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A quick note on the RFA mass rape story

How reliable is the the Radio Free Asia report about the “mass rape” of Uyghur women by Han Chinese men? It is true that RFA was originally created to promote US anti-communist propaganda; however, it has also played an important role in documenting what is happening in Xinjiang, often at tremendous risk to the families of the station’s Uyghur language staff, many of whom have been detained in order to scare the reporters into silence. This includes the families of Shohret Hoshur, Gulchehra Hoja, as well as the author of the report, Rushan Abbas. The New York Times has referred to RFA as “few reliable sources of information” about Xinjiang.

But as with many such questions posed by online tankies, it is really a distraction. That rape was happening was already clear from other, well placed reporting that was available to anyone paying attention. First of all, we know Uyghur families are forced to accept Han “big sisters” and “big brothers” into their homes. We know the “big brothers” sometimes come to live with the faimly when the fathers are in the camps, as in this video.

Secondly, we know that the increase in marriages between Uyghur women and Han men that is the result of institutionalized “pressures” if not outright “coercion” (for those who want to nitpick). There are also credible stories of rapes in the “reeducation camps.”

So should we trust the RFA report about “mass rape”? I don’t know, but the fact that the story is so believable based on what we already know should be worrying us even more.