To see the many videos referenced in this piece, go to the NYT link below.–Kirk
Source: NYT (6/22/21)
‘We Are Very Free’: How China Spreads Its Propaganda Version of Life in Xinjiang
By Jeff Kao, Raymond Zhong, Paul Mozur, Aliza Aufrichtig, Nailah Morgan and Aaron Krolik
This article is published with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom.
Recently, the owner of a small store in western China came across some remarks by Mike Pompeo, the former U.S. secretary of state. What he heard made him angry.
A worker in a textile company had the same reaction. So did a retiree in her 80s. And a taxi driver.
Mr. Pompeo had routinely accused China of committing human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, and these four people made videos to express their outrage. They did so in oddly similar ways.
“Pompeo said that we Uyghurs are locked up and have no freedom,” the store owner said.
“There’s nothing like that at all in our Xinjiang,” said the taxi driver.
“We are very free,” the retiree said.
“We are very free now,” the store owner said.
“We are very, very free here,” the taxi driver said.
“Our lives are very happy and very free now,” the textile company worker said.
These and thousands of other videos are meant to look like unfiltered glimpses of life in Xinjiang, the western Chinese region where the Communist Party has carried out repressive policies against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.
Most of the clips carry no logos or other signs that they are official propaganda. But taken together, the videos begin to reveal clues of broader coordination — such as the English subtitles in clips posted to YouTube and other Western platforms. A monthslong analysis of more than 3,000 of the videos by The New York Times and ProPublica found evidence of an influence campaign orchestrated by the Chinese government. Continue reading