Despite having visited more than 50 Chinese Cities, Serik Korzhumbayev says he doesn’t see himself as an old China hand. Korzhumbayev’s first encounter with China was in 2001 when he was invited to visit Beijing, Urumqi in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Lanzhou in Gansu Province. From then on, he began visiting China several times each year.
“I love Beijing and have witnessed its rapid development. There have been new skyscrapers every time I visit,” Korzhumbayev, who is editor in chief of Kazakh business newspaper Delovoy Kazakhstan, told Beijing Review. “I also enjoy the modernity of Shanghai and the natural environment of Sichuan province.”
Book about Xinjiang
Korzhumbayev has been to Xinjiang many times and knows the region intimately. During a trip in 2019, he and several journalists from Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, saw examples of development and visited an exhibition on Xinjiang’s fight against terrorism.
After the journey, he wrote a long report recording his findings. “Using this kind of media activity to show the real Xinjiang to the world is a good way to respond to Western lies,” he said.
Korzhumbayev is leading a project to translate a book titled Lies and Truth on Xinjiang from Chinese to Kazakh. It is a compilation of interviews, investigative reports and commentaries by reporters and commentators working for the Chinese newspaper Global Times, resulting from their visits to the region, which is located in northwest China.
According to an introduction to the book on the Amazon website, the current situation in Xinjiang holds up a mirror to the Western media’s claims of objectivity and fairness, and the book clarifies and magnifies this mirror image.
“Many of my colleagues have read the book and it has received very positive feedback. These kinds of books should be introduced not only in Kazakhstan, but also elsewhere,” Korzhumbayev said.
The Kazakh edition of the book will be sold in bookstores and be sent to universities and research institutes throughout Kazakhstan. Korzhumbayev believes these efforts will ensure that young people have the opportunity to read it, and that it can be used for research and study purposes.
“There is a lot of fake news published on the Internet, including on Kazakhstan’s websites, that can negatively impact young people’s understanding of Xinjiang,” he said. “This book, which is based on first-hand sources and materials, can help Kazakh youths distinguish the truth from the bias and lies in the Western media.”
“Nearly every day, we see Western media outlets and other organizations publishing misinformation about China,” Korzhumbayev said.
In March, the Switzerland-based Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) made an accusation of forced labor in Xinjiang and called for a boycott of the region’s cotton products. Korzhumbayev said some Western politicians and organizations claimed that the rights of people in Xinjiang were not properly protected. These allegations are unfounded and the real purpose of this boycott is to discredit China and to incite anti-China forces in the West to sanction, restrict and suppress the cotton industry in Xinjiang or even China’s entire economy.
“Nowadays, China’s GDP is the second largest in the world and will soon become the largest,” he said. “The United States and some other Western countries are eager to disrupt China’s economic growth. In the end, the companies involved in boycotting Xinjiang’s cotton will regret losing the large Chinese market, which will impact their own development.”
The United States and other Western countries often employ double standard in their geopolitical policies and attempt to demonize other countries, including China and Kazakhstan. On March 24, China issued The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020.
According to the report, ethnic minority groups have suffered “systematic racial discrimination” in the U.S. and the continuous social unrest threatened public security. It also drew attention to the growing polarization between the rich and the poor that aggravated social inequality in America.
Korzhumbayev said the report reveals the United States’ hypocrisy and double standard. “Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of color and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds received unequal access to healthcare resources.”
According to him, many Western media outlets have also been biased in their reporting on events that have taken place in Hong Kong in recent years.
In 2019 anti-China, destabilizing forces and radical locals in Hong Kong organized riots with overt or covert support from a number of Western countries. “As a political scientist and reporter, I understand who incited the illegal activities and what their purpose was,” Korzhumbayev said. “In Western media news reports at the time, we found a great deal of baseless information on the situation in Hong Kong.”
Korzhumbayev pointed out that a clear evidence of double standard was that during the U.S. presidential election, the authorities used a variety of weapons and tactics to suppress pro-Trump demonstrations, none of which were openly scrutinized by Western media.
The Real China
China declared an end to absolute poverty in the country in 2020 and is poised to become a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year. “As an ethnically and culturally diverse country, China devotes a lot of resources to the development of people from ethnic minorities, not only focusing on improving their lives, but also supporting their businesses. All this demonstrates that China is trying to create a better living environment for its people,” Korzhumbayev said.
Additionally, China is ready to share opportunities for common development with other countries. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt for the first time during his visit to Kazakhstan.
It later became part of the Belt & Road Initiative, which also comprises the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Kazakhstan supports the initiative and is aligning its Bright Road new economic policy with it.
China’s partnership with Kazakhstan has led to over 50 joint projects. Delovoy Kazakhstan has reached an agreement with China’s Xinhua News Agency to build a platform for sharing information on economic cooperation between countries participating in Belt & Road Cooperation, according to Korzhumbayev.
“We have seen China’s great contribution in creating a win-win platform for all and in realizing a community with a shared future for humanity,” he added. “The leadership of the Communist Party of China, with its people-centered philosophy of governance, plays an important role in these processes.”
China has continued to develop rapidly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, including making strong progress in the development of space technology such as the collection of lunar samples by the Chang’e 5 probe. Additionally, Korzhumbayev believes the 5G technology and the digital currency will both serve as new growth engines for China.
“Western countries like to impose their development models on others, but China has proved the success of its own development path and provided a viable alternative for developing nations,” he said. “China’s successful response to COVID-19 is a good example. China’s path is worth studying.”
“I am looking forward to visiting China again after the pandemic,” Korzhumbayev added. “Especially, during the upcoming 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”