Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is calling out The New York Times for purportedly covering up the role Chinese leader Xi Jinping played in the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. The moment comes following the release of bombshell documents that show more about how much Xi and leading members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were involved in orchestrating the ongoing atrocities.
“For unknown reasons, the New York Times appears to have intentionally withheld documents that directly linked top Chinese Communist Party officials, including General Secretary Xi Jinping, to the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region” Rubio wrote in a letter to New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. “In those now-released ‘Top Secret’ transcripts – documents that the New York Times has allegedly had in its possession since at least 2019 – Xi explicitly authorized changing local counterterrorism laws, rounding up and sentencing Uyghurs, the use of forced sterilization, and the use of slave labor in Xinjiang.”
“For a newspaper that spent four years suggesting the duly elected leader of the free world was a Russian agent hell-bent on destroying America, the protection of a brutal dictator ordering genocide is simply astounding … No words of apology will erase your paper’s complicity in the ongoing genocide, but at the very least, you should end the censorship of your reporters and allow the full details to come out impartially, without fear or favor,” he added.
The transcripts referenced by the Florida Republican are included in the more than 300 pages of documents from the Chinese government leaked to the Uyghur Tribunal. According to Senior Fellow in China Studies at Victims of Communism Adrian Zenz, the records provide evidence of Xi’s personal involvement in ordering the round up and detention of Uyghurs in internment camps throughout Xinjiang.
“The files show that Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and another former central government official directly and indirectly demanded policies that were then implemented, esp. after 2016,” Zenz said, while describing the policies to be those of “Internments,” “Coercive labor transfers,” “Centralized boarding education,” and “Birth control.”
Zenz also noted the leaked documents are a subset of the “Xinjiang papers” that were partially published by The New York Times in 2019. While the Times’ report details remarks by CCP Committee Secretary of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Chen Quanguo to “[R]ound up everyone who should be rounded up,” the paper omits mention of similar statements issued by Xi.
In his remarks on May 28, 2014, for instance, the Chinese leader is documented to have ordered “[T]hose who should be seized should be seized, and those who should be sentenced should be sentenced.” Such a statement does not appear anywhere in the Times’ 2019 article.
For example, the Times' 2019 report said that Chen Quanguo ordered officials to “round up everyone who should be rounded up.”
But it didn't say that Xi Jinping ordered them: "those who should be seized should be seized, and those who should be sentenced should be sentenced." /6
— Adrian Zenz (@adrianzenz) November 29, 2021
In response to the letter from Rubio, the Times has since denied accusations of a cover up, with Assistant Managing Editor for International Michael Slackman claiming the senator is “simply wrong on the facts.”
“The New York Times played a fundamental role in shaping the world’s understanding of China’s mass detention of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region,” he wrote in a statement. “Despite the ongoing challenges and restrictions, we have continued to cover China fearlessly. This type of journalism is core to our mission to seek the truth and help people understand the world.”