UN alleges possible ‘crime against humanity’ in China


Un report published on 1 September 2022 suggests that China may be committing genocide in Xinxiang province

The BBC today discussed the UN report which describes in great detail, the use of torture, sexual violence and arbitrary detention of the Uyghur population in China. This abuse, which they believe is a possible crime against humanity, has been widely reported around the world and is a huge stain on the Chinese state. Around a million Uyghurs are held in so-called re-education centres and are forced to work picking cotton for example, some of which is believed to used in garments in the UK. Photographs show these establishments surrounded by barbed wire with watchtowers. The release of files last year revealed instructions to the guards should a Uyghur try to escape: if the warning shots did not work then the instructions were shoot to kill.

The Chinese government refutes the allegations and a lengthy report is attached to the UN report. It is described as ‘disinformation’ and a ‘farce’. The BBC interviewed someone representing the Chinese point of view. It was not very enlightening and consisted of a flat denial of the allegations. He also claimed, falsely, that delegations have visited the area and this was not picked up by the interviewer. Allow unfettered access could do a great deal to answer the allegations if they were untrue. The main claim for the actions the government is taking is that it is to tackle ‘terrorism, extremism and radicalisation’. These claims are extremely exaggerated and do not justify the scale of abuse foisted on the Uyghur people.

The World Uyghur Congress welcomed the report but claims it does not go far enough. They urge western governments to do more to challenge the Chinese for their activities in Xinjiang. Amnesty described the report as a ‘game changer’.

One interesting aspect to the BBC interview was the fact that several countries sought to stop the report being published. The Chinese interviewee was vague about this matter and the interviewer wondered if the UK government was one of them. The question was left hanging.

Attitudes towards China have changed in recent years. In the UK, the desperate desire by the then prime minister David Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne to forge close relationships with the country now look a little forlorn. Predictions that China was imminently due to overtake the USA economically also look rather silly. The country’s banks and property market are in a parlous state and the economy does not look as strong as it once was. Politically, the crushing of dissent in Hong Kong, their actions in the South China Sea and bullying actions around Taiwan have forced countries to reappraise their approach. The mass abuse of almost an entire nation and the destruction of religious buildings hardly adds to their reputation.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe


BBC programme about Nazanin

Members of the group and supporters will know that we have campaigned over the years on behalf of Nazanin who remains trapped in Iran. The last post we did can be accessed here. The main reason is the issue surrounding the tank deal we arranged with the Shah before he was deposed. Iran paid up front for these and after he was deposed the contract was cancelled and the new regime wanted its money back. Nazanin is effectively a hostage for this money.

At 13:45, after the World at One on Radio 4 (BBC) there is a fifteen minute programme each day on the background to this tragedy. You will be able to hear it via BBC Sounds in the usual way.

Israel and vaccinations


UPDATE: 30 JANUARY 2021

Press release from Amnesty International on this subject.

UPDATE: 19 January 2021

In the BBC’s World at One on Radio 4 today, programme went someway to rectify the complete failure to mention Palestinians in their earlier broadcasts.  They had a lengthy clip and an interview with Tom Bateman in which this matter was discussed.  Whether this was in response to complaints about their previous bias we cannot know.  Amnesty was mentioned in the clip.  


Serious bias in BBC report on progress with vaccination in Israel

Last week, on the BBC’s radio 4 programme PM which is broadcast between 5pm and 6pm each day, the presenter, Evan Davies interviewed a journalist from the Jerusalem Post about the rapid progress being made in Israel with vaccinating its citizens.  Around 12% had already had their first vaccination and Evan Davies was clearly impressed.

What neither he, nor the journalist, mentioned it was only Jewish citizens who were being vaccinated, not Palestinians in the occupied territories or in Gaza.  Perhaps this news item was put together in haste and slotted into the programme as it was a rare good news story in the current gloom.

However, a detailed report has been produced six days ago by B’Tselem, based in Israel, which analysed in considerable detail the second class status of Palestinians (not just with vaccinations) and their report, called This is Apartheid, concludes that Israel is effectively an Apartheid state.  The BBC cannot claim ignorance.

BBC fails to mention that no Palestinians are being vaccinated in Israel

It is therefore very surprising and extremely troubling that on the BBC’s World at One programme today (18 January 2021), Sarah Montague hosted a 4 and a quarter minute clip – including an interview with the BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent, Tom Bateman – again lauding the rapid progress made with Israel’s vaccination programme which has now reached 20%.  The interview was again a fulsome piece about what is happening in Israel but shockingly, neither of them mentioned that no Palestinians are being vaccinated.

Human Rights Watch points out that Israel, as the occupying power, is obliged under the 4th Geneva Convention to ensure that adequate medical supplies are available including for contagious diseases and epidemics.

The reasons for Israel’s actions are complex and they claim they have insufficient vaccines to give and that they have not received any request from the Palestinian authorities.  Given the pace of the vaccination programme, the former seems a weak argument.  Whatever the reasons, there seems no credible reason why the BBC, which is supposed to provide balanced reporting and impartiality, should twice broadcast pieces and interviews and completely fail to mention the lack of vaccination of Palestinians.

See our earlier blog on the B’Tselem.

The Israeli Government has strongly denied the Apartheid claim.

Sources: BBC; Independent, HRW

Sportswash – again


In a previous post we mentioned the case of Anthony Joshua, the boxer and the fight which took place in Saudi Arabia for which he received a multi-million pound purse.

Human rights groups were critical of his decision to fight there and said it was an example of Sportswash: using sport to try and sanitise a dubious regime. In the case of Saudi this involves executions by beheading; floggings; imprisoning opposition people, lawyers and human rights workers as well as their appalling bombing activities in Yemen.

Lo and behold, within days of this happening and the criticism which it produced, Joshua turns up on the Graham Norton Show on the BBC. This is a show which features actors and celebrities of various kinds who come on to promote their activities and seemingly have a good time. Joshua came on to great acclaim and was variously embraced and fawned over by the other guests. Joshua himself said at the time of the fight that he did not know about Amnesty as he was too busy training but one suspects that Graham Norton, his producers and production team know and must have been aware of the furore surrounding his fight in Saudi. Not a word was said about this.

So what do we call this? Is it Sportswash? The BBC has come in for an increasing amount of criticism for bias and to some extent this is understandable during an election. This is not bias however, it is simply not wanting to see. No doubt his promoters or PR people want to rehabilitate Joshua’s reputation – which took a knock – and what better than to parade him on a lightweight entertainment show like Graham Norton where no awkward questions were asked. But why did the BBC agree to this? Did the other guests know he was coming on and were they not concerned? If they were they did not show it with lots of kisses, backslapping and embracing – typical activity when celebs come together. We do not know of course if other potential guests were sickened by his presence and declined the gig.

So have the BBC been used as part of a plan to rehabilitate Anthony Joshua’s reputation?  Is what is happening in Yemen and Saudi of so little interest to the BBC that inviting this man on for our entertainment matters more than the suffering of people in those two countries?

 

 

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