丹尼尔·邓布里尔：我不相信西方版的新疆故事，但我也想说……最后更新: 2021-04-15 07:55:27导读
Guancha：Your Xinjiang video “The Xinjiang Genocide-an excerpt from the 'Genocide' panel is” has been widely reported by mainland media. Could you share your feelings about that online video conference?
Dumbrill：The panel I took part in was a great opportunity to collaborate and discuss our concerns with the Xinjiang Genocide narrative. I had no idea it would be shared so widely and am really pleased that so many people saw it. There isn’t enough pushback against this highly problematic narrative which is geopolitically driven by people who I don’t believe really actually care for the Uyghur people. They have done a good job to weaponize the compassion of ordinary people who really do think they’re doing the right thing by believing this narrative and making noise about it.
Guancha：What feedback have you received since the video aired？Any new discoveries and feelings since then？
Dumbrill：Critics who are only going to believe negative stories and perspectives on China will never change their mind. Instead of listening to what I said, they looked into my background and found that I own a business. They then used that to say “why am I going to listen to a guy who owns a bar”.
It wouldn’t have mattered what they found and if I did something else, they’d simply replace “bar” with whatever else it is they found in order to use a superficial excuse to sink back into their content state of deep cognitive dissonance. Ironically, they’re willing to listen to people who work for think tanks that are funded by the military industrial complex who profit from selling China threat stories and weapons thereafter. These same people who don’t want to listen to someone just because they own a business have no problem listening to people whose line of work have an actual directly connected conflict of interest. It’s a remarkable phenomenon to witness.
From other people who were on the fence, I got some feedback from them, saying I put them into a position to be a more wary of the narrative, where now they’ll at least examine the claims with a bit more scrutiny rather than prematurely forming a conclusion, especially considering the possible global consequences of supporting this increased aggression, which I outlined in my video.
Guancha：I believe you and I both have encountered some people around us who would "intuitively" believe western propaganda and "intuitively" question the Chinese government. What do you think is the cause of that？
Dumbrill：A lot of it just comes down to the quality of propaganda from the West. They can literally recycle an old propaganda story that they’ve used and been exposed on over and over again and not many people seem to be any wiser. Coordinated propaganda campaigns like this are highly sophisticated and is deployed in such great volumes, the ordinary person doesn’t have enough time to think about it in any meaningful way. As people like to say “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”. I’ve found a lot of people have been so bombarded with this story, that they’ve come to a lazy compromise and say things like “well, even if only 10% of it is true, we still have a big problem here”.
Guancha：We believe that the West will not give up the "Xinjiang issue". What do you think Chinese people should do to prepare for that？
Dumbrill：It doesn’t matter what China does, even if the Xinjiang story was totally debunked tomorrow, America would find something else. The critical issue here is that America can not accept a peer competitor. Even if China changed to America’s type of liberal democracy, something they keep saying China’s people need, as long as China didn’t submit to a set of rules that would allow America to stay on top, they’d just do what they always do, they’d interfere with China’s elections and/or overthrow the government just like they do all over the world, this is the REAL reason America wants China to open up.
China needs to remain on high alert, but it also needs to better explain to its own people why they need to do this. Many Chinese people lack the context of what America has done around the world. Unlike in America where people are surrounded in an environment that produces a troubling amount of xenophobia in their society, Chinese people learnt about how great America is, with the exception of the Eight-Nation Alliance incident of course, but they don’t learn about the brutal truths of America’s global empire of exploitation. Learning about this would give more context to understand not only what America is trying to do to China now, but to also understand the sometimes annoying over-reactions and controls that are in place in China.
Had China been a society like America’s, I’d be more reluctant to make this recommendation, because it would be the source of terrible xenophobia, just like with what we’re seeing with the violence against Asian Americans now, which is corresponding with their anti-China propaganda.
Here in China, people have grown up watching non-stop TV shows about fighting the imperial Japanese soldiers, but Japanese people are treated with respect on the streets here. When I’m traveling around China and people ask where I’m from, they don’t mention the political tensions or the Meng Wanzhou case when I tell them I’m from Canada, they go back to OVER half a century ago to find something positive to say, and instead will bring up Norman Bethune’s name. It’s unfortunate that America has put China in a position where it needs to teach it’s people more about America’s dirty little secrets, but it’s going to be important to understand what’s going on and to be better equipped to respond and protect yourself against it. I trust that China wouldn’t allow this to turn into a problematic xenophobia problem like with what we’re seeing in America.
The other thing China should do, is to simply continue cooperating with the world in a way that brings dignity to others. Third world resource rich countries have been terribly exploited by the west for so long, they weren’t able to break themselves free from foreign influence like China did after the century of humiliation. China has now come to the table with more humanistic partnership options for these countries. Of course, China is looking for some benefit, but from what we’ve seen so far, there’s far more mutual benefit with China’s programs. China isn’t putting the same crippling terms and conditions on these countries that the IMF has, they’ve shown they’re willing to be flexible on debt, and thus far, it looks like they’re building meaningful infrastructure that goes beyond just enough stuff to get minerals from the mines to the ports. China isn’t overthrowing governments or funding rebels to accomplish their geopolitical interests either. Remain this way, don’t ever abandon these values.
Western media will do an incredible job to paint whatever China does in a negative light, but you can only hide the truth for so long. As they say “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” In the short term though, it seems that story telling abilities are just as important as actual action, and in that regard, China has very poor story telling abilities. This is something it should find a way to improve.
Guancha：What are your thoughts about what’s really going on in Xinjiang？
Dumbrill: As you of course already know, I don’t believe the West’s story on Xinjiang. I’ll be honest with you here, I don’t believe China’s story either, at least in terms of the media’s English content making it look like it’s a perfect paradise where people dance, laugh and play in harmony all day long. I do believe that the truth about what’s going on is far closer to China’s version of the story, but I do not believe there is a perfect way to fight terrorism where people’s lives aren’t going to be affected.
I’m going to say a few things that’s pure opinion and based on anecdotal evidence, so just keep that in mind from this point forward. There is oppression everywhere in this world when you live under a government, this part is true. Sometimes they are superficial day to day restrictions, and sometimes are more serious things, like how America used to arbitrarily put suspicious people on no-fly lists or how they’d send undercover FBI agents into mosques. While I don’t believe the levels of oppression in Xinjiang match what Western media would like people to believe, I believe there is oppression, and probably more so than in the US. Not however more than the oppression experienced by terrorists addressed by America in lands that don’t even belong to them. For those people, it involves not only arbitrary detention and torture, but drone attacks that kill innocent people, as we learned in more detail from Daniel Hale who is now being punished for exposing these secrets. For those suspects and innocent bystanders, it involves their children receiving American bullets through the head. Pardon my graphic descriptions, but I really do find American hypocrisy and lack of shame really truly disgraceful.
Back onto Xinjiang, I can’t imagine that anyone would want to live under the threat of terrorism, but I also believe some people must be unhappy with the increased police presence and scrutiny on peoples lives and actions. I highly doubt that the people living in Xinjiang have been sufficiently briefed about what China is dealing with. I also highly doubt that they understand that China will now have to be under high alert after America delisted ETIM as a terrorist organization, and now that there’s a increased likelihood America will want to mobilize terrorists against the region, especially when you judge America by how they typically operate.
Based on my experience speaking in private with a Tibetan friend for example, he never knew that the Dalai Lama’s brother wrote in his book that the biggest regret of his life was cooperating with the CIA and that he realizes he was just being used, writing “There is no doubt that today, if it were not for the great strength and power of the Chinese Government, the entire continent would have already become the blood-soaked purgatory as has happened to the Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria as well as Africa”. This gave my friend a bit of perspective on the situation in Tibet and gave him an ability to empathise with the government a bit more than he did before. There needs to be sufficient opportunity for people to learn about this context.
But onto the current issues, I personally find it hard to believe that innocent people in Xinjiang weren’t unfairly targeted by this anti-terrorism campaign. Of course, instead of being killed in an American military operation, they’re being sent to vocational training centres. It doesn’t make it right, but that’s some valuable perspective nonetheless. Based on my own observation on how the government works here, it’s a bit different from the West, where a directive comes down from the top and seems to become more and more diluted by time it reaches the ground and lands in the hand of some lazy civil servant. In China, it seems like objectives get amplified the further it travels down, by people who really want to contribute towards their country and society. As one of my friends in China says, the central government says “cut the hair”, then the local government walks off and says, ok, “cut the head”… I of course mean this metaphorically, which is worth mentioning to foreign readers who have a unusually skewed and dark image of China in their minds. My purpose of mentioning this is that I think Beijing is well intentioned, but I suspect they aren’t always aware when local governments are perhaps taking things a bit too far.
After the terrorist attacks in America, there was a massive rise in xenophobia against not only Muslims, but even people who just had brown skin. They were racially profiled but also subjected to mob violence. A Sikh man was stabbed to death in a gas station when he was mistaken as a Muslim, mosques were burned down and it was generally a rough time for Muslims in America. China had a real risk of this getting out of hand as well, but it looks like unlike in America, where they let fake stories of Muslims cheering the 9/11 attacks run wild, after the terror attacks in China, China started using it’s censorship tools to protect the Muslim populations in China, including by removing overly Islamophobic content from the internet. However, it’s still not perfect, if someone from Beijing could convince an ethnic minority to speak with them honestly, I think you’ll find that they still face discrimination and difficulties when they travel, try to rent homes or hotel rooms and so on. I really hope that we’re not so distracted by needing to refute the extraordinarily exaugurated claims of the West, that we lose sight of real smaller issues that really should be addressed somehow.
I hope they are addressed and not just swept under the rug, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because this is a vulnerability that could be exploited by either the West or separatist forces. I worry that if the real issues and concerns some ethnic minorities face aren’t honestly addressed, China will risk turning people who are otherwise patriotic citizens, ready to serve their country and stand by its side into people vulnerable to outside influences and forces who are eager to exploit even the smallest grievances in order to use them as a tool of destruction against their own country.
This is a playbook they've used many times, including in my mother's country of Guyana. Declassified documents show that the US and the UK instigated brutal race riots in the 50s between the African descent and Indian descent populations for the purpose of overthrowing an elected socialist leaning government they didn't like. Understanding history, looking at America's current fears & goals, it's exceedingly obvious that the true people in power responsible for America's foreign policy, are guided by their own geopolitical interests, and have a far greater interest in exploiting the ethnic groups of China more than they do to actually truly help them in any meaningful way.
If the West was really coming from a place of true care and concern, there could have been so much potential benefit. There are real scholars in the West who truly care about racial issues and minority rights, but the good ones are usually focusing on their own issues at home. Imagine if China could collaborate with these well intentioned people, if only their leaders weren’t so hellbent on making it into a geopolitical issue with such obviously exaugurated false claims, maybe it could have been possible. If the West didn’t have such a superiority complex issue, there could even have been great mutual benefits.
I think of the Native/Inuit Member of Canadian Parliament from Nunavut, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, who got up in front of parliament and desperately pleaded for the housing improvements and basic human rights that she’s been waiting for and have been promised for over 30 years. The housing, clean water, infrastructure and general improvements to remote communities like Mumilaaq’s is EXACTLY what China has excelled at and done on an epic scale. Imagine how many ethnic minorities and natives in China, Canada, America, Australia and all over the world could have their lives improved if the West was really engaging China in an honest collaborative way.
However, now you’ll need to excuse my pessimism, but the only thing worse than proving the West’s exaugurated propaganda against China’s ethnic minorities as false, is pushing the West to actually do something for their own minority populations, that, is perhaps far less tolerable to the average Western politician who wants to virtue signal others and not actually put any hard work in to improve the lives of their OWN people.
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