Chinese propaganda going full tilt over Xinjiang cultural genocide

Chinese state media called for a boycott of Swedish clothing retailer H&M last week because the chain had announced it would no longer buy cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. But as the Post pointed, the announcement by H&M wasn’t new. It had been sitting online for months when it was dredged up by the CCP’s keyboard warriors.

H&M’s statement that it is cutting Xinjiang from its supply chain is actually months old. According to a cached version of the deleted webpage, H&M had said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of forced labor and discrimination in Xinjiang. It said it was taking steps to “reduce exposure” in Xinjiang “until conditions for credible due diligence are in place.”

On Wednesday night, Chinese state broadcaster CGTN dredged up the statement and called for consumers to boycott H&M, saying the brand would pay a heavy cost. The call to boycott was repeated in other major state-media outlets, an unusual level of coordination in targeting a brand.

Actually, the way this works in China is even more amusing than this sounds. State media doesn’t come out and admit they are pushing the same story at the same time because they were told to do so. Instead, the story is written a reaction to Chinese “netizens” who are suddenly angry about H&M.

The Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) slammed H&M’s comment in a post on its Weibo account on Wednesday, saying “Spreading rumors to boycott Xinjiang cotton while also wanting to make money in China? It is wishful thinking!”

In another post, the CYLC used the remarks made by Chinese senior diplomat Yang Jiechi at last week’s Alaska meeting with US officials, in which he said that “the Chinese people won’t accept this,” referring to the US condescending actions against China.

The “little pinks” target H&M and the state media rushes to cover it as news. But that was just the start of the latest propaganda effort. Now state officials are using their attacks on H&M as a warning to other companies:

“When you swing the big stick of sanctions at Xinjiang companies, you will also hit yourself,” said Xu Guixiang, a spokesman for the Xinjiang region’s government. “We hope that more companies like H&M will keep their eyes open and distinguish right from wrong.”…

China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has posted primarily about Xinjiang in recent days, with a dozen tweets defending its cotton industry and criticizing U.S. policies on Muslims since Sunday.

The intense response reflects the stakes at hand. Protracted economic sanctions on Xinjiang — the heart of China’s cotton production — could permanently reroute some supply chains out of China. The Xinjiang crackdown, which the U.S. State Department has declared “genocide,” also threatens to become a defining part of President Xi Jinping’s historical legacy.

I’ve been blocked by spokeswoman Hua Chunying but here’s the sort of thing she is promoting:

What’s really driving all of this is the very real possibility that much of the world could stop buying cotton from China which currently produces about 20% of the world’s total supply. As usual, China is trying to threaten economic problems for anyone who thwarts them but I don’t think it’s going to work this time. It’s too clear to the rest of the world exactly how China is using state power to put hundreds of thousands of people in jail-like facilities. I wrote about China’s “labor transfer” system here.

Here’s a report from Al Jazeera on the current Chinese propaganda effort: