Morning Star: “people in the re-education centres are assessed on how much harm they have caused, their willingness to receive training and … might still require further rehabilitation” – so that’s OK, then!

(Above) “Seated in rows in blue boiler suits, this is possibly the most famous image of that is used to imply the existence of concentration camps, slave labour and genocide. Sourced by Qiao Collective back to Luopu County Reform and Correction Centre on April 14, 2017, what has become the face of the ‘genocide’ [claims] and still appears in articles by the BBC, Daily Mail, the Guardian and countless other western outlets” was in reality simply a routine de-radicalisation talk given to prisoners, for their own good, at a normal, humane criminal rehabilitation facility says the Morning Star

Today’s Guardian carries the following report from Reuters:

China’s cyber regulator has launched a hotline to report online criticism of the ruling Communist party and its history, vowing to crack down on “historical nihilists” ahead of the party’s 100th anniversary in July.

The tip line allows people to report fellow internet users who “distort” the party’s history, attack its leadership and policies, defame national heroes and “deny the excellence of advanced socialist culture” online, said a notice posted by an arm of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Friday.

“Some with ulterior motives … have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online, maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the party,” said the notice.

“We hope that the majority of internet users will actively play their part in supervising society … and enthusiastically report harmful information,” it said.

“Historical nihilism” is a phrase used in China to describe public doubt and scepticism over the Chinese Communist party’s description of past events.

China’s internet is tightly censored and most foreign social media networks, search engines and news outlets are banned in the country.

Internet authorities often increase censorship and online supervision ahead of major events including historical anniversaries, political meetings and sports events.

The notice did not specify what punishments would be handed to those who are reported through the hotline, but netizens in China already face jail time and other legal punishments for posting content that is critical of the county’s leadership, policies and history.

Legal amendments released earlier this year stipulate that people who “insult, slander of infringe upon” the memory of China’s national heroes and martyrs face jail time of up to three years.

Last week, authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu detained a 19-year-old man accused of making “insulting” comments online about Japan’s 1937 occupation of Nanjing.

Chinese social media sites that fail to censor critical content also face financial sanctions as well as temporary suspensions of service under current law.

We trust that the Chinese ruling class will have no objections to the following explanation, by Kate Woolford, a member of the Southampton Young Communist League and and social media editor of the Young Communist League’s Challenge magazine, of the thoroughly benign vocational education centres that offer helpful education and training to Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang (NB: what follows is an excerpt; the full article, published in today’s Morning Star can be read here):

Individual accounts and their problems

Western governments have a long history of presenting individual accounts as objective facts in order to push an imperialist agenda. The US uses anti-China stories to condone trade wars, calls for sanctions, military drills on their coast and to drum up support for territorial conflicts in and around China — Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and now of course, Xinjiang.

It is no surprise that the Xinjiang region has large oil reserves, a recurring feature when US “concern for human rights” turns into backing separatists and insurgents. There are clear parallels between the Nariyah testimony [used to justify the invasion of Iraq] and the atrocity propaganda now being used against China.

What is really happening in Xinjiang?

The destabilisation of the Middle East by the West led to a surge in Islamic terrorism around the world — including China. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim) in Xinjiang has ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida — it sent the so-called Turkistan Brigade (Katibat Turkistani) to join a network of al-Qaida-linked groups fighting alongside al-Nusra in Syria.

Despite this and despite US military officials confirming that they had targeted Etim through air strikes in Badakhshan, close to the border of Xinjiang, the US decided to take them off its list of terrorist organisations on October 20, 2020 — which removes any US penalties for assisting or funding the group.

According to CGTN, “From 1990 to 2016, thousands of terrorist attacks have been launched in Xinjiang, killing large numbers of innocent people and hundreds of police officers.”

In response, China has launched campaigns to crack down on violent extremism, separatism and terrorism with a focus on re-education. The camps were built to de-radicalise Muslims who had been victims of Etim’s ideas — this is the point of the mass mobilisation in the region that has led to false allegations of “genocide,” “forced sterilisation” and “torture.”

The report by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China puts the state’s case forward plainly.

“Faced with this severe and complex problem [religious extremism], Xinjiang has upheld the principle of addressing both the symptoms and the root causes in the fight against terrorism and extremism, by striking hard at serious terrorist crimes, which are limited in number and by educating and rehabilitating people influenced by religious extremism and involved in minor violations of the law.

“In accordance with the law, it has established a group of vocational education centres to offer systemic education and training in response to a set of urgent needs: to curb frequent terrorist incidents, to eradicate the breeding ground for religious extremism, to help trainees acquire a better education and vocational skills, find employment and increase their incomes and most of all, to safeguard social stability and long-term peace in Xinjiang.”

At the camps residents are taught Mandarin — the lingua franca spoken by 73 percent of the Chinese population — taught technical skills in order to help them find work when they leave and offered mental guidance to overcome radicalised ways of thinking.

Of course, as is the case everywhere in the world, the severity of a sentence depends on the scale of the crime and the willingness of a person of acknowledge their guilt.

The people in the re-education centres are assessed on how much harm they have caused, their willingness to receive training and whether they have already completed a prison sentence but might still require further rehabilitation.

The people in the centres are provided with free education and once the trainees reach their expected criteria, they are offered certificates of completion and can leave. Depending on the reason they are there, many are allowed to go home to visit their families once or twice a week.

It is absolutely not a campaign to stop them practising Islam — religious activities are protected by Article 36 of the constitution: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organisation or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.

“The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.”

And despite allegations that the Uighur language is banned in China, made by outlets like Radio Free Asia, in the background of a BBC documentary exploring a centre in Hotan, Xinjiang, Uighur script is clearly visible on the walls — the language is used in “the camps” themselves. Lessons are held in both.

Although only 0.31 per cent of the Chinese population, the Uyghur language is also present on Chinese money.

4 thoughts on “Morning Star: “people in the re-education centres are assessed on how much harm they have caused, their willingness to receive training and … might still require further rehabilitation” – so that’s OK, then!

  1. The oppression of the Uyghurs by the Chinese Stalinists is an abomination. Those that try to apologise for it have no place in any decent labour movement. But, of course, its not just the Uyghurs oppressed by the Stalinists; other nationalities are also oppressed, but so too are the 1 billion Chinese workers in general.

    As Lenin wrote about the oppression of the many national groups in Tsarist Russia, the real solution to that oppression could only come from a successful class struggle against Tsarism itself, and the combining of that class struggle with a political struggle for the rights of all, both national rights and individual rights. The same is true in China. The rights of Uyghurs, the people of Hong Kong, of Tibet and elsewhere will only be secured as a result of a class struggle by Chinese workers against the Chinese Stalinists, a class struggle in which the struggle for such rights forms an inextricable component.

    Because only whilst no serious socialist can deny the oppression of these minorities by the Stalinists, so too only a fool can fail to notice that the plight of those minorities is cynically utilised by others to further their own narrow and reactionary ends, be it, the forces of clericalism and landlordism in Tibet, of jihadism in Xiangjin, of Liberals and finance capital in Hong Kong, and, of course, western imperialism in every such instance, seeking to weaken China as a major imperialist competitor now within the world imperialist system of states.

    No principled socialist can fail to oppose the intervention of these other reactionary forces. In many ways, what we have is similar to the conditions that existed prior to WWI, and the events in the Balkans that acted as a dry run for it. No socialist can see a national struggle as a priority over the class struggle in these cases, not see the involvement of imperialism or other reactionary forces as in any way an alternative to the working-class resolving for itself the problems posed for it by history.

    “Petersburg’s diplomacy has no business in the Balkans, and the Balkan peoples can expect nothing to their advantage from the diplomatic chancelleries of Petersburg. The peoples of the Near East must organise a democratic federation on their territory, on principles of independence from both Russia and Austria-Hungary.
    This standpoint unites us closely both with you and with the fraternal parties in the Balkans, whose fight against local dynastic and militarist reaction will be the more rewarding and successful the more vigorously and uncompromisingly we wage our struggle against any and every interference by the Great powers in Balkan affairs.”

    (Trotsky Writings On The Balkan Wars, p 319-20)

    When the Russian “liberal interventionists”, undertook massacres in the Balkans, reminiscent of the massacres undertaken by imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan and so on, Trotsky condemned them, and the attempts of liberals like Miliukov to cover them up, writing,

    “An individual, a group, a party, or a class that ‘objectively’ picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive.

    On the other hand, a party or the class that rises up against every abominable action wherever it has occurred, as vigorously and unhesitatingly as a living organism reacts to protect its eyes when they are threatened with external injury – such a party or class is sound of heart. Protest against the outrages in the Balkans cleanses the social atmosphere in our own country, heightens the level of moral awareness among our own people. The working masses of the population in every country are both a potential instrument of bloody outrages and a potential victim of such deeds. Therefore an uncompromising protest against atrocities serves not only the purpose of moral self-defence on the personal and party level but also the purpose of politically safeguarding the people against adventurism concealed under the flag of ‘liberation’.”

    (Trotsky Writings On The Balkan Wars, p 293)

    Nor was this just a matter of simply complaining about the atrocities carried out by the liberal interventionists, whilst accepting that they might be undertaking some progressive historical task in liberating the oppressed. The working-class must oppose any such interventions, and cannot simply hand over its own historical tasks to the bourgeoisie.
    “But it is not at all a matter of indifference by what methods this emancipation is being accomplished. The method of “liberation” that is being followed today means the enslavement of Macedonia to the personal regime in Bulgaria and to Bulgarian militarism; it means, moreover, the strengthening of reaction in Bulgaria itself. That positive, progressive result which history will, in the last analysis, extract from the ghastly events in the Balkans, will suffer no harm from the exposures made by Balkan and European democracy; on the contrary, only a struggle against the usurpation of history’s tasks by the present masters of the situation will educate the Balkan peoples to play the role of superseding not only Turkish despotism but also those who, for their own reactionary purposes, are, by their own barbarous methods, now destroying that despotism…

    Our agitation, on the contrary, against the way that history’s problems are at present being solved, goes hand in hand with the work of the Balkan Social Democrats. And when we denounce the bloody deeds of the Balkan ‘liberation’ from above we carry forward the struggle not only against liberal deception of the Russian masses but also against enslavement of the Balkan masses.”

    (ibid, p 293-4)

    “Democracy has no right, political or moral, to entrust the organisation of the Balkan peoples to forces that are outside its control – for it is not known when and where these forces will stop, and democracy, having once granted them the mandate of its political confidence, will be unable to check them.”
    (ibid p 148-52)

    Marxists can never fail to oppose imperialist military interventions, for all these reasons set out by Trotsky, because the ends desired by imperialism are never the ends desired by the working-class, however much the liberal-interventionists might try to present that as being the case, on the basis of an idealistic, superficial and subjectivist description. Ends are never inseparable from means. If socialists give imperialism such cover, then they will use it also to intervene against socialist states, or even progressive social-democratic states that challenge the interests of the ruling class. They will always claim to be intervening to put an end to some oppression, some infringement of democratic norms, and so on, just as they do when justifying an inter-imperialist war.

    Failing to speak out about such military intervention is chauvinism, and also cuts us off from the workers of those smaller nations who suffer as a result of such intervention. Despite all of the promises of the liberal interventionists, the lives of the workers in Iraq, Libya and Syria etc. got a lot worse after the intervention of the imperialists, and expansionist powers, be it the US, EU, Israel, and Gulf States, or be it Russia, Iran and Turkey. Marxists can only win the confidence of workers in these smaller states if we oppose the military intervention of all these larger states.

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  2. If you want to hear a Stalinist defense of the CCP occupied China watch Martin Jacques being interviewed by Aaron Bastani of Novara on YouTube. Pretty stomach churning. Bastini seems to be in awe of ex Euro Tankie Jacques. The modern Second Campist defense of CCP China of all there.

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