Column by Ghulam Osman
While I named this article as such, I cannot really tell with certainty of how China’s brainwashing technics work, and what their working principles are. While I can see and feel some characteristics of these technics, I am not able to pinpoint them in a precise way. And yet, I would like to convey to you some strange aspects of these technics through some examples and metaphors.
Brainwashing is a new concept. Perhaps, it was planned and implemented by some political structures and trans-national groups after WWII. However, historical stories could tell us that it is not something new to Chinese. For example, it is known that the loyal families of the most prosperous Chinese dynasties were ethnically not Chinese. For after being failed to prevent the invasion of other non-Chinese and neighboring nations even after they had erected the Great Wall, the Chinese took a different approach to avoid chaos and war temporally—they invited those who intended to be a king to rule them as their king. For example, up until recently, even (Han) Chinese themselves admitted that the emperor of one of the most prosperous dynasties in Chinese history was Tang Dynasty (唐朝), Li Shimin(李世民) was not a Han Chinese (allegedly now they have started to dispute that part of history). As was the fate of other non-Han Chinese rulers inside China, his indicates that regardless of what ethnicity/race he was, he was eventually Sinicized.
If we look at the colonial history of the other nations, we discover that the leaders and organizers of their independence movements were studied at the schools run by the colonizers. Take an example of Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah of Pakistan, and even Dzhokhar Dudayev of Chechenia, who fought against colonialism, interestingly, went to the schools run by the colonialists. This could not be imagined in China.
After completing the second colonial invasion of East Turkistan in 1878, Chinese colonialists started to force several Uyghurs in East Turkistan to receive Chinese education. After their graduation, they were used as interpreters and translators for government affairs. Those students, who studied at Chinese schools, were selected to be the descendants of the Uyghur heroes and leaders of resistance movements, who fought against Chinese colonialism. The key aim of this education was to turn them into being pro-Chinese servants, to destroy them psychologically through subtle subversions and, finally, to make them pessimistic about their political future. Up until now, we can still see that while this education has produced several scientists and influential figures in Uyghur society, they have already formed a special social class which feels ashamed of and even forgotten their ethnic identity, resulting in becoming the useful tools for Chinese rulers. Some of them have even changed their names to the Chinese ones. Even though the impact of Chinese education upon them are crystal clear, we are still unable to tell what kind of methods that Chinese educators used to yield this shocking results. Was it created by the pressures of Chinese chauvinism that does not see other non-Chinese people as human beings? Or did they use any “magic pills” to change their mind drastically?
It is still surprising that Chinese people always take a similar attitude with their governments to the suppression of colonial subjects, which may have been caused by their innate expansionism tendency of Chinese, or their special chauvinistic characteristics or lack of senses of conscience and justice as they would acknowledge. While these tendencies have been interpreted by some Western scholars as results of the information blockage of Communists and of them being constantly exposed to only one kind of propaganda that excludes the possibilities of other sources of free information. The causes of them, according to our experiences, are actually opposed to these interpretations. For example, during the Nazi period, all information was strictly controlled, leaving room for the Nazi propaganda exclusively. It was not allowed for the Germans to be exposed to the information of the free world, which made them end up accepting Naziism as the only truth and the Holocaust as a reasonable and necessary act. Perhaps, Chinese and Germans may share some similarities in this matter, but the pervious regimes prior to the People’s Republic of China and other Chinese migrants in the free world are supportive of the genocides against the occupied peoples as a justifiable and necessary act. This proves that Chinese are a different kettle of fish.
For example, a growing number of governments have recently accepted that China is committing genocide against Uyghurs. One of these countries is the Netherlands. However, in response to the recognition of the Uyghur genocide by the Dutch parliament, 54 different Chinese organizations in the Netherlands issued a joint letter to protest this very recognition. Two points here are worth our attention: one is that despite the internal differences among these 54 organizations (which are the reason for them to be divided into 54 separate organizations), they all could come to reach a consensus on China’s genocidal policy against the ethnic nationalities, i.e., the Uyghurs, in a surprisingly consorted way; the other is that despite being in the free world, they still manifest the Chinese mindset in defence of this genocide.
There is a kind of understanding that these organizations are financed by the Chinese government to abuse the loopholes in Western democracies to create a pro-China faction inside Western parliaments and to increase its influences through relentless lobbyism to serve for the interests of the Chinese government. The letter penned by Chinese organizations could prove that this assumption may come closer to truth. Even some Chinese-based democracy organizations in the US, in the free world, which are boastful of their anti-communism agenda, are also describing China’s Uyghur genocide as a justifiable and necessary act. We can infer from this that not all these so-called anti-communism organizations run by Chinese democrats are supported by the Chinese government. That is, they are voluntarily defending China’s Uyghur genocide.
Canada is one of the countries which has recognized the Uyghur genocide, where one of the Chinese senators, Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, who was born in Malaysia into a Chinese family and grew up in Singapore, protested and tried to block this recognition. One of his arguments corresponds with the argument of the Chinese representative in the UN on the Uyghur genocide. Another surprising fact is the despite being a representative of the senate of a free country, he is steadfastly defending the interest of China.
We can see from all these that Chinese mentality is always the same in different eras and systems. This is more so in their understanding of the massacre of the other peoples as a reasonable and justifiable act. This can be observed from messages and comments from Chinese on social media out in the open in support of violence and in praise of atrocities. We are also observing that not only do they have no sympathy for Uyghurs being subject to this genocide, but also they are advocating for this genocide by stating that “wipe out all Uyghurs”, “only their total annihilation gives us everlasting peace”, and “let us kill their men and turn their females into our servants”, etc,
The world community must take notice of this. Chinese expansionism is totally different kind of expansionism in human history as it is not limited to territorial expansion—it invades into your psyche deeply and causes irreparable damage. Alas, the world is not fully aware of the intentions of China, making a fatal mistake of “leaving the tiger free in the mountain.” We are afraid that the consequences of this attitude are too grave to ignore.
(Ghulam Osman is Uyghur leader & President of East Turkistan Government in-Exile)