoism which involves mediation and adherence to Hongzhi’s teachings. Practitioners of Falun Gong receive the benefits of good health by having Fa energy implanted in their abdomen.
Hongzhi claims that Falun Gong practitioners can levitate and walk through walls. He also claims he can “use [his] mind to direct and order things to happen” and that “aliens have begun to invade the human mind and its ideology and culture.” Former practitioners have accused Falun Gong of being a cult, and have explained that members frequently die from foregoing medical treatment.
In 1999 Falun Gong ran afoul of the Chinese government. Hongzhi and many of his followers fled to New York City. They now reside in a secretive 400 acre compound in upstate New York.
Soon after arriving in the United States, Hongzhi and his practitioners launched a campaign to expose the Chinese Government’s persecution of Falun Gong. In 2000 John Tang, one of Hongzhi’s followers, founded the Epoch Times. After founding the Epoch Times, Tang and other Falun Gong practitioners created New Tang Dynasty, a nonprofit broadcasting outlet.
In 2009, after the Epoch Times and NTD had grown from small startups to sustainable outlets, their “Master” Hongzhi personally addressed them in a combined staff event. In his address, Houghzhi reiterated the outlets’ mission, to “become regular media” and expose the evil of the Chinese government.
This is the same cast that appeared on Timcast IRL to accuse the Chinese government of committing genocide, systematic rape, torture, and organ harvesting. During his most recent appearance on Timcast IRL, China Uncensored host Chris Chappel specifically mentioned the Chinese government’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners.
In the combined four and a half hours of content that Tim Pool has filmed with China Uncensored, how could he fail to question them even once about their affiliation with Falun Gong and NTD–especially when these accusations of organ harvesting notoriously stem from Falun Gong itself?
Given the seriousness of the allegations and the implication of military or cultural confrontation, it is inexcusable to broadcast them as fact.
So what about the other claims that Tim Pool and China Uncensored have made? Are there really millions of Chinese Uyghurs locked away in concentration camps? What about the Drone footage we saw?
As the Grey Zone reports, the support for the US State Department’s claim that there are 800,000 to 2 million Uyghurs detained in concentration camps stems from two sources. One of those sources is–you guessed it–Adrian Zenz. The other source is the “Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders,” (NCHRD) a Washington-supported policy institute. NCHRD’s 2018 report reached its conclusions after interviewing a total of eight individuals. These reports are not credible.
The truth is more complicated than Tim Pool, China Uncensored, and the mainstream media would have you believe. In fact, the truth seems more akin to the US’s own prison system.
According to Peter Lee, an independent reporter whose work appears in Asia Times, the Chinese Government is attempting to integrate the Uyghurs more closely into Chinese society. The purported goal is to reduce terrorism and to transform the predominantly rural Uyghur population into cosmopolitan factory workers. As terse as it is to say, the Uyghur population is worth much more to the Chinese Government alive than dead.
With that goal in mind, yes, vocational education and training facilities do exist in Xinjiang. The Chinese Government openly admits this. It is unclear just how many Uyghurs are in these facilities and if they are there voluntarily. There is evidence that some are compensated enough to send money home to their families. Without a thorough audit, however, it is next to impossible to know the true numbers and the reality of their experience there.
If the court documents provided by The Xinjiang Victims Database are reliable, it also appears that some Uyghurs are sentenced to these facilities as a part of a criminal punishment. Admittedly, many of these convictions appear unjust.
Is Xinjiang a bastion of classical liberal ideals? Absolutely not. Neither is it the Great Leap Forward or the Holocaust. Even if it were, the issue would not be solved by humanitarian military intervention.
Regardless, Pool often speaks of the inevitability of war with China, citing Thucydides Trap and the Strass and Howe Theory of the 4th Turning. From this, he argues war is inevitable–we must fight for our own preservation.
These are self-fulfilling prophecies.
War is the most lied about affair in history. The Uyghur Genocide issue is a large cog in the rising confrontation between the West and China. Before diving headlong into the next world conflict, or the next half century of nuclear brinkmanship, let us take a sober look at the evidence.
I welcome Tim Pool and the independent media to do the same.
Patrick MacFarlane is a practicing attorney and host of the Liberty Weekly Podcast where he covers libertarian legal theory and Austrian economics. Find his work at http://www.libertyweekly.net.