Talk:Uyghur genocide

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This Race related article has been awarded SILVER status for quality. We like it, and you should too! See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


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It's ongoing, but it's a huge deal. I support silver. CorruptUser 20:15, 22 March 2021 (UTC)


A meme on Reddit is the source? That seems a little less than reliable.... — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Issues with Article Rationality / Non-Bayesian Analysis[edit]

This article makes some fair points, and I have updated my opinions on the issue accordingly. However, in many places the article reads as trying to prove a point instead of "following the evidence wherever it goes." In particular, some fair counterarguments are not covered as "this should update your prior negatively towards source X" and are instead entirely thrown out or inappropriately associated with a fallacy. Here are a couple examples:

Didn't CHRD only interview eight Uyghurs?
As stated earlier, the Greyzone strawmanned their claim.
However, webshites like The Greyzone strawman their argument by conveniently omitting that each of the villagers came from a different village.

As I understand The Greyzone's argument, their issue is that the study is based on eight people, not that the statistical sourcing of those people is bad. In fact, the information on different villages is even included in the screenshot The Greyzone provides.

Bringing up the extremely small sample size is a valid point, and should update your Bayesian prediction (at least slightly) in favor of Adrian Zenz being ideologically motivated. It is honestly confusing to me how NCHRD managed to get such a small sample size - if they were visiting the villages in person, why did they only have time for one interview? Was it conducted remotely instead of in person? If so, how were the participants in the study sourced - was it through a third party organization like the WUC? Such issues are not discussed in the original study.

If the WUC were involved in interviewee sourcing, that would lead to issues of ideological motivation, as the WUC is explicitly separatist according to their own website (bolding mine):

The Chinese communist reign in East Turkistan can be considered the darkest chapter in the history of the Uyghurs and East Turkistan. Under the current conditions, the very existence of the Uyghur nation is under threat. The Chinese communist government has been carrying out a vicious campaign against Uyghurs and other indigenous people of East Turkistan in order to permanently annex the lands of East Turkistan.
Despite all the brutal and destructive campaigns by the Chinese government against their identity and existence, the Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples of East Turkistan refuse to be subjugated by China and keep carrying the torch of resistance against Chinese occupation, handed down to them by their ancestors.

Furthermore, the NCHRD study itself leads to concern over whether the numbers were obtained through a process similar to p-hacking. They start their data collection section by saying:

Between July 2017 and June 2018, we interviewed dozens of ethnic Uyghur villagers in several counties in Kashgar Prefecture...

(Dozens meaning at least 24.) But when they get to estimation of the number of people in the camps, they say:

The following table presents the data we have compiled based on interview with eight ethnic Uyghurs.

Why did they throw out at least 2/3rds of their interviewees? Or did they simply not ask numbers from the rest of their interviewees? It is not discussed in the study. It could be as simple as most of the interviewees being sourced from a few villages, but it's not clear.

I don't claim that the above hypotheticals (eg Uyghurs interviewees sourced from the WUC) are true, just that the study leaves open the possibility of such bias, and that should be rationally concerning.

The second example I will point out here is "But Radio Free Asia is US state media!" In this section, the counterarguments are:

  1. CGTN is state media.
  2. The US has lied before, which is has no impact on the current allegations, as it is a fallacy to claim this.
  3. Chinese media performs censorship.
  4. The US does not want to start a war with China, just to have political leverage. China is a valuable trading partner with the US, and the US did not push especially hard until 2020, when relations between the two countries broke down.
  5. US leftists have compared the rhetoric in Xinjiang to Bush's War on Terror.

Points 1, 3, and 5 can be thrown out completely; they have no bearing on whether RFA is state propaganda or is trustworthy. Points 2 and 4 seem to be arguing in favor of the trustworthiness of RFA, rather than whether or not RFA is US funded.

It is correct that RFA is funded by USAGM, which is funded directly by the US Congress, and it is correct that NED (also funded by Congress) has been funding Uyghur separatist groups. This should increase your Bayesian prediction that RFA is ideologically motivated.

On issues of trustworthiness, point 2 should have the opposite logical effect as described in the article. It should increase your Bayesian prediction that RFA is willing to lie about issues if it is in the US interest. Because it has happened before, it is in theory possible that it could happen again. If we lived in a counterfactual world where the US associates had never lied about issues to start a war, then the Bayesian impact of RFA's funding source (Congress) would be much lower. It is only correct to call this a fallacy if you're doing binary evaluations of truth, not Bayesian evaluations.

On point 4, this is the closest to a valid argument. If it is true, it would decrease the motivation for RFA to make ideologically motivated claims. I think the political leverage vs. war point is debatable, as balkanization of the USSR greatly helped the US without directly causing a war, which implies the US would be happy to support separatist movements in the hope of a similar outcome. But I admit the valuable trading partner point should update your Bayesian prediction on this. I think "the US didn't push especially hard until 2020" is true, but I hope some sources (eg media analysis) are provided for this. We could take the favorability ratings of China in the US as correlated factor, which shows a drop starting in 2019.

There are other issues, but this post is already quite long, so I'll leave at this for now. --Order (talk) 21:00, 3 August 2021 (UTC)

It is notable that no one has been able to answer this. This article is a rather depressing example of rationalwiki at its lowest. Tikitime2 (talk) 19:11, 22 November 2023 (UTC)
I am not really well-placed to respond to every claim, but two points I would make are A. The Grayzone is a seriously bad faith actor based on their track record (even tried to smear the Kazakhstan and Myanmar protesters as US intelligence pretty much immediately after these protests emerged), B. even pro-Chinese sources seem to implicitly accept there are things occurring that could amount to a cultural genocide, they just don't want to frame it as that: they literally frame it as an "anti-terrorism" campaign, while criticizing US gov sources because of things like "they lied about Iraq", apparently no appreciation for irony here. Chillpilled (talk) 20:18, 22 November 2023 (UTC)


Hasn't recent evidence shown this to be completely wrong and at no point were anywhere near a million people detained in xinjiang?

The people's tribunal, setting aside questions of bias, only alleged around 6000 people missing. We say millions.

Did we publish total bunk? Rationalwiki should not have been a place for making extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:37, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

What the fuck is this source? At any rate, currently there is no really good concrete evidence because China is being China and holding a tight lip. The "million people" in detention camps (not missing) is an informed estimate based on several sources and I think that's clear from the many references. Likewise, there of course is fuzziness due to China's tight lip, but based on reports this probably involves forced labor (so at minimum slavery), might involve torture, and most probably involves Orwellian surveillance. Missing people is not really the deal here, I don't think it's gotten to the "China is deliberately killing Uyghurs" stage of things. However, the reports of forced sterilization, abortion, and suppression of religious practices are what possibly qualify this as a genocide as per a UN agreed definition post-WWIIWikipedia. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 14:57, 14 October 2021 (UTC)
Added a couple lines of disclaimer. Feel free to alter. CorruptUser 15:27, 14 October 2021 (UTC)
@PanGalacticGargleBlaster We fucking claim a million people were detained. That's one out of every 25 people in the district. It's insanely and demonstrably not true. Don't defend the motte position of "China did bad things". Defend the outright bogus assertion we put in our lede that was completely without substantiation beyond unreasonable extrapolation of very few interviews.
And we're well past the point of "Just fix it" because the nature of claim and the fact that we staked our reputation on saying something that degree of incorrect. It's a tremendous error that needs more accountability to how it happened than that.
I'm of the very strict opinion that you don't make allegations of that kind of scale without some kind of real material evidence. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 01:06, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
Have you even read any of the sources? I mean, you are basically saying Amnesty International (twice), Human Rights Watch and United Nation spokespeople are basically spouting out complete bullshit on the subject for the last few years (let alone some of the other organizations like Buzzfeed News).
It is fair to say it is an estimate. But at this point, the estimate is based on:
A) Interviews with people who have been through the detention camps.
B) Satellite images detecting the detention camps and certain other leaked documents.
I think it is fair to add "estimated" anywhere that term does not exist, as it most certainly is an estimate at this time. I also think changing the phrase from a definitive ("1 million detained") to more fuzzy ("estimated to be up to a million detained, or even more") is fair. However, the one million estimate is being touted IMHO by some very credible organizations on this matter, it's even considered fine for WikipediaWikipedia. I'm afraid that I need some proof for this "insanely and demonstrably not true" comment, we have some pretty heavy hitters that are reporting this information, and generally speaking the ones not reporting this position lean towards propaganda outlets like China Daily. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 01:46, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
OK, I went through and changed a few places where it seemed like the article advocated concrete evidence instead of an estimate. Also, the editor that slipped in a citation without actually reading the propaganda contained within it needs a little trout whack. :p PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 02:05, 17 October 2021 (UTC)
Woefully inadequate. The military crackdown in xinjiang (that absolutely happened and was absolutely not a good thing) has now ended, and it's possible to interview people there with some degree of security, and it's 100% clear that no mass incarceration on the scale that insane people like Megha Rajagopalan conjectured by looking at buildings on google fucking maps happened. He won a pulitzer for that insane drivel. And frankly we were idiots to publish it uncritically. You're an idiot now for doubling down and throwing fucking winky faces to cover for "oh it was just an estimate." Fuck you. Genocide of millions is not something to idly speculate is happening. That's is inexcusable. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:44, 18 October 2021 (UTC)
I mean, I can find a reliable source that says some of the restrictions have eased but I can't find anything saying the mass detention never happened. We shouldn't push something that could potentially be genocide denial uncritically either. Plutocow (talk) 17:50, 18 October 2021 (UTC)
Agreed, what we need are some links with your point of view, ikanreed. I can't find anything even remotely comparable. In fact, the BBC claims via a China white paper that China itself was sending 1.3 million people to "reeducation camps", so it's pretty clear something big happened and the question is more "what" (with the details we have not looking that great). It's a little bit puzzling why you're, frankly, sounding quite like the China propaganda mouthpieces here on this subject. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 17:55, 18 October 2021 (UTC)

UN final decision[edit] — Unsigned, by: Yumemiko / talk / contribs

Who China is copying[edit]

Assume all the statements about Xinjiang in English media are true (somehow I doubt Sayragul Sauytbay both "did not personally see violence"[1] AND witness a gang rape[2] seeing as those are rather mutually exclusive) It's probably worth noting that the Muslim-supermajority country of Tajikistan has very similar rules and policies to China in Xinjiang: strict prison incarceration for possible ties to unapproved religious groups (Tajik prisons make Xinjiang centers look like a vacation; I'm not saying reeducation centers are a picnic in Xinjiang but it's an open secret what goes on in Tajik prisons, come on), police-enforced shaving (Tajikistan is rather infamous for this long before Xinjiang got any attention for this), promotion of native ethnic names over Arabic names (Emmomali Rahmon tried to ban ALL Arabic names for new babies to force Tajiks to use Tajik names. And yes, that would have included bans on the name "Muhammed"). Frankly it seems like China has been copying the Tajik model for cracking down on public (and also sometimes private) displays of religious devotion. And it's not just Tajikistan than China copies, albeit the prisons are very similar. Uzbekistan is notorious for forced sterilization after the 2nd or 3rd child. Turkmenistan has a very high incarceration rate much like Xinjiang. Burning down Uzbek neighborhoods and shaming Uzbeks for being Uzbek is standard operating procedure in Bishkek. Frankly I don't buy the whole "Emmomali Rahmon is a crypto-Zoroastrian trying to eliminate Islam and turn Tajiks into Zoroastrians" thing, but frankly, these things do beg the question: does the religion and ethnic group of the perpetrator of anti-religion and ethnic group policies matter as to wether something is genocide or not? Frankly if Xinjiang were independent but maintained the exact same policies I doubt anyone would call it genocide. This stuff is frankly just part and parcel for Central Asia, the stuff that happens in the other countries I listed just get way less attention and thereby is not called genocide because
1. It's Muslims vs Muslims not Chinese atheists vs Muslims and
2. Most people can spell China or at least find it on a map unlike the Central Asia countries that China has been copying religious and ethnic policies on.

And let's not forget, the Uyghurs have outlived the Soviet Union despite the predictions of their disappearance during the Sino-Soviet split. And to be fair, China hasn't gone full explicit-declaration-of-genocidal-intent unlike SOME PEOPLE in Central Asia and is OK with Uyghurs existing submissively, in contrast to entities in Central Asia that make it their goal to fully eliminate their minorities with nobody spared. I can't help but look at what the Uzbeks did to the Kartvelian Muslims which nobody here calls genocide even though they actually were very clear about their genocidal aspirations and were very sucessful in it (suvivors of the pogrom-genocide having to be airlifted out of the country; if there was no airlift the Kartvelian Muslims would have been annihilated for sure), and frankly we are kidding ourselves to say that Uyghurs somehow have it worse than they had it in Fergana.--PotterGarry (talk) 03:04, 7 July 2023 (UTC)