Chinese media is reporting that the Chinese foreign ministry has used a China-based Canadian YouTuber to defend itself against accusations of human rights violations against the Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang. According to a South China Morning Post investigation:
March 30, 2021 Foreigners who depict China in a positive light are becoming increasingly important to Beijing’s counter-narrative to allegations of an ongoing genocide in the far-western region of Xinjiang. In a rare move, China’s foreign ministry last week used a speech by a Shenzhen-based Canadian vlogger to hit home its point that Western countries are targeting Xinjiang to contain China, rather than because of alleged human rights abuses being committed against the region’s Uygur ethnic minority. […]
Dumbrill’s YouTube channel has 140,000 subscribers while his videos, commentaries and interviews – on topics such as the Hong Kong protests – have previously appeared on CGTN. His long track record of providing fodder for Chinese state media to throw at the West has earned him special privileges not accorded to veteran foreign correspondents in the country.
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It is widely reported that since the Chinese government launched its “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism” in its Western province Xinjiang in 2014, it has sent at least a million Uyghurs, a Muslim minority, into so-called re-education camps. While China claims the Uyghurs have benefited from “education and vocational training,” more than 40 countries, including the US and the European Union, have condemned China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared China’s treatment of Uyghurs a “genocide” in January.
In March, we reported that the Chinese government had funded British YouTubers who are pushing pro-China talking points and produce videos that carry titles such as “Western media lies about China” and “Camera surveillance is great in China.”
Also in March, an exclusive Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) investigation exposed a Chinese influence operation flooding YouTube with hundreds of propaganda videos whitewashing China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and pushing the hashtag #StopXinjiangRumors.