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Adrian Zenz, man behind the lies about Muslim oppression in Xinjiang

By Md Enamul Hassan (People's Daily Online)    14:45, February 07, 2021

The world knows that the US invaded Iraq based on a lie that former President Saddam Hussein had possessed the Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMD), but the US finally failed to trace the weapons even after destroying and occupying the entire country.

Adrian Zenz (Photo: Screenshot of an online video)

The world would later learn that there was a man behind the lies about the WMD. He was Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, better known by his cryptonym “Curveball” given by his US and German intelligence services. He defected from Iraq in 1999 as an arrest warrant was issued against him for embezzling money of Iraqi government, and was later granted asylum by the German government after arriving in Germany.

Curveball claimed that he had worked as a chemical engineer at a plant that manufactured biological weapons as part of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program. His lies were presented as "facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence" by Colin Powell at the UN Security Council in 2003.

Many other dignitaries of the then Bush administration also used the lies to make the case for invading Iraq. The media outlets also joined hands in spreading his statements as truth. It eventually came to light how the US employed Curveball to justify the invasion.

Likewise, there is a man behind the lies about the so-called Muslim oppression in Xinjiang, China, named Adrian Zenz. An anthropologist, Zenz is coincidentally also a German citizen like Curveball. He is a senior fellow in China studies at the “Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation” in Washington, D.C.

Beyond all of his identities, Zenz has risen to prominence for his studies of so-called Muslim oppression in Xinjiang. His research outcomes are the main and favorite sources of false and fictitious reports about Xinjiang run by Western media. Though he has never been to Xinjiang, his studies on the region have long been enjoying uncritical coverage from the media.

If we scrutinize his studies, we can realize how authentic and factual they are. For example, in 2019, Zenz published a study mentioning that some 1 million Uygurs were detained in Xinjiang at any time since late 2016. He claimed to have estimated the number based on extrapolations from food allowance subsidy figures of the Chinese government.

Newsweek Japan divulged the secret of his studies by reporting that Zenz's estimates were sourced by Istiqlal TV, a Uygur exile operated media organization based in Turkey. The Japanese media report made it crystal clear that Zenz is spreading the statements of Uygur separatists in the name of independent studies.

In the same vein, Zenz published another study drawing a conclusion that the Chinese government is running a forced birth control surgery program in Xinjiang. Several public health experts found many flaws in the study. They questioned the correctness of his research methodology and the authenticity of its outcomes, because Zenz interviewed only eight women who too are living in the US.

The experts also questioned if it's rational to jump to conclusions about an entire ethnic group based on the interviews of only eight people who live abroad. Western media doesn’t bother to take those questions into account, but are indifferently disseminating the flawed studies of the German researcher.

It's very natural to question why Zenz would try to establish the fake statements and baseless claims of Uygur separatists as research findings. If we look back at his identities, as I mentioned before, we can easily get the answer to this question.

First, he is a senior fellow in China studies at the notorious Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an organization that was established in 1993 by an Act of Congress signed by Bill Clinton.

The foundation blames the Chinese government for the outbreak of COVID-19. Given the information, it's not difficult to understand the foundation is an anti-China entity. As its senior fellow, Zenz has been smearing China by spreading lies about Xinjiang in the name of research as part of his job.

Secondly, Zenz disseminates the lies about Xinjiang, because he thinks it's his religious duty. The German researcher is a “born-again” far-right fundamentalist Christian, who often states that he has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Zenz has also stated that he feels “led by God” in his research on Chinese ethnic minority groups.

Based on the aforesaid discussions, I have no option other than to conclude that the anti-China forces have employed Zenz to establish the lies about Muslim oppression in Xinjiang as academic findings. Zenz is spreading the lies as part of his job being imbued by his religious beliefs. Thus, the anti-China forces have been using his research as the salient source of their propaganda about Xinjiang to slander China.

The author is a Bangladeshi journalist and columnist now based in Beijing, China. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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