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Thread by @thecoleslaws: Thread of sources on Uyghurs oppression and concentration camps that cannot, by any sane person at least, be called western propaganda: This continues to be an important piece considering i……

I haven’t read a lot of these sources myself yet, but the first one at least by the Communist Party of India is worth a read.

The discussion around China’s treatment of Uygurs is always so unnuanced to me.

All of the arguments I see read like there are only two options:

  • China is a villain and needs to be stopped.
  • China has not and never will do anything wrong. Your criticisms are orchestrated by the CIA.

I tend to believe all of the following can be true at the same time:

  • The US is imperialist and the Biden administration is going hard against China
  • China is not a utopia and has a number of areas where they could improve
  • A lot of what the US is pushing in regards to the Uyghurs is filtered through a propaganda machine bent on helping their imperial goals
  • Some of the Uyghurs have made public claims of oppression by China
  • As an anarchist I believe in working toward ending oppression and I stand in solidarity with people’s struggles against oppression
  • As an anarchist I would fight against a US imperial attack (militarily, economically, or otherwise) on China
  • As an anarchist in the US pretty much all of my organizing is focused on oppression here and not in other countries
  • My actions in solidarity with the Uyghurs are pretty much saying things like “I hope the Uyghurs find liberation in China, but the US getting involved sure wouldn’t help anything”

I think my take is similar to yours.

I was just reading this Jacobin article from 2018 concludes with:

The defense of Chinese minorities’ rights must go hand in hand with a firm antiwar stance on Western foreign policy, a determination to end Islamophobia, and vigilance toward anti-Chinese prejudice in our own communities. Linking the question of Xinjiang to these causes is not a distraction; it’s an opportunity.

I think in large part it may because people don’t consciously think about the difference between…

  1. US government officials or other others deeply embedded in the US power structure criticizing China for its treatment of Uyghurs and the massive amount of propaganda and hypocrisy involved with that.

  2. The average leftist saying “yah, it seems like from what I can tell China is not treating the Uyghurs humanely” while being under no delusions about both the propaganda and motives involved in most of the information they get and also about the general brutality of the US government.

Coming back at category 2 with “but whattabout the US?” doesn’t add anything to the conversation, the vast majority of category 2 agrees with these criticisms of the US.

If you live in China, by all means, have a nuanced take.

If you live in the West, stop supporting US justifications for military and diplomatic action against less imperialist nations.

I literally just said that part of my nuanced take is: “I would fight against a US imperial attack (militarily, economically, or otherwise) on China.” And “The US getting involved sure wouldn’t help anything.”

But OK.

Your post was talking about nuance with respect to China in the context of an active propaganda attack by the West against China based on unverified claims. This propaganda attack is clearly and obviously intended to curry favor with the Western population in order to escalate military, economic, and/or diplomatic action against China.

You shouldn’t have a nuanced take with respect to unverified claims which are obviously and clearly intended to promote a narrative that will lead to military, economic, and diplomatic action. You should have an absolute take and categorically reject the unverified claims.

No one disputes that the vocational centers, and I sure am glad I don’t have to figure out how to stop documented terrorists whose training was facilitated by the West in Afghanistan, but I can’t in good conscience condemn vocational centers when there is no precedent for a more humane way of deradicalizing documented terrorists. There are lots of unverified claims around these vocational centers, and I will categorically dismiss them until there is verifiable evidence, because I oppose any and all military, economic, and diplomatic actions taken by the West.

The West has shown over and over again that its only goal is shoring up power for capitalists. China is obviously a threat to the West. Even in the imaginary world where “they’re capitalist though!”

Also, replace all of these ideas with Russia or Iran and my points would be exactly the same. It doesn’t even matter if China is socialist or not, they’re clearly the lesser evil relative to the West, and Western hegemony is the #1 enemy.

I believe that nothing is beyond criticism, including (and especially) myself, just because there is a worse evil out there. If that’s what you believe, then cool I guess. Just please be consistent and stop criticizing me (an anarchist who is post-civ and believes fighting the West is important) as I am a lesser evil relative to the West, and Western hegemony is the #1 enemy.

I’m not going to stop criticizing the spread of Western propaganda ever. Even before I understood economics well enough to be a leftist, I still criticized Western intervention and justifications for war always because it so obviously carried malicious intent. Whether you’re an anarchist, a liberal, a conservative, or a communist, if you regurgitate unverified Western propaganda, you are doing the slave master’s work for them.

The only things I said that could be in anyway considered critical of China are:

  • China is not a utopia and has a number of areas where they could improve
  • Some of the Uyghurs have made public claims of oppression by China

Trying to argue against either of those seems silly as utopias don’t exist in the material world and there is documented video of some Uyghurs claiming they were oppressed by China. Arguing against that with some anarchist, who would take to the streets to stop US aggression against China, on the Internet does nothing to stop US imperialism. It’s even more useless than writing your political leaders and begging them not to take action against China.

My entire point is that there is nothing wrong with the non-nuanced take from “tankies.” We should categorically reject the Western claims. Sorry, but “documented video of some Uyghurs claiming they were oppressed by China” by themselves are insufficient evidence to verify the claims being made. Namely that the claimed oppression is systemic and structural. I can’t possibly know whether these testimonies are bought and paid for by the West or if they are legitimate. There’s also no evidence that these claims of oppression are systemic nor structural.

You’re drawing a false equivalence between the two extremes. Plus you’re straw-manning the “tankie” take by claiming we say “China has not and never will do anything wrong. Your criticisms are orchestrated by the CIA.” All your criticisms, even if a little strawman-y there, too, of the anarchists who criticize China as a villain are pretty on point though.

The point is that actual anti-imperialists should categorically reject these unverified claims that the oppression is systemic and structural. Any failure to categorically reject the unverified claims is empowering imperialism in the West. This is a common problem for anarchists, as they tend to criticize all governments equally and as a result help to promote the power of the global hegemon.

If China takes over the global hegemony and implements the sort of obvious imperialism that the West perpetuates today, then I’ll criticize them to the exclusion of the West.

I don’t use the word “tankie” personally. I find it over simplifies the position of many communists. Yes I straw-manned a fake ML take just I staw-manned a fake anarchist take, because I was trying to say that’s those staw-men are how people often argue about this. The whole concept of anarchists treating both the US and China equally in the matter is a straw-man. No anarchist that I know of is organizing efforts in Xinjiang to fight China. While pretty much every anarchist I know in the US spends hours every week organizing efforts to fight the US in one way or another.

You keep claiming I’m saying something I’m not which is what is annoying to me. My entire point is that you are creating better propaganda for the US imperialist machine than a take of “some Uyghurs claim oppression” ever could. You make any claim that the West is producing propaganda on the subject with goals of imperial aggression seem childish and not worth listening to. You berate people who ostensibly agree with you, but they just don’t want to start flying the flag of China outside their house either.

No anarchist that I know of is organizing efforts in Xinjiang to fight China.

See, I disagree with this. By regurgitating the unverified claims (which some anarchists do), those anarchists are organizing efforts against China. (Edit: Although not in Xinjiang, but that distinction is not important in my opinion.)

While pretty much every anarchist I know in the US spends hours every week organizing efforts to fight the US in one way or another.

Awesome work for sure.

The discussion around China’s treatment of Uygurs is always so unnuanced to me. … China is a villain and needs to be stopped. China has not and never will do anything wrong. Your criticisms are orchestrated by the CIA.

Tankies don’t say the latter at all. We painstakingly and categorically debunk the unverified claims and point out that it’s extremely dangerous to promote Western propaganda. That being said, we do not dance around with nuance in this respect, and we cite sources such as the nuanced anti-war takes which perpetuated criticisms against the imperialist’s targets. Those nuanced takes completely failed to prevent the Gulf War, the war on terror efforts against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. Public opinion matters. Spreading unverified claims feeds the public opinion machine.

My point is that it makes sense to deride the takes of anarchists who promote the unverified claims, but it does not make sense to deride the takes of tankies who fight against promotion of the unverified claims.

You keep implying that any “nuanced take” contains unverified claims, but you already said that my take (which I consider more nuanced than the straw-men takes I listed) doesn’t. You just believe it doesn’t warrant US aggression toward China. Hey, I agree. I have no delusions that my take is going to stop US aggression more than the fact that I ate toast this morning will. My nuanced takes didn’t stop the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but neither did my organizing, marching, and shutting down the city I live in when the bombs fell. GWB literally just said “he didn’t care about protests”.

This thread is literally the most I’ve ever written or spoken about the Uyghurs, and probably the most I’ve criticized China this year. It was literally a response to someone posting a list of claims where I called for considering that a lot of it is filtered through the US propaganda machine.

I honestly have better things to do now. If you want to cancel me for saying China isn’t perfect and some Uyghurs exist who are unhappy with China, then by all means do so I guess. I’m going to go and actually work on a project that helps change the material reality in the community I live in.

You keep implying that any “nuanced take” contains unverified claims

If this is what you’re reading from my writing, I’m definitely failing to communicate, and I’m sorry for that.

My nuanced takes didn’t stop the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but neither did my organizing, marching, and shutting down the city I live in when the bombs fell. GWB literally just said “he didn’t care about protests”.

Nuanced takes aren’t inherently good or inherently bad. I’m hyper focused on the “nuanced” takes by Western leftists who, unlike you, regurgitate unverified claims from Western media.

If you want to cancel me for saying China isn’t perfect and some Uyghurs exist who are unhappy with China

I’m not trying to cancel anyone (not like I have or want that power anyway), just trying to shift the perspective and the conversation.

This thread is literally the most I’ve ever written or spoken about the Uyghurs, and probably the most I’ve criticized China this year.

I like the vast majority of what you’re putting down for what it’s worth!


Pretty rich that the very first source the anarchists give here, is “Adam Hunerven”, who isn’t a real person, but an alias for Darren Byler, who works for the warmongering Kissinger Institute. Why are anarchists not checking to make sure their sources aren’t literal employees of the US government?

More on him in this video.

In the AP article linked:

“It’s very clear that religious practice is being targeted,” said Darren Byler, a University of Colorado researcher studying the use of surveillance technology in Xinjiang.

At least they have concocted another China expert apart from Zenz.

The “religious practices” thing doesn’t work for me because it doesn’t fit with the fact of the Hui peoples. Who share the same religion.

At least Chuang’s Spirit Breaking’s author “Adam Hunerven” does not exist. It’s a pseudonym used by Byler Darren (link to his paper) because a Kissinger Institute fellow writing anti-China pieces seems hella sus.


Yep, the very first source the anarchists give here, is a pseudonym for a literal warmongering china-watcher from the Kissinger institute. Why do tankies always have to do the work of checking their sources, while anarchists are busy posting US state department propaganda?


I don’t like all the mostly hyperbole “genocide” rhetoric around it (as it is mainly used for anti-Chinese propaganda) but the treatment of the Uyghurs is the most extreme example of the deeply colonial project of the Han Chinese in all of the outlying regions of the Chinese state-capitalist system.


Here are some interesting facts related to this topic:

  • These claims are promoted mainly by the US government and US media
  • The USA has invaded many Muslim countries over the last decades, killing millions of innocent civilians
  • Most Muslim countries support China’s Uighur policies, western nations oppose them
  • According to Biden, USA is in “extreme competition” with China
  • Xinjiang is a vital part of China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure project, because it provides the shortest path to Europe

Edit: One more thing, here is a list of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. Note how there were no more major attacks after the vocational training program was established.

Faceless anarcho-communist twitter account is in perfect harmony with CIA but let’s not talk about that and try to be neutral here. /s

Don’t know why western people are obsessed with concern trolling for human rights across the globe when the biggest anti-worker, genocidal, racist nation state projects are right at their doorsteps. Instead of cleaning the mess at their home you get anarchist minded people being regime change dupes on the internet.

I don’t even know what to believe with this shit and I’m not an anarchist but this is the most ridiculous objection I’ve seen. “WHAT ABOUT [worse thing that anarchists also oppose]” is fucking meaningless and leaves you looking less like a good Marxist and more like you’re just looking for any reason to dunk on nerds on the internet.

Whataboutism claims are a good sign of pseudo intellectuals dog whistling to attract mob attention, usually a last resort card played by people when they never have good discussion or argument skills.

“Whataboutism” as a claim can be abused a lot to avoid criticism of the other evil that is being referenced, but there is no reason to believe that’s the case on an anarchist forum where you would be very hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t also extremely opposed to the US and other western empires. Given the demographics of a site like this, it’s also likely that most of their activism is targeted toward them as well. There is no reason that criticism of a potential evil has to wait for a larger evil to be toppled.

You’re not actually making a point here, just hurling insults.

More like I explained how concern trolling is done, by using whataboutism claims. If you want such academic discussions, first consider that you need a utopian world to do so, not the kind of world that exists today.

The current world has a lot of bias and brainwashed masses, the bias being in favour of the Western neoliberal warmongering hegemony.

Yeah my bad sorry for bringing attention to the country that has killed millions of Muslims in the middle east, destabilised countries which don’t bend to it’s will, has been rabidly anticommunist since communism has been a thing and is using the same playbook of disseminating atrocity propaganda to justify military interventions in recent history. Guess I will need to read more Marx before I can reach your level and cry whataboutism.

tf? I’ve got no problem with you also bringing attention to the US, in fact I think it’s necessary to drop into conversations like these and bring reminders like that.

My issue is the idea that unless “the mess at home” is cleaned, we can’t care about bad things happening elsewhere on smaller scales.

Well “the mess at home” is responsible for “bad things happening elsewhere on smaller scales”. In this case the NED funds the Washington based Uyghur World Congress which is the main group pushing for Uyghur secession. US funds separatist terrorists in Xinjiang, many of whom go to fight for Jihadist factions against Syria.

Meanwhile the west is pushing atrocity propaganda to manufacture consent for an escalation of conflict against China. One cannot really play both sides here. Fencesitting as an American and not opposing the US destabilising other countries, especially while taking no initiative to organise for political change, is supporting American interventionism.

That’s all I wanted to say. Sorry for the earlier reply. Lost my cool.

That’s more substantive and mostly makes sense, I just don’t agree that choosing neither empire constitutes fence-sitting…that attitude seems to me like liberal lesser evilism.

I don’t know, should I call an American who didn’t fight for America in the second world war because they didn’t want to fight for America’s imperialist project a fence-sitter because German fascism was the greater evil? Even if they were involved in anti-fascist activism at home? To me that sounds ridiculous and incredibly convenient for any force that is not literally the absolute worst on the planet…all they have to do is oppose the bigger bad.

That argument is based on the premise of false equivocation of Nazi Germany and China, a narrative in which equating deradicalisation camps with concentration camps plays a large part. China is not an expansionist state. They claim Tibet, Taiwan, which is a separate discussion but they have no intentions of expanding beyond that. They haven’t been in any war in the last fifty years. Similar argument could be used to justify Americans fighting in the Vietnam war which I am sure you know was not a justified invasion.

Altough i don’t know much about these camps of china, i still think those ‘deradicalization’ camps have more similarities to prisons compared to freedom. And i just don’t think prisons help with deradicalization.

Oh no, in that example I’m equating China now and the US in that era. Meaning a force that opposes the greater evil (Germany then, the US now) but that itself has imperial interests. (In this case maybe not literal territorial expansion, but exerting control through business…much like the US but, yknow, not as aggressive)

You forgot to cite the most important reason, being that southern Xinjiang area Tarim Basin has as much oil as whole of Saudi Arabia and supplies 30% of China’s oil needs. Destabilising and separating Xinjiang from China will result in an inevitable collapse of the country’s economy. China is on its way to overtake USA as world leader.

USA already has hold of Saudi Arabia and sanctions and forcibly controls Iran. By taking control of Tarim Basin, USA will dictate matters over most of the world’s oil.

If they had to care about Muslims, they would not genocide millions of them in Gitmo or Middle East or South East Asia over the past half century.

While I think the situation in Xinjiang is far more nuanced than most westerners see it, your unironic use of “vocational training program” puts you, quite comically, into the same camp: un-nuanced westerner spouting off.

Xinjiang is a total shit-show, and there are no good guys in the mix. None.


Being nuanced doesnt mean simply yo take the “middle point” between two statements. It means to critically examine each statement, consider the proof and the reliability of the source.

As mentioned multiple times in this thread, the main proof comes from “researchers” associated with the US government, most of whom haven’t been to Xinjiang in their entire live. The source is western media, and their reliability is very low when it comes to reporting on enemy states.

You are absolutely correct on the sources. This is why I don’t take any reports by westerners on Xinjiang at face value and, specifically, laugh at both the numbers they pull out of their asses and the more outrageous claims of what’s being done to 新疆人. (Similar to the bullshit that the 法轮大法 spouted about organ theft in Chinese hospitals. They made the mistake of naming one I could visit in person and check their claims … and not a single claim checked out. Not one. Beginning with the claim that the hospital was doing the organ theft in their basement. Peculiar, given the hospital didn’t have a basement.)

That being said, while the government here (yes, here) is nowhere near as apocalyptically comic book evil as it’s portrayed in western media or by its western opposing governments, it is by no stretch of any kind of imagination benevolent. It’s just run by people smart enough to take the long view: that understand you can’t keep your tight grip on power if people get so fed up with you that they’ll gladly suffer mass deaths as long as someone gets their hands on your throat.

And that’s where my other disbelief kicks in. “Vocational training program” sounds far too fucking wholesome for what these places likely are. I rather doubt they’re death camps. I don’t doubt they’re labour camps (insofar as American prisons using prisoners paid a pittance are labour camps; I suspect that’s the model in use). And I’m pretty certain that any “vocational training” is purely a side effect of the jobs they’re forced to perform in what is, essentially, prison. You know, the same kind of “vocational training” that prisons for profit in the USA provide.

That being said, going back to “nuance”, there’s a reason why this is happening and while not every person in the labour camps is there justly, I’d wager most of them are.

Good video debunking most of this.

Referring to this video is a splendid example of confirmation bias (something we all suffer from). I, like most people here, can’t know for sure what’s happening to the Uyghurs. I only have access to information that can be infested with propaganda (from whatever side). So always keep an open mind and methodically doubt anything (like Descartes).

Came to share this. Bayarea and Daniel Dumbrill do a fantastic job.

Thanks, I already watched most of that one. I think he should remove the propaganda at the start of the video and lose the over the top production because he makes a few good points.

I wouldn’t exactly call it a “debunking” though. It’s not as if oppression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities is some made up thing.

keep in mind, all of these articles are coming from people who spent the last three decades crucifying and slaughtering muslims and black people, millions of them dead, most of them innocent, all of these crimes the nazis are guilty of ten fold and worse. they don’t care about muslims, they want a war with china because they turned globalism into a war they can’t win.

they’re stupid fucking nazis

if criticism of rms ends the free software movement it wasn’t much of a movement to begin with. silo-ing movements is always a bad idea, as is erecting pillars necessary for the movement, as is gate keeping, as is being a complete piece of shit

I think important context that’s rarely discussed is why there is unrest in Xinjiang. US has openly admitted that they are trying to destabilize the region using the same strategy they used in Afghanistan against USSR. This is the primary reason why US is in Afghanistan in the first place. Here’s what an ex CIA asset had to say about it:

Throughout the 1990s, hundreds of Uyghurs were transported to Afghanistan by the CIA for training in guerilla warfare by the mujahideen. When they returned to Xinjiang, they formed the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and came under Catli’s expert direction. Graham Fuller, CIA superspy, offered this explanation for radicalizing the Chinese Muslims:

The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them [Muslims] against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan and against the Red Army. The doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter Chinese influence in Central Asia.

Basically, US has been training and arming separatists in Afghanistan and sending them to Xinjiang while NED has been funding separatist movements in the province.

US interference in the region is the root cause for the unrest. Given the situation, I would say Chinese response to the problem has been rather restrained. They could’ve done what Russia did in Chechnya, instead they appear to be addressing the problem through education and by improving quality of life in the region.

I’m sure some repression is happening, and you’re right that these things are never black and white in practice. However, it seems pretty clear that US is intentionally creating the problem and China is responding to it in a way that’s causing the least harm.

Good take overall.

I’m sure some repression is happening, …

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, but there’s insufficient evidence of structural or systemic oppression except of convicted criminals who can be found in the jails in China just as they would be found in the jails of every other country in the world.

…China is responding to it in a way that’s causing the least harm.

Well said.

Another indirect metric we can use to gauge the situation is whether people are fleeing the region. Any time there are wars, civil unrest, or genocides happening we see a wave of refugees streaming into neighboring countries. Incidentally, there are 2.5 million refugees from Afghanistan that’s occupied by US right now. That seems like a much stronger indication of an actual genocide happening than anything we’ve seen regarding Xinjiang so far.


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