Egg on Their Face - Two Anti-China Claims The Wall Street Journal Made Last Week Were Fake

On May 26 Amnesty International published one of its usual aggressive accusations against a government the U.S. is hostile to.

Hong Kong: Government must reveal whereabouts of Uyghur student detained at airport (archived)

Hong Kong authorities must reveal the whereabouts and fate of a Uyghur student who has been missing since he arrived in the city from South Korea earlier this month, amid fears he has been unlawfully extradited to mainland China without due process and is at risk of arbitrary detention and torture, Amnesty International said today.

Abuduwaili Abudureheman has not been heard from since he sent a text message to a friend on 10 May. In the message, Abudureheman said he was being interrogated by Chinese police after arriving at Hong Kong airport.

“The unknown fate of Abuduwaili Abudureheman is deeply worrying, given the background of crimes against humanity committed against Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang, and its ongoing pursuit of Uyghurs who have travelled overseas,” said Alkan Akad, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

The accusations seem to be based on claims made by a single anonymous source:

On 10 May 2023, Abuduwaili travelled to Hong Kong to visit a friend, but he has been missing since his text message that evening, saying that he was being questioned at the airport by Chinese police. The friend has made Abuduwaili’s disappearance public after becoming increasingly concerned for his safety.

Amnesty International understands that Abuduwaili was on a Chinese government “watch list” of Uyghurs and other Muslims from the Xinjiang region, based on the fact that he had a history of overseas travel. Amnesty International has documented numerous instances of the Chinese government targeting Uyghurs both at home and abroad with arbitrary incommunicado detention, lengthy imprisonment and torture purely based on the fact that they had travelled outside of China.

In 2021 Amnesty closed its Hong Kong office. One wonders then how it communicated with the relevant “friend”?

The Wall Street Journal and others published China bashing pieces based solely on Amnesty’s claims.

The authorities Hong Kong were pretty pissed about the allegations as the man is question had never been there:

Hong Kong on Saturday criticized rights group Amnesty International’s accusation that a Uyghur student disappeared after being interrogated at the airport, and said that government records showed that he had not entered or been refused entry to the city.

The Korean Yonhap news agency made efforts to actually contact the man. It tuned out that he is still in Korea and has no plans to go anywhere else (machine translation):

(New York = Yonhap News) Correspondent Koh Il-hwan = Abduwali Abu Dureheman (38), an international student from Xinjiang, China, who Amnesty International said was missing in Hong Kong, is staying in Korea, his advisor said.

In a phone call with Yonhap News on the 29th, Jo Wook-yeon, head of the physical education department at Kookmin University, who is Abu Durehman’s advisor, said, “Amnesty’s announcement is not true.”

Dean Cho said, “Abu Dureheman has not departed from Hong Kong, and is staying in Korea safely.”

Dean Cho repeatedly confirmed that he had been in contact with Abu Durehman on a daily basis for guidance for his doctoral degree, and that “it is true that he is in Korea.”

“I don’t know why Amnesty announced that Abu Dureheman in South Korea was missing in Hong Kong,” he said.

We don’t know either but it aptly shows what standards Amnesty International and other such propaganda outlets have when making their sensational claims. None. A claim by one person based on a text message that may not even exist and made for whatever reason is trumpeted into the world even before any effort is made to verify it.

And why do the Wall Street Journal and others, who should have higher standards, publish Amnesty’s accusation without ever fact checking them?

That is a question that one that can be reliably answered. The U.S. is hostile to China. Therefore U.S. mainstream media must bash China whenever they can.

Here is a case from another recent WSJ attempt to do just that:

On the day that Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui visited Moscow on the last leg of his European trip, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran an article that completely contradicted the facts and even fabricated stories. Such behavior that attempted to impose its own views and practices on others is in fact obstructing the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Facts have proven that blindly fueling the fire can only escalate the conflict and cause more harm to people.

The article began by stating that the Chinese envoy carried a clear message that “US allies in Europe should assert their autonomy and urge an immediate cease-fire, leaving Russia in possession of the parts of its smaller neighbor that it now occupies,” accusing China of trying to split the West.

However, what the WSJ received was a denial from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. On May 27, Kuleba said in a video message that after the article appeared, he immediately contacted his colleagues in the European capitals visited by Li. None of them confirmed that negotiations about what the WSJ suggested were held.

In response to this, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning stated on Monday that she noted that the Foreign Minister of Ukraine publicly said that he contacted other parties and no country said Li made the remarks reported by the WSJ.

That is some egg in the face of the WSJ editors. China bashing in the opinion sections is fine. But fake news, twice in one week, to make some editorial point, is not something that readers are willing to pay for.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.