China recruits 13 more in its Axis of Shame

Another 13 countries, including Iran, signed the letter supporting the CCP’s horrific treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang

Winter (29.07.2019) – https://bit.ly/2Kuq0kr – China continues its efforts at recruiting fellow travelers into its Axis of Shame of countries prepared to sign letters defending the indefensible and claiming that Xinjiang is a heaven of human rights. According to these letters, the dreaded transformation through education camps, where thousands are tortured, killed, or led to commit suicide are in fact “vocational schools.”

The original Axis of Shame, a label Bitter Winter is proud both to have created and to see increasingly used by others, included 37 countries. The CCP has now announced that 13 more have signed, mentioning Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, and Palestine. Indeed, that Iran, another egregious violator of religious liberty, was missing among the original 37, was somewhat surprising.

Most countries sign, but realize that what they are doing is not honorable. They are ashamed to be part of the Axis of Shame. They ask the CCP not to make their names public.

Others, among the original signatories, support the CCP with statements and interviews. Some belong to the category of involuntary humor. An “expert” working for Saudi Arabia claimed that, before the enlightened activities of the CCP happily opened their minds, Muslims in Xinjiang were “close-minded.” Perhaps nobody informed the Saudis that the CCP uses “de-saudization” as a synonym of “de-radicalization,” claiming that the resurgence of Muslim pride in China is due to the evil influence of Saudi Arabia. Or can we expect that CCP experts will be invited to Saudi Arabia to “open the mind” of local Muslims?

More involuntary comic relief was offered by statements from the Venezuelan and Cuban embassies in Beijing. The Cubans said that their government is opposed to any efforts aimed at “regime changes” in China and elsewhere. One may vaguely suspect that by “elsewhere” they mean Cuba.

Venezuela stated that “China’s leadership in human rights is indisputable.” This is literally true in Venezuela. Those who would “dispute” that all is well in China, a staunch ally of the Maduro regime-or in Venezuela, for that matter-would go to jail.

What the CCP believes it can achieve by putting together such a shameful circus of human rights violators is unclear. Perhaps, once again, these news are mostly used for domestic consumption in China.

Update July 30: Some media have now published a list, which seems authentic, of the 50 countries part of the Axis of Shame. One European country, Serbia, has unfortunately joined it.




CHINA: Pro-CCP hackers in action FOREF site attacked

Forum for Religious Freedom Europe’s most successful videos ever denounced the persecution against The Church of Almighty God’s refugees in South Korea. A dark hand (or rather a red hand) made them inaccessible.

Bitter Winter (04.08.2019) – https://bit.ly/2OEgVuI – On July 31, 2019, Bitter Winter published an article by Jia Zhigang. Jia was a well-known actor in China. After he converted to The Church of Almighty God, he had to flee China because of persecution and currently lives in South Korea. Our article led many readers to search Google for Jia Zhigang. They discovered that in 2018, he had already been interviewed by Austrian journalist Peter Zoehrer, and the video was posted on the Web site of FOREF, the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe, a NGO whose president is the world-famous human rightsactivist, Dr Aaron Rhodes.

Actually, for a somewhat exceptional coincidence – believers would rather say thanks to the providence of God – Zoehrer happened to be in Seoul for a conference in the same days when the 2018 false “spontaneous demonstrations” against The Church of Almighty God refugees were organized by the CCP and its Korean fellow traveler, Ms. O Myung-ok. The demonstrations were repeated on July 22-24, 2019 and in both cases ended in disgrace.

Zoehrer was able to document the 2018 false demonstrations, and to produce 14 videos where The Church of Almighty God refugees told their stories of detention and torture in China, and harassment in Korea. These videos were the most successful media production of FOREF ever. They have been downloaded or watched by more than 56,000 viewers.

In the last few days, hackers attacked FOREF’s YouTube channel and were able to make eight videos inaccessible, including the one about the false demonstrations of 2018 and seven interviews with members of The Church of Almighty God living in South Korea. One of them was actor Jia Zhigang.

The videos have now been made accessible again. The attack, however, confirms how much the CCP and its minions are afraid of truth. In Communist countries, as Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) used to say, “the lie has become not just a moral category, but a pillar of the State.”




BELGIUM/ CHINA: Belgian embassy in China puts a Uighur family in the hands of Chinese cops

– By Vanessa Frangville, Rune Steenberg –

Foreign Policy (14.06.2019) – https://bit.ly/31rRmzc – Approximately 1.5 million people, mostly members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, have been held in detention camps in China’s western region of Xinjiang since 2017. The continuing crackdown on Uighur culture, religion, and political expression has resulted in a state of terror throughout the region—and in the destruction of numerous families, with parents, grandparents, and children often separated.

The failure of Muslim countries to speak up for their co-religionists, thanks to economic ties to China, has been much commented on. But while Western countries have been more outspoken on the plight of the Uighur people, they have often been hesitant to act when push comes to shove—even in countries that pride themselves on their advocacy of human rights, such as Belgium.

A tragic recent case highlights this. Ablimit Tursun, a Uighur from Urumqi, Xinjiang, holding Chinese citizenship, was on a business trip to Turkey in 2017 when he was informed that his brother had been detained. His family in Urumqi warned him not to come back, for fear a similar fate could await him. Foreign travel is often used by the Chinese government as an excuse to send people to the camps, as is having relatives overseas.

Tursun fled to Belgium, where he was granted asylum in 2018 and now works full time in a major Belgian company. He immediately began the process of applying for a Belgian family reunification visa for his wife and four children. The visa application included a letter describing the family’s situation as critical, stressing the risk such an application put them in and the need for discretion.

Despite repeated requests by the family to simplify the visa proceedings in order to reduce this risk, the embassy insisted on them making two trips to Beijing. By itself, this put the family in danger: Uighurs traveling outside of Xinjiang are inherently seen as suspicious, monitored by police, and often detained at airports or stations.

On May 26, Tursun’s wife, Wureyetiguli Abula, and their children (who are 5, 10, 12, and 17)  secretly flew from Urumqi to Beijing for the second time to complete the visa application and hand in the last documents to the Belgian Embassy. They arrived on a late-night flight to avoid the airport police and checked into a hotel. Since Uighurs are routinely refused service from hotels, and their visits are often reported to the police, the hotel was pre-booked by a friend. Still, less than an hour after their arrival, after they were forced to show ID to register there, the Beijing police knocked at their door and interrogated them. Police officers came again the next evening, intimidating them and encouraging them to return to Urumqi.

Abula feared that if they were returned to Urumqi, they would be blocked from leaving the region again and possibly sent to the camps. Her fear turned into panic when Belgian consular officials informed her the visa processing could take up to three months and advised that she wait in her home in Xinjiang. In fact, the visas were issued a mere two days later, but by then the damage was already done. The family refused to leave the embassy facilities until the visa application was processed.

A long discussion ensued, and security staff ushered the family out into the embassy’s yard, where they lingered. At 2 a.m., the embassy called the Chinese police to the embassy facilities in order to remove the family. This is an extraordinary measure, only allowed in the most exceptional of circumstances.

As they refused to return to Urumqi voluntarily, they were put under house arrest in the hotel for a day. The next day, the Xinjiang police forcefully entered their room and dragged them into a car. As of June 12, Tursun has not been able to contact his wife and four children for 11 days and has no idea of their whereabouts or health. Friends informed him that the local police had interrogated all his relatives in Turpan and Urumqi, had searched his home, and had taken away the family’s electronic devices. Those relatives may, in turn, be at risk of being sent to the camps.

Abula and her children’s experience was typical of the oppression, discrimination, and absence of freedom experienced by many ordinary Uighurs in China. Abula was not able to travel freely to Beijing, she could not herself buy a ticket for travel out of Xinjiang, and she could not book a hotel room. The mere presence of a middle-aged woman and her children drew the attention of several police officers.

But there are also serious concerns raised by the behavior of the Belgian Embassy, which showed reckless carelessness and a lack of responsibility. The Belgian Embassy was repeatedly informed of the danger it would pose to Abula and her children to have to travel to Beijing several times at different occasions, yet still they insisted. Not only was a request for refuge at the embassy refused, but embassy staff also voluntarily called the police in the middle of the night—effectively sealing the fate of a vulnerable family.




CHINA: Xi Jinping to teachers: Nourish the faith in the Chinese Communist Party

– In his “important speech”, the president asked educators to instill patriotism in young people and reject “misconceptions and ideologies”. Since 2012, a struggle against the spread of “Western values” and the ban on religious education for young people is underway in schools and universities.

AsiaNews (21.03.2019) – “Nourishing” faith in the Chinese Communist Party and rejecting “misconceptions and ideologies”: this is the program that Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed to a group of teachers gathered yesterday in the capital for a seminar on “ideological theory” and politics “.

According to Xinhua, Xi gave an “important speech”. In it, the party leader, who is also general secretary and head of the military commission, said that starting with toddlers China must “nurture generation after generation [of young people] who support Chinese Communist Party rule and China’s socialist system”.

“Most importantly,” he added “we must emphasise [taking the correct stance] on politics such that people who have faith [in the party] can preach what they believe in.”

He also asked all educators to instill patriotism in young people and reject “misconceptions and ideologies”.

Since Xi took power in 2012, the Party has launched a battle against the spread of “Western values” in schools and universities, banning books that promote “Western ideas” such as democracy and the rule of law.

At the same time, those who spread “religious” ideas among students are prosecuted. In the name of “patriotism” students are required to reject religions, especially those that come “from the West”, that is Christianity, making students swear to fight them.

The new regulations on religious activities prohibit young people under 18 from going to church or receiving a religious education.




Uyghur Muslims in “de-radicalisation camps” in China: Business first for Saudi Arabia…

– Willy Fautré, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers

– HRWF (23.02.2019) – Saudi Arabia and China have just signed commercial agreements for $ 28 billion (See the article of The New York Times on 20 February: https://nyti.ms/2BLEqsG). Annoyed by human rights criticisms and anti-corruption investigations in North America and the EU, Saudi Arabia is suddenly increasing and accelerating his business relations with China.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the leading member of the troika of three countries at the UN, with Hungary and Kenya, which will write the report on the Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record, whose final act will be in a few days…

One of the priority human rights issues which will be scrutinized by NGOs will be the situation of one million Muslims of all ages belonging to the Uyghur ethnicity. Perceiving them as a threat to national security, Beijing has deprived them of their freedom and put them in camps to allegedly “de-radicalize” them. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has already taken sides with China’s President Xi Jinping on this problem, omitting to say that his country is highly responsible for the “radicalization” of Muslims in the world.

Time for Muslim majority countries to unite their diplomatic and other efforts for the release of all the Uyghur Muslims in China.

Al Jazeera: Saudi crown prince defends China’s right to fight ‘terrorism’ – 23.02 (https://bit.ly/2E4fJbo)

“Activists say MBS’ support for China’s ‘anti-terrorism’ measures is tacit approval of crackdown on Uighur Muslims.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has supported China’s right to undertake “anti-terrorism” and “de-extremism” measures, according to Chinese state media, in remarks activists lambasted as a defence of Beijing’s crackdown on its Uighur Muslim minority.

Prince Mohammed made the comments to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday during a visit to Beijing, the last leg of an Asian tour that included Pakistan and India, according to state-run news outlets.

In his talks with Xi, MBS hailed relations with China as trouble free, the official Xinhua news agency reported, while Xi urged joint efforts to counter extremism and terror.

Xi told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”, according to Xinhua

Saudi Arabia respected and supported China’s right to protect its own security and take counter-terror and de-radicalisation steps, the crown prince told Xi, according to the same report, and was willing to increase cooperation.

“China has the right to take anti-terrorism and de-extremism measures to safeguard national security,” MBS told Xi, according to the state-owned CCTV.

“Saudi Arabia respects and supports it and is willing to strengthen cooperation with China,” he added.

‘Disgusting’

Riyadh has remained silent over China’s treatment of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang. That’s despite the ruling Al Saud family’s image of itself as the defender of Muslims across the world and protector of Islam’s two holiest shrines.

Up to one million Uighurs and other minorities are being held in internment camps in Xinjiang as part of a draconian anti-terror and anti-separatist campaign, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.

Activists slammed MBS’ stand, with Miqdaad Versi, spokesperson for Britain’s Muslim Council, calling the remarks “disgusting” and a defence of “the use of concentration camps against Uighur Muslims”.

The World Uyghur Congress, a Germany-based advocacy group, said MBS’s failure to raise the issue of the Uighur detentions amounted to tacit support for “China’s gross rights violations”.

The Saudi crown prince’s visit came five months after the crown prince came under intense pressure in the US and elsewhere following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In the US Congress, criticism has also been building for months over the kingdom’s handling of the war in Yemen, where it is accused of causing widespread casualties and suffering among civilians.

China has refrained from faulting Saudi Arabia over issues such as the war or killing of the journalist, in keeping with its long-held tradition of non-interference in other countries’ affairs.

The hush-hush approach reflects how China and Saudi Arabia have grown close over the past decade based on complementary economic interests, said Michael Clarke of Australian National University’s National Security College.

“Basically, in the Saudi case there seem to be very clear incentives for it to not rock the boat in service of the Uighur issue,” Clarke told The Associated Press news agency.

During MBS’ visit to China, Riyadh’s national oil giant Saudi Aramco said it had signed an agreement to form a Saudi-Chinese joint venture, worth more than $10bn, to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in northeastern Liaoning province.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority also announced the signing of 35 non-binding memorandums of understanding, worth $28bn, including deals related to energy, mining, transportation and e-commerce.

China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner.

See as well
https://www.yahoo.com/news/saudi-crown-prince-defends-chinas-203233929.html
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2019-02-22/saudi-agrees-10-billion-china-refinery-deal-as-crown-prince-visits




Exclusive video smuggled out of China: https://bit.ly/2Tt43W0 – Uyghur children indoctrinated in camps

With one million minority Uyghur Muslims detained for re-education, what becomes of their children? They are locked in “schools” of Han Chinese propaganda

– By Chang Xin –

Bitter Winter (26.01.2019) – https://bit.ly/2Tt43W0– The children of the detained Uyghur parents are kept in so-called Loving Heart kindergartens and schools in Xinjiang. They undergo full-time supervision and receive their education in Chinese only. Usually, the iron gates of these Loving Heart facilities are firmly locked. The walls are surrounded by barbed wire, and access is strictly controlled. There is little chance for these children to go outside. The children only get to see their parents once a month during a monthly video call. According to a teacher of one kindergarten, the children always cry after talking with their parents on video.

“Loving Heart” is a euphemistic name given by the Chinese authorities to conceal the nature of the facilities for outsiders. Such names are common in Xinjiang.

As more than one million Uyghurs are locked up in Xinjiang’s “transformation through education camps,” more and more children are losing parental care. There is even a special name for families with both mother and father in custody: “double-detained families.”

Previously, Bitter Winter reported about a shelter house located in the new town area of Qapqal county, in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. A “shelter house” is another euphemistic name given by Chinese authorities to facilities housing and indoctrinating children whose parents have been arrested.

This shelter house began operations in August 2018. Unlike ordinary schools, when entering this facility, visitors must register their ID information in a special security room, and personal belongings must pass through a security check.

Heavily-guarded lookout posts, barbed wire on the walls, densely placed surveillance cameras, helmets, and other riot control gear in the first room inside the dormitory building—these seem to tell people that this is not an ordinary school. A map of China is hung in the dorm, and the walls are covered with propaganda slogans, such as “I’m Chinese; I love my country” and “Always follow the Party.” Such displays seem familiar. They are reminiscent of the installations inside transformation through education camps.

The government even allocates a military instructor to provide military training to these young children.

Although there is a full range of facilities in the shelter house, this does not seem to make up for the children’s pain of losing their parents.

According to a teacher at the “shelter house,” as soon as evening comes, the children cry about wanting to go home to see their mom and dad. This is quite a headache for these teachers, who have been forcibly deployed by the government.

A teacher said, “Many teachers have been exhausted. There is no solution. Regardless of whether you are a Han Chinese or an Uyghur, as long as you say something wrong, you will be sent to ‘study’ for an indefinite period of time, leaving your home unattended, and your child sent to this shelter house for education. The policy for this year is to maintain stability instead of working.”

Emotional distress is not an isolated phenomenon. A teacher who previously worked at a “welfare home” (which is similar in nature to a shelter house) in Bole city told Bitter Winter that more than 200 Uyghur children who are housed at that facility had very unstable moods. Some of them even tried to ingest laundry detergent or swallow fish bones to harm themselves. And some asked, “Is this [welfare home] a jail?”

A prison officer in Xinjiang said, “When dealing with the education of the children of ethnic minorities, the government has organized a rigid and isolated education for them. With public security police officers as their teachers, the young Uyghurs are forced to study a uniform Chinese curriculum arranged by the government — they must speak Chinese, eat pork, wear Han clothes, and live according to the Han people’s habits and tradition. They are restricted to this environment, with no chance to contact the outside world. Indoctrinated with such a heavy-handed and mandatory education, these children of ethnic minorities become unconsciously obedient to the Chinese Communist Party government.”

In 2017, similar Loving Heart schools and transformation through education camps have appeared in large numbers in Xinjiang. According to sources, in Lop county alone, 11 Loving Heart nurseries (for children aged 1 to 3 years) and nine kindergartens (3 to 6 years) have been built. Seven Loving Heart full-time nursery classes have been set up in junior and senior middle schools. Among them, Xinhua Kindergarten’s Loving Heart Full-Time Nursery Class teaches 150 toddlers aged 1 to 3 years old. Yudu Loving Heart Kindergarten teaches over 500 children aged 3 to 6 years old. Lop County No. 3 Elementary School teaches more than 900 children (aged 7 to 16) of “double-detained families.” In Lop county alone, as many as 2,000 children are being held in custody.

As the interview was nearing the end, numerous Uyghur children were being sent to the shelter house in Qapqal county. Among them, the oldest is 17 or 18 years old, and the youngest is only three years old. While waiting to register, the children looked into the distance with complex expressions on their faces. Perhaps this is the last free time they will have before being placed in state indoctrination.

Reported by Chang Xin