Wallace: Uighur claims exaggerated, China doing “great job”

Mick Wallace has told Newstalk that reports of one million Uighurs being detained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are “grossly exaggerated”.

The Ireland South MEP doubled-down on claims that the CCP are doing a “great job serving the interest of its people”, insisting there is a “frightening” amount of “anti-Chinese rhetoric” in media outlets.

The Wexford politician denied that criticism of the CCP is punished in China, and said he would criticise certain aspects of the government if he was living there or in Russia.

“I don’t agree with an awful lot of the anti-Chinese rhetoric that is taking place at the moment and it is frightening that some Irish newspapers are going down that line as well,” he said.

“If you were in the European Parliament for the last 12 months the anti-Chinese rhetoric that is taking place here is absolutely frightening.”

Wallace informed listeners that China is “our biggest trading partner” and that he wanted “engagement with China, not confrontation.”

“From 1990 to 2015, according to the UN, the Chinese Government lifted 750 million people out of poverty.

“There was a UN report published recently and it showed that in the rest of the world things are going backwards and, in spite of goals set in 2015, things have actually disimproved in many parts of the world and inequality is rising because of neoliberal policies being implemented.

“Whereas the Chinese, because they have state-led development, has managed to do this.”

Wallace said a “right-wing fascist” from Europe had “grossly exaggerated” the number of Uighurs in detention camps, passing on figures to “the Americans”.

“I have actually asked the Chinese to go to XinJiang myself and see for myself what is going on there because, given how reporting is done these days, so much of it is inaccurate, I want to go and see for myself what is going on,” he said.

“The figures the Americans initially got on the number of people detained in the region were brought up by one guy who is totally anti-Chinese. He is a right-wing fascist from Europe.”

Asked if any Uighur people are actually being detained and indoctrinated in mass labour camps, Wallace said “I don’t know”.

“I actually think the Chinese authorities are handling the situation very poorly,” he explained.

“They’re having a problem with what they regard as large elements of terrorist activity among the Uighur population and I think the manner in which they’re handling it is poor…but I want to go see it myself.”

Wallace appeared to play down the testimony of one Uighur exile who claimed the Chinese authorities will terrorise them “anywhere”, telling Newstalk that “there’s people going to give out from any country about their government.”

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are among scores of NGOs who have accused China of detaining some one million Uighurs in mass labour camps over the past few years, forcibly sterilising women and abusing detainees.

Wallace also criticised calling the Chinese government “the Chinese Communist Party”, claiming “communism” was now a “derogatory term” used by the mainstream media.

Wallace, who denied the CCP had covered up the initial outbreak of Covid-19 or that it leaked from a lab, did condemn the detention of journalists in the country.

The interview follows a speech on China’s military build-up by Dublin MEP Clare Daly, in which she contrasted the country’s spending on its army with that of the EU and USA.

 

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