Uyghur Tribunal a 'propaganda show' against China

A man feeds camels at an organic cultivation base of a dairy company in Yining county in Kazak autonomous prefecture of Ili, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, May 27, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The so-called Uyghur Tribunal in the United Kingdom has recently held hearings on allegations of human rights violations and genocide in Xinjiang, a northwest region of China. The hearings have drawn international attention, as Western media outlets have given them wide and uncritical coverage.

However, independent analysts and jurists have branded the tribunal as a blasphemy of the law. In fact, it has nothing to do with law. The tribunal is nothing but a propaganda show against China jointly produced and staged by anti-China forces.

This tribunal is part of long-lasting anti-China propaganda aimed to draw global attention. This is designed to keep the propaganda running by providing the media with content for publishing fabricated stories against China.

If we look into the formation of the tribunal and the individuals and organizations involved with it, we can see why the tribunal is a propaganda show called to run smear campaigns against the Chinese and their government. All are well-known as die-hard Sinophobes.

The tribunal was launched on Sept 3, 2020, with the assistance of a non-governmental organization, the Coalition for Genocide Response. The tribunal was established in response to a request made by Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress. The president formally requested Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a British barrister, to establish and chair the tribunal.

Now we should know about the aforesaid organizations and individuals to find out the reasons for the establishment of the tribunal. The WUC is funded in part by the National Endowment for Democracy, an international program of the Central Intelligence Agency of the US.

An article published by US-based news site The Grayzone revealed the WUC is a US-backed right-wing regime-change network seeking the fall of China. It heavily relies on US funding and political guidance. The WUC has become a political tool for the US' new Cold War and media campaign against China.

The article mentioned nearly everything that appears in western media accounts of China's Uygur Muslims is "the product of a carefully conceived media campaign generated by the WUC, which is funded and trained by the US."

The WUC, headquartered in Munich, Germany, has been backed by the NED. Many projects affiliated with WUC and its affiliate organizations also get money from the NED. For example, the main project spun out of the Uyghur American Association and the NED is the Uyghur Human Rights Project. The UHRP was founded by the UAA in 2004. The NED granted the UHRP a whopping $1,244,698 between 2016 and 2019, according to the Grayzone.

The Grayzone investigation noted the WUC is providing a constant source of self-styled Uygur dissidents and human rights horror stories to eager Western reporters. The WUC and its affiliates - the UAA, UHRP, and Campaign for Uyghurs - are cited in nearly every Western media report on Uygur Muslims.

Many leading members of the WUC have also worked in senior positions for Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. These US government-run news agencies were created by the CIA during the Cold War to project propaganda about China and the Soviet Union, and to stir up opposition to communism on these countries' frontiers, according to the Grayzone.

The Coalition for Genocide Response was founded on Nov 4, 2019, by a few British parliamentarians and experts. One of its co-founders is Luke de Pulford, an infamous anti-China figure. He also coordinates the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China and advises the WUC, according to media reports.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, well-known for his anti-China activities, was the lead prosecutor at the trial of Slobodan Milošević in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Michael Mandel, a Canadian legal academic, William Blum, an internationally-renowned American journalist and author, and others accused the ICTY of having a pro-NATO bias due to its refusal to prosecute NATO officials and politicians for war crimes.

In 2009, a conviction Nice had presided over was ordered quashed and retried after a Privy Council Appeal found his handling of the case resulted in an unfair hearing. A report in the Jersey Evening Post claimed the actions could have cost Jersey taxpayers millions of pounds.

Apart from them, a dozen experts have been invited to the hearings of the so-called Uyghur Tribunal to present evidence, including academics such as anthropologist Darren Byler, Chinese Studies professor Joanne Smith Finley, researcher Nathan Ruser and researcher Adrian Zenz.

To keep the article short, I have to confine the discussion only to Adrian Zenz, the so-called Xinjiang expert spreading lies about Muslim oppression in the northwest region of China. Zenz, a German anthropologist, is a senior fellow in China who studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He is also a lecturer in social research methodology at the Evangelical theological institution Akademie für Weltmission.

Beyond all of his identities, the German anthropologist 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. His so-called 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 really are. For example, in 2019, the German anthropologist published a study claiming some 1.5 million Uighurs have been detained in Xinjiang at any time since late 2016. He claimed to have estimated the number based on extrapolations from food allowance subsidies figures of the Chinese government.

But Newsweek Japan divulged the secret of his study by reporting that Zenz's estimates were sourced to Istiqlal, an Uyghur exile-operated media based in Turkey. The Japanese media report made it crystal clear Zenz is spreading the statements of Uyghur separatists in the name of "independent studies."

The anthropologist published another study concluding the Chinese government is running a forced birth control surgery program in Xinjiang. Many public health experts found flaws in the study. They questioned the correctness of his research methodology and the authenticity of its outcomes, as Zenz interviewed only eight women who live 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 persons living abroad. But Western media never bother to take those questions into account. They are indifferently disseminating the flawed studies of the German anthropologist.

Moreover, the Uyghur Tribunal is operating as a private UK company limited by guarantee, according to its website. Such companies are generally used in the UK for societies, charities, and the like. It is a completely voluntary civil organization that has nothing to do with the law and trial.

Therefore, the question arises: Can a private company form and run such a tribunal? Many think it only usurps the name 'tribunal' which is against the law. But Sinophobes care little about its legality and authenticity, as they have established the so-called tribunal to continue propaganda against China in a new format.

The article was first published at

Md Enamul Hassan is a news editor and broadcast journalist at China Media Group in Beijing, China.

If you have a specific expertise and would like to contribute to China Daily, please contact us at, and