International media: Perception & reality in Xinjiang

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Asad Ali

MEDIA plays a very significant role in generating public awareness, shaping public opinions and forming popular perceptions. The mass media has the ability to shape our beliefs and form new truths. As Malcolm X very rightly said, “media is the most powerful entity on earth. It has the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” As globally it is believed that the media is the fourth pillar of the state and its duties are to inform, to entertain and to educate but now media is focussing more on to Influence the masses also. The widespread coverage provided to the Western media and its allies was due to the power of media they have in their hands. In 2018, the market size of entertainment and media industry of the US was 678 billion US dollars but for the same year the revenue of Chinese Entertainment and Media Industry was 331 billion US dollars. Western media has more powerful and influential than Chinese media. The West is investing on media and propaganda since the World War-I, but Chinese are new in this sector.
Since China announced Belt & Road Initiative, the US and its allies have maximized their efforts to curtain it and they have initiated the propaganda war, which is one of the tools they are using. It is very old tactic of the US that they create chaos and uncertainty inside the targeting country to destabilize it and achieve the desired goal but in the case of China they have not succeeded yet. They are highlighting through the Western media that Chinese authorities are abusing, killing the innocent Uygurs, the Western media also put blames that China is running detention camps and mostly detainees are Uygur Muslims, Chinese authorities are forcing Uygur women for sterilisation surgeries and other contraceptive methods to adopt, forcing Uygurs to eat pork meat and charges of other human rights violations. Even though some US officials says China is committing genocide in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
China always denies the Western claims and facts & figures supports the Chinese arguments. As we know, Xinjiang carries so much strategic importance, and it is the starting point of CPEC and CPEC is the flagship project of BRI. So, the West and its allies have joined forces against BRI and CPEC. And now they are using Uygursfor their evil plans. Uygurs must understand that West is not their friend and whatever grievances and problems they have in China and with Chinese Central government, they must talk to their relative institutions. The US and their allies will continue their propaganda against China and will continue their efforts to shape the perceptions of the masses by constantly hammering their minds with false and fabricated information. As Paul Joseph Goebbels said that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Those who visited Xinjiang they shared different stories about Xinjiang and Uygurs, which shows the quite opposite picture what the Western media is spreading. Most of the independent researchers and media contributors shared their experience about Xinjiang, that Uygurs are living normal, happy and peaceful life in Xinjiang (China). But on the other hand, critics of China on the Xinjiang issue have seldom visited China and are sitting away from China and writing fabricated stories at someone’s behest and funding of anti-China forces. On the part of China, they must spotlight the reality about Uygurs through the social media as well as print and electronic media in other than Chinese language. The Chinese also needs to facilitate more people to visit the XUAR, especially the moderate Muslim scholars, so they can tell the world about the realities and negate the Western propaganda. This will be very helpful in changing the negative perception about China.
—The writer is Research Associate, Eurasian Century Institute, Islamabad.

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