While it’s hard to understand how [Adrian] Zenz has gotten away with so much statistical malpractice, a look at his background helps explain his ideological motivations, and provides important context on his negative focus on the application of birth control. He is an anti-abortion, anti-feminist Christian fundamentalist captivated by End Times theology, and has said that god has led him on a mission against the Chinese government.
I find Max Blumenthal, writing fourteen months ago, a touch disingenuous. It’s not at all hard to see how Adrian Zenz, of whom more below, got away with statistical malpractice. If it chimes with the NewSpeak (whose rabidity may vary with audience demographics but whose aims do not) of a West spooked by Eurasia rising, no accusation is too light on evidence, too internally contradictory or too flat out daft to be pumped out by corporate media. By sheer repetition, and the systemic sidelining of facts outside the Overton Window, it will assume the status of truth.1
… Putin poisons water in hotel room. Navalny falls sick, and is taken to a Russian state hospital. Nobody kills him there, though a hospital is an easy place to do so. Doctors find no poison, authorities approve his transfer to Berlin, where medics find novichok and accuse Russia. France agrees, the EU imposes sanctions. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Last week GrayZone site ran an important piece. We know it’s important because corporate media – Chomsky’s “big businesses selling audiences to other big businesses” – won’t run it.
Just kidding. Even I don’t suppose our corrupt media’s ignoring or rubbishing of an opinion or story makes the opinion worthy, the story ipso facto true. Still, at times I do wonder whether such simplistic inversions may get us closer to the truth than ‘our’ media ever could, given the business model so pithily summed up by Chomsky.2
(That business model being mediated but not neutralised in the case of state broadcasters financially reliant on politicians half fearful of, half in bed with, Murdoch, Rothermere et al.)
Anyway, here’s how this latest GrayZone piece, also co-authored by Max Blumenthal, begins:
US State Department accusation of China ‘genocide’ relied on data abuse and baseless claims by far-right ideologue
Both President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last-minute accusation of “genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province. But an investigation of published work by the researcher Pompeo relied on to level his genocide allegation reveals a pattern of data abuse and fraudulent assertions that substantially undermines the incendiary charge.
The US accusation of genocide against China stems from a single source: a June 2020 paper by Adrian Zenz, a right-wing German researcher affiliated with Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and neoconservative Jamestown Foundation in Washington, DC.
If you’ve time I recommend reading the Grayzone piece (3324 words plus several graphs) in full. Its detail puts to shame those media which, with a shallowness as predictable as their enthusiasm, ran with Zenz’s allegations.
As it happens, just yesterday I’d gotten into one of my now rare FB exchanges. It too was on China’s alleged mistreatment of Uyghurs. For now I’ll set aside the grimy realpolitik whereby a West now led by the USA, but with a pedigree going back to WW1 and Britain’s Lawrence of Arabia, uses Islamism not only in Syria and the middle east but some say in Chechnya too.
Back to yesterday’s FB exchanges. A posting of the 2019 Blumenthal piece on Zenz, the one I opened this post with, drew a series of interrelated comments. One, by Myles, said:
I agree [Zenz] is an ‘unreliable’ source but are there not other real independent sources out there reporting on this? What do they say?
In response I posted this piece from Wisconsin based pacifist site, the Progressive.
I am not an apologist for the State Dept and the Chinaphobes all around us but this article does not address what’s happening now, nor does it rely on independent sources, but Chinese officials. I’m really looking for an independent, objective investigation.
Fair enough Myles. Neither of us knows. But has the US, on which, by any normal reckoning, burden of proof lies, produced such “independent, objective investigation”? I say it hasn’t.
Which leaves us with (a) the abysmal record of the US ruling class on human rights across the world, (b) its control of narrative via media driven by market forces (Chomsky is good on this) and most importantly (c) the fact Washington and Wall St have every reason to lie about a China whose economic rise it fears.
Leading me to conclude that (a) Uighur ‘genocide’ is likely to be overstated if not invented, and (b) even if I’m wrong, not the real reason for the tsunami of sinophobic propaganda from the US.
I’ve written a fair bit on this. Alas and worryingly, FB is preventing me from offering links3 but my website – steelcityscribblings dot uk – has various posts on both sinophobia and russophobia, neither of which should be taken at face value. If you do visit my site, try a search on “our beautifully democratic wars”. I’ll be interested in any comments you might make. All the best.
everyone!! I’m getting frustrated with the answers I’m getting. Except for one above who says there were others to verify that the charges are false, NO ONE is giving me any link/cite that discusses it. The US government lies for its own propagandistic and imperialist purposes. But to say the Chinese government is truthful is naive to the extreme. ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE.
That’s why I want to see for ‘myself’, even if it’s 2nd hand, but independent and objective, observations.
I’m sorry you’re frustrated. What you’ve actually done though is demanded proof of a negative. That’s famously difficult, epistemologically speaking – and one reason why, in jurisprudence, burden of proof lies with the accuser. You also ignore courteous and reasoned responses, and offer strawman argument. Who on this thread is saying “the Chinese government is truthful”?
But are there any independent investigators that have written that the accusations are false based on observations, not just relying on attacking Zenz and other state operators? That is legitimately proving a negative.
I did see a rpt., (think it was BBC) that translated a slew of govt. documents that would show there is indeed severe repression. And yes, the BBC is state run so it is suspect.
Myles – in a reply to a third party who argued that China targets only Islamist Uyghurs:
And if Danny Haiphong makes a credible argument that only ISIS-inspired Uighurs are ‘oppressed’, I’ll accept that. Kim Iversen has been saying that for a long time but offered no real, objective proof that the accusations saying the entire community wasn’t being targeted. True, you can’t necessarily prove a negative, but if other non-ISIS Uighurs are being punished, which I’ve never believed, then it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to get an objective picture to disprove it. What I’m hearing is the equivalent of having a theory and doing experiments that will guarantee a successful outcome.
I’m not going to respond any more. I’ve long rejected the Uighur genocide argument but have always looked for objective reporting on it.
In fact the Grayzone piece last week (here it is yet again) does offer some evidence that one of Zenz’s central claims – of population control ethnically targeted by Beijing at the Uyghurs – is nonsense even by Zenz’s own data. But at the time of these exchanges I had yet to read that more recent piece. I therefore responded in general terms.
“What I’m hearing is the equivalent of having a theory and doing experiments that will guarantee a successful outcome.” You lost me there buddie. But, yes, I think we’ve exhausted any usefulness to these exchanges. Take care mate.
- I stress, systemic. Vulgar derision of corporate media critics assumes – as did Andrew Marr in his famous interview with Chomsky – those critics to be positing mendacity and censorship writ large. But while corrupt journalists and censoring editors do exist – their influence rising with level of threat to our rulers – for the most part they are superfluous to requirement. Media answer to market forces, and if they fail in this they fail period. It is quite impossible for them to be loyal both to truth and the dictates of advertising. Their messages must as a matter of business necessity remain within the Overton Window. Since, as Upton Sinclair has observed, it’s hard to get a man to see a truth his salary depends upon him not seeing, few journalists – raised, like the rest of us, on the kool-aid of dominant ideology – will ask whether greater truths may be found beyond that window.
- I find such simple inversions most tempting with elevated groups or individuals on the one hand, demonised groups or individuals on the other. (As The Man put it: “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”.) The temptation is to be resisted, yes. There’s no short cut, no substitute for putting the work into researching and thinking things through. But that it arises at all, in the minds of the recently somnolent, is an indicator of how ill served we are by corporate media and their rotten business model.
- This allusion to FB preventing links is part of the fall out of the stand-off between FB and the Australian Government.