The Chinese Embassy in Colombo to have spearheaded and funded an anti-Muslim propaganda campaign in Sri Lanka, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
The first phase is a documentary on China’s ongoing infamous anti-Muslim pogrom in Xinjiang against its Muslim Uyghurs. The first episode titled ‘Learning from the experience of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in successfully defeating terrorist activities in Xinjiang Province and heralding in peace to the people, is to be aired on TV Derana, which is well-known for inciting racial sentiments against Muslims, tomorrow (30 April 2020) at 10 AM.
The Colombo Telegraph is in possession of the trailer of the so-called documentary.
Openly President Gotabaya Rajapaksa supporter Chatura Alwis of Derana TV was unwittingly exposed on 31 March when several racist slurred hurled at Muslims were inadvertently aired during a break in the political talkshow – Wadapitiya.
The documentary relates to the infamous ‘Xinjiang conflict’ in which Uyghurs, a Turkic minority ethnic group who make up the largest group in China’s far-northwest autonomous region of Xinjiang have been subjected to inhuman and unethical mass surveillance, increased arrests, and a system of ‘re-education’ camps, estimated to hold nearly one million Muslims, which human rights activists call some of the largest prisons in the world.
According to cfr.org, some eight hundred thousand to two million Uighurs and other Muslims, including ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, have been detained since April 2017. Hundreds of camps are located in Xinjiang. Officially known as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the northwestern province has been claimed by China since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power in 1949. Some Uighurs living there refer to the region as East Turkestan and argue that it ought to be independent from China. Xinjiang takes up one-sixth of China’s landmass and borders eight countries, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Chinese officials claim that Uighurs hold extremist and separatist ideas, and they view the camps as a way of eliminating threats to China’s territorial integrity, government, and population.
President Xi Jinping who is close ally of the Rajapaksa regime, warned of the “toxicity of religious extremism” and advocated for using the tools of “dictatorship” to eliminate Islamist extremism in a series of secret speeches while visiting Xinjiang in 2014. In the speeches, revealed by the New York Times in November 2019, Xi did not explicitly call for arbitrary detention but laid the groundwork for the crackdown in Xinjiang.
Though the conflict is traced to 1931, factors such as the massive state-sponsored migration of ethnic Han Chinese from the 1950s to the 1970s, government policies promoting Communist ideals, Chinese cultural unity and punishing certain expressions of Uyghur identity, and harsh responses to separatist terrorism have contributed to tension between Uyghurs, on one hand and the Chinese Police and Han Chinese on the other.
This has taken the form of both frequent terrorist attacks and wider public unrest such as the 1997 Ürümqi bus bombings, June 2009 Shaoguan Incident, the resulting July 2009 Ürümqi riots, 2011 Hotan attack, April 2014 Ürümqi attack, May 2014 Ürümqi attack, and 2014 Kunming attack.
Numerous moderates have pointed out again and again that highhanded and openly undemocratic policies including rabidly racist and chauvinist approaches against the Muslim community by the Rajapaksa regime are marring the effective containment of the Covid 19 pandemic.
On 14 April, Independent Professionals Alliance’ raised serious concerns over the Rajapaksa regime conducting racial profiling of suspected and confirmed patients in order to portray a correlation between Covid-19 and the Muslim community, in stark contrast to medical best practices and ethics practiced in most countries.
This comes high in the heels of many complaints from all over Sri Lanka by Muslims that they were subject to harassment and degrading treatment by authorities such as Police officers, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs), Grama Niladaris (GNs) and other public officials openly stating that “they cannot trust Muslims…” and “…Muslims are the root cause for the spread of the corona virus,” and “Kalutara, Maradana and Beruwala are examples of ‘Muslims’ spreading the virus” etc…
On the Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day, the government gazetted regulations forcing the immediate cremation of Covid-19 fatalities and those who are “suspected to have died” of Covid-19 which is openly seen as a ‘major assault’ on the Muslim community.
The statement also lamented that almost “all electronic media institutions except the MTV/Sirasa network are engaged in propaganda to promote the President, military and ideology of nationalism” since the public have become a captive audience of the media channels due to the curfew. (By Rashmika Ranasinghe)