“Everybody deserves to be treated equally! It doesn’t matter if you are black or yellow or brown or normal!”
Without any context, this statement seems a bit problematic, but with the proper context, it’s actually quite funny. As ironic as it is that a statement attempting to promote racial equality is simultaneously referring to all non-white races as abnormal, that’s the whole point. You see, this quote was taken from a fake public service announcement created by Cracked.com user, Greg Welsh, back in 2010 as their entry for a contest being held by the website.
The goal of the contest, in which Welsh’s entry placed 16th, was to create a fake PSA that was deliberately counterproductive to the message it was supposed to be spreading. Now, with that in mind, take a look at this next statement and see if you can spot the similarities.
“We are trying to re-educate most of [the Muslims], trying to turn them into normal persons [who] can go back to normal life.”
Pretty similar, right? Both statements appear to unintentionally marginalize groups of people by referring to them as something other than normal. The difference, however, is that the first statement is a joke made by a random person on the Internet, whereas the second statement is a genuine attempt by the Chinese ambassador to the United States to justify his nation’s imprisonment and indoctrination of its Muslim population.
This comes from a recent Reuters interview with the ambassador, Cui Tiankai, in which he responds to the criticism China has been getting for its treatment of its Muslim minorities, particularly the Uyghur natives of the Xinjiang region in the far west of the nation. This treatment includes horrific torture, indefinite imprisonment, and Orwellian re-education programs in which prisoners are forced to consume Communist propaganda and express their reverence of both the party and its “glorious” leader, Xi Jinping.
Tiankai further attempts to justify this treatment by referring to the Uyghur people, of which there are more than 12 million living in China, as terrorists and comparing his nation’s efforts to re-educate them to America’s efforts to eliminate the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria. Bafflingly, he even criticizes America’s use of drones and missiles to kill terrorists while also lauding China’s supposedly peaceful solution (torturous re-education prisons) to its alleged terrorist problem (millions of ethnic/religious minorities).
Keep in mind that, until quite recently, China was completely denying that these prisons existed at all before overwhelming evidence to the contrary forced them to admit their existence. Now the country is claiming that these prisons are merely vocational centers where people guilty of “minor offences” can be rehabilitated and given more employment opportunities, though this is almost certainly another lie meant to hide its human rights violations.
In response to these suspected violations, the Trump administration is reportedly considering placing sanctions on any companies and officials involved in China’s ethnic and religious cleansing, although there’s nothing concrete at the moment. Should the administration go through with these sanctions, however, Tiankai warns that China will respond in kind, saying “We’ll see what will happen. We will do everything in proportion.”