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Same old tricks: BBC’s crooked ‘show’ featuring teary-eyed actresses

By Dennis Meng (People's Daily Online)    13:37, February 09, 2021

How to piece together an eye-catching, heart-wrenching fake story and pass it off as "real" to the audience? In the case of BBC's rolling series of false portraits of Xinjiang, which it never seems to get tired of making, the answer is fairly simple: find a weeping actress and edit a confusing clip that shows a grim and prison-like place. That's it.

For years, the British Broadcasting Corporation has deployed similar tactics to distort facts and concoct lies. Its "coverage" of China is at best a whole bunch of prejudices mixed into one-sided stories and logical fallacies, at worst a barrage of lies, nonsense, and fake news. In reference to Xinjiang in particular, the BBC has reduced itself into a superspreader of falsehoods and misinformation, a total departure from the so-called media ethics it purports to champion. 

She said, she said

Any textbook on logic, even the simplest one, would advise you to never rush to a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. In the BBC's own "book of logic", unfortunately, the conclusion precedes evidence, while personal "accounts" stand up as ironclad proof.

In July 2020, BBC Newsnight aired a 10-minute episode on the so-called "forced sterilization of Uygur women", in which Zumrat Dawut, a "household name" frequently appearing in BBC headlines for her "miserable past", sobbing, shared her "experience"in front of the camera. Zumrat Dawut's performance was so great that it immediately drew a flood of sympathy, until you discover that most of her accusations were in fact blatant lies. 

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, debunked the claims of Zumrat Dawut at a press conference held on Feb. 4.

She claimed to have been forcefully sterilized and even had her uterus removed, but the consent form she signed after giving birth to her third child in 2013 says otherwise. When she was giving birth to her third child in the maternity wards of a women and children's hospital in Urumqi in March 2013, she signed a childbirth consent form voluntarily, requesting "to have a cesarean section and tubal ligation", and then the hospital conducted operation as she required. She was never sterilized, not to mention a hysterectomy.

Related Reading: Familiar names frequent behind lies of 'Xinjiang women being raped'

Even her own father wasn't spared in the melodrama she starred in on her own. Her father, who she left behind and claims died not long ago from an unknown cause, in reality, had been living with his children until he died from heart disease on Oct. 12, 2019.

Alas, during that "trial" held and judged by the BBC, Zumrat Dawut was the only one allowed to speak. Even though her elder brother Abduhelil Dawut and other relatives have again and again come out in debunking her claims. The BBC would never include any of their testimony or counterarguments into its many pages long "reports".

Related Reading: Fact Check: Lies on Xinjiang-related issues versus the truth

For the BBC's producers and editors, a Uygur woman with watery eyes must be a foolproof tool and a natural magnet that generates tons of tears, hatred, and of course, ratings, or why on earth wouldn't they have even made a slight change in their tactics?

On Feb 3, 2021, the BBC published a lengthy article titled "'Their goal is to destroy everyone': Uighur [Uygur] camp detainees allege systematic rape". Having introduced Tursunay Ziawudun and Sayragul Sauytbay, among others with obscure photos and unsubstantiated quotes, the BBC reached its own conclusion that there was "an organized system of mass rape, sexual abuse, and torture." By the BBC's guidebook, there would be no perjury in the court since every defendant is presumed guilty; and there is no need for journalists to find solid evidence as quotes of unreliable sources and vague pictures alone serve their purpose.

Editing to fabricate

BBC had removed 'Human Planet' from its website for faked scenes. Screenshot‍ by CGTN

The BBC is no stranger to manipulated clips and fabricated footage. In the second season of Planet Earth, a 2016 nature documentary, the BBC faked a scene of snakes chasing an iguana, which, according to The Independent, was "stitched together from several takes." A beloved episode of Frozen Planet (2011) featuring a polar bear tending to her cubs in the snow turned out to be filmed in a den in a wildlife enclosure at a Dutch zoo…

In the BBC's "documenting" of nature and the wild outdoors, artificial sound effects and footage can be readily utilized to depict a dramatic but unrealistic nature scene to cater to the audience; and yet, when it comes to the BBC's "Xinjiang story", such techniques have clearly been mastered to perfection.

Screenshot of the video clip on BBC News' Youtube channel 

Empty rooms, opened doors, security monitor walls, and even iron handrails--all of these in the eyes of the BBC are useful props as long as they can be used to advance that "look what China has 'done' " farce.

A close examination of the BBC's dozens of Xinjiang-related documentaries and videoclips will reveal that not even a single frame of its Prison Break type "saga" leads to any substantiated verdict. Despite the People's Daily, Global Times, Xinhua News Agency, and other Chinese media outlets, together with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, having all tirelessly refuted the BBC's "flawless" lies, the British Broadcasting Corporation hasn't even developed a tinge of boredom yet in pumping them out.

On the China Page on the BBC News website, it is a Herculean task to find any trace of objective reporting about Xinjiang, not to mention any positive one, such as the eradication of poverty in the Chinese autonomous region.

Visitors select hats in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Sept. 11, 2020.  Xinjiang's economy expanded 3.4 percent year on year in 2020, 1.1 percentage points higher than the national GDP growth, according to the local government work report delivered to the annual session of the regional legislature. (Xinhua/Ma Kai)

Related Reading: Fact Check: truth on Xinjiang's social, economic development

Truth distorted, evidence manipulated (such as airing a video of counter-terrorism drills and calling it evidence of an atrocity by China's law enforcement): the staff at the BBC must be living in a parallel universe where its team was acting like members of the Justice League, fighting self-fashioned evil spirits out of thin air.

Related Reading: A Wuhan the West would never see

"We must work harder to separate fact from fiction," Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC, told the Radio Times during an interview in 2020. "We need to take care that trusted news is not blown off course by claims that are unfounded, however widespread they become." Now if only BBC's employees would actually listen to their own boss!

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

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