The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) embassy in Australia held a two-hour press conference on Wednesday. In a typical communist propaganda event, its sole purpose was concocting an “optimistic” and “cheerful” picture of the situation in Xinjiang and at the same time, issuing a warning to Australia which is joining the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, and the United States in complaining to China about increasing allegations of persecution against the Uighur minority.
As reported by various Australian media, this was not a typical press conference. According to descriptions, “it was a real full-scale performance inside a ballroom,” said News Australia.
The Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, was the main speaker, positioned next to the Chinese and Australian flags and accompanied on Zoom by a large group of men seated at a table, seen on a screen. The event was titled: “Xinjiang is a Wonderful Land.”
The screen aired a highly produced video that recounted life in Xinjiang province as being “a wonderful land of prosperity and progress,” another slogan said that the province is: “A land of harmony and stability.” Happy people could be seen smiling, along with numerous images of apparent “progress.”
However, allegations claim that the province governed by the CCP, far from being a kind of paradise on earth as the CCP tried to sell it, is a land where 1 million Uighur Muslims, belonging to ethnic minorities, are held in forced detention and slave labor camps.
After the video, six “Xinjiang experts” took turns to speak but only read from a prepared script, empty of content but full of weak phrases reflecting a supposed “wonderful life” and progress in Xinjiang province. Another speaker read out a series of unsubstantiated statistics to support the theoretical welfare of the region.
After the individual monologues, there was to be an interlude followed by a round of questions with the journalists present. But to everyone’s surprise, when they returned to their seats, the alleged “Xinjiang experts” were gone, and the questions had to be answered by CCP staff.
Questions about persecution, killings, forced abortions, and torture were conspicuously dodged, and the ambassador lost no opportunity to warn Australia that, “If Australia is to follow other international allies in imposing sanctions on China, the Communist government ‘will respond in kind.'”
The set-up put together by the CCP in Australia is undoubtedly in response to the recent endorsement issued by Foreign Minister Marise Payne in a joint statement with New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Both nations supported the measures announced by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union regarding the condemnation of the exploitation and persecution of the Uyghur minority in China.
“The Australian and New Zealand Governments today reiterate their grave concerns about the growing number of credible reports of severe human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” the statement said.
“In particular, there is clear evidence of severe human rights abuses that include restrictions on freedom of religion, mass surveillance, large-scale extra-judicial detentions, as well as forced labor and forced birth control, including sterilization,” it continues.
Xinjiang Vice Governor Erkin Tuniyaz claimed during the bizarre event that foreigners with ulterior motives were turning a blind eye to the positive aspects of the region and were spreading “rumors” about concentration camps, forced labor, religious conversion, and sterilization of women.
The Uighur Women’s Association in Australia spoke out on Facebook Wednesday, expressing decisive repudiation of the CCP’s actions:
“China is in a state of desperation to hold such a farcical press conference! The Australian community is already aware of the harsh realities of human rights abuses and genocide being committed. Australia has to protect itself from this kind of foreign influence and take ACTION NOW!”