Chinese Propaganda in the Middle of New York

Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, is using digital signs in one of the world’s most prized ad locations to promote Xinjiang-made goods.

This comes despite mounting international condemnation of the regime’s brutality in the area.

A Massive Billboard

An enormous screen spanning about 64 stories tall and 40 feet in diameter in Times Square showed a movie by Xinhua presenting Shihezi, one of the biggest cities in Xinjiang, as a flourishing “green” city just before Christmas.

As per a January 4 press statement from Xinhua Screen Media Co., the 30-second film promoted Shihezi as an “epitome” of China’s green developmental projects.

It shows “delicious fruits, heady wines, a green economy image, and a joyful life of people.” In a news release, Xinhua claimed, “China’s Shihezi city delighted Times Square with benefits of green growth.”

The government’s human rights violations in the area include the detention of an estimated one million Uyghurs in prisons where they are subjected to abuse, compulsory labor, and indoctrination.

These concerns prompted the US and its allies to declare a formal boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Beijing’s effort has been labeled a genocide by the US administration, numerous Western legislative bodies, and an alternative people’s tribunal.

As per Ilshat H. Kokbore, vice head of the executive board of the advocacy organization World Uyghur Conference, presenting Shihezi as a “green environment” against this background is ironic.

From 1988 to 2003, Kokbore taught as a college professor in Shihezi for 15 years. He informed The Epoch Times the regime is attempting to “downplay the genocide allegation.”

With the Olympics only four weeks away, any international acknowledgment or praise from the West would’ve been viewed as a “win” that Beijing could utilize to strengthen its legitimacy, he explained.

What on Earth is Going on?

As per Chinese official media, Shihezi is a military-style city controlled by the Xinjiang Construction and Support Corps (XPCC) behind the “green” veneer.

XPCC is a regional terrorist movement sanctioned by the US for grave violations of human rights. “The city is hostile to everyone, including the Han Chinese who live here,” Kokboore claimed, referring to China’s largest ethnic group.

According to Chinese media stories, Shihezi is a prominent city for cotton and tomato exports.

While Kokbore was a schoolteacher there, he would lead roughly 50 to 70 Uyghur pupils to pick cotton every year during cotton harvesting season, which started around mid-September.

The work was done for free. They had to remain in the cotton plantations from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. to meet their quota. “For the pupils, it was dubbed work education,” he explained.

Last January, the United States prohibited all imports of cotton and vegetables from the area citing concerns over forced labor. Biden signed a bill prohibiting all exports from Xinjiang into law in December.