China rewriting its history?

Uighur men group leaving the Id Kah Mosque after Friday prayers in Kashgar, Xinjiang. The Chinese have accused Xinjiang Muslims of weaving an incorrect and ‘reactionary system of thought’ for the purpose of establishing the ‘Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan’. EPA PIC

By Datuk Dr. Ahmad Murad Merican
July 11, 2019 @ 11:00pm

CHINA has, for 30 years, tried to deny its crime on Tiananmen. But the simple act of writing about it unwittingly tips journalists into activism. The success of Beijing’s Great Forgetting resonates on how memories have been manipulated. The party-state has been successful in pathologising reporting on Tiananmen.

Two commentators who were witnesses there asked the question of how to remain detached and objective when the topic is politically charged.

Writing in the The Guardian recently, author and academic Louisa Lim and journalist Ilaria Maria Sala expressed that the dilemma is becoming increasingly widespread among journalists and academics, with whole fields of study being pushed into activism by Beijing’s coercive actions. They cited the case of Xinjiang scholars.

Asserting that with one million Uighurs held in political indoctrination camps in the northwest of China, the academics studying a once obscure speciality have become some of the loudest voices advocating for the Uighur community. For them, activism is not just a moral duty but a professional (and a scholarly) responsibility since the culture to which they have devoted their scholarly lives is being annihilated by Beijing’s assault.