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Russia and China Using Disinformation to Justify Internment Camps

May 9th, 2022 16:11

US media is report­ing that Rus­sia and Chi­na have been able to use dis­in­for­ma­tion to jus­ti­fy their use of intern­ment camps, and that this can be suc­cess­ful as long as they gen­er­ate suf­fi­cient doubt. Accord­ing to a Newsweek report:

April 21,  2021 After fail­ing to con­quer Ukraine’s cap­i­tal city of Kyiv, Rus­sia has turned its focus toward the east of the coun­try, stag­ing an offen­sive cam­paign against the strate­gi­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant city of Mar­i­upol, which lies between Russ­ian-annexed Crimea and the con­test­ed Don­bas region. Part of Rus­si­a’s strat­e­gy to exert dom­i­nance in this region has alleged­ly been to remove poten­tial com­bat­ants from the area. Petro Andryushchenko, an advi­sor to the may­or of Mar­i­upol, post­ed on Telegram that Vladimir Putin’s forces have removed rough­ly 27,000 peo­ple from the area and forcibly placed them in “fil­tra­tion camps.” In its past wars with Chech­nya in the mid-1990s and ear­ly 2000s, Russ­ian forces placed Chechens in mass intern­ment cen­ters, which they refer to as “fil­tra­tion camps,” where the U.S. State Depart­ment says the Rus­sians “beat, tor­tured and exe­cut­ed” detainees. In response to recent events, Krem­lin spokesper­son Dmit­ry Peskov has denied the alle­ga­tions, say­ing “such reports are lies.” This rep­re­sents the dou­bling down of a pre­vi­ous stance offered in late March by state author­i­ties when they said that the almost 420,000 peo­ple evac­u­at­ed from Ukraine at the time were trans­port­ed to Rus­sia for their own safe­ty. “What Rus­sia does real­ly well is they cre­ate just enough doubt to under­mine a response,” Todd Hel­mus, who research­es Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion with the RAND Cor­po­ra­tion, told Newsweek. “Even if [oth­er nations] believe [reports], they’re giv­en just enough doubt to not act on them.”

Read the rest here.

The arti­cle fur­ther states that Chi­na has used sim­i­lar tac­tics to spread doubt about its treat­ment of its Mus­lim Uyghur minor­i­ty. The Unit­ed Nations esti­mates that 1.5 mil­lion Uyghurs have been put into intern­ment camps, and Human Rights Watch reports some have faced invol­un­tary ster­il­iza­tion, tor­ture, and forced labor. Chi­na, using dis­in­for­ma­tion defen­sive­ly, has called them edu­ca­tion cen­ters that pre­vent rad­i­cal­iza­tion. Using dis­in­for­ma­tion offen­sive­ly, Chi­na has accused the US and west­ern coun­tries of sup­port­ing sep­a­ratist and ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties in China’s Xin­jiang region, where many Uyghurs live. The arti­cle also says that coun­tries such as India and Brazil, which have a his­to­ry of liv­ing under Impe­ri­al­ism, are more sus­cep­ti­ble than west­ern audi­ences to this dis­in­for­ma­tion because of their dis­trust of west­ern actions.

The GIOR has exten­sive­ly cov­ered Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion regard­ing the Uyghurs.