Engaged in a propaganda war against its Uyghur Muslim minority, the Chinese communist regime is running a campaign to malign and terrorize Uyghurs who have lost contact with loved ones, reports Bitter Winter, an online magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China.
“A text message out of the blue from a relative begging them to return, hounding calls from officials, or as in Aziz Isa Elkun’s case, a Chinese news feature with his elderly mother, castigating him for being a bad son, strike terror in the hearts of traumatized exiles, leaving them in a no man’s land of grief and longing,” the report said.
The campaign includes disseminating “proof-of-Life videos” to discredit Uyghurs who dare to speak out about atrocities.
The targets mostly are relatives and friends of victims.
The report noted the U.S.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project has completed an analysis of 22 Chinese government-orchestrated clips in which missing, interned and otherwise persecuted family members are paraded as healthy and alive.
Some are displayed as being critical of family members who make claims against the government.
The report by Emily Upson said the campaign opened with a rather crude video of singer and musician Abdurehim Heyit, who reportedly had died in custody.
“The clumsy, hostage style video against a grey tiled background, refuted the assertions by parading the shaven headed Heyit to reassure his fans that he was in ‘good health,’ and had ‘never been abused,'” she wrote.
The video likely backfired, since it was followed by a flurry of online criticism.
But the government responded with more videos designed to refute the claims.
“Many purport to be investigative pieces by journalists who set out down long dusty roads, on a mission to retrieve the lost relatives and redeem the reputation of China. They are met by outraged families, dismayed by the unpatriotic behavior of their children, who urge them to return repentant to the bosom of the party,” Upson wrote.
The propaganda scheme was confirmed by Jerkat Jawdat, a software engineer, who had tried for years to bring his mother to the U.S.
His efforts reached the ears of the Chinese Communist Party, which released a video of his mother, Munawer Tursun, praising the CCP and criticizing him.
“The CCP was not to know, however, that their tactics would be later exposed by a western journalist who managed to locate Munawer in Xinjiang, and discover a more sinister back story. She described the stage management, the scripting, the hours posing with various kinds of fruit and manipulation of the set,” the report said.
Bitter Winter noted that William Nee of the China Human Rights Defenders described the videos as “hostage style.”
“Psychological intimidation of both the detainee and families watching, manipulation into silence, defamation and discrediting witnesses and their statements, were all par for the course,” the report said.
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