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French state-owned international television supports Mr. Fangbin in Wuhan

February 16th, 2020 3 comments

Yesterday 15/2-20 «France 24» news network, showed a video about Mr. Fangbin in Wuhan, who was interrogated by the police, after he had entered hospital areas and filmed patients and alleged body bags, and also posted his videos on Chinese social media platforms. (The videos were also posted by Jennifer Zeng @jenniferatntd at Twitter).
The videos are badly made and actually it’s just a stupid story, but France 24 has made it into a human rights issue, and also talks about all the support Mr. Fangbin has got on the internet. See his videos and France 24’s article at https://observers.france24.com/en/20200207-china-wuhan-coronavirus-Fangbin-shopkeeper-censorship-videos

One of France 24’s sources is an US-based group called «Chinese Human Rights Defender». And what sort of group is that? «Radio Free Asia» (Washington, D.C.) wrote in 2018 the following about their work: «Advocacy group China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and a partner NGO, Equal Rights Initiative, said Friday that in the southern XUAR alone some 660,000 rural residents of Uyghur ethnicity may have been detained in the camps, while another up to 1.3 million may have been forced to attend mandatory day or evening re-education sessions in their villages or town centers.»
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/millions-08032018142025.html
From this one can see that «Radio Free Asia» surprisingly is using a tiny and almost unknown organization, called Chinese Human Rights Defenders, as a reliable source on Xinjiang.

The staff at Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) are «International Director» Renee Xia (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012 (+1 is USA and 863 is Florida area code), and Frances Eve (English), +1 661 240 9177 (which is in California; Twitter: FrancesEveCHRD). At their website no street address is given, but a post-box: PO Box 1905. Washington, DC 20013 USA.

One may wonder who takes care of their postbox, since none of the two lives in Washington DC? Ajit Singh and Ben Norton at Grayzone has checked the US tax forms of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, and found rather shockingly that: «On its tax forms, CHRD lists its address as the Washington, DC office of Human Rights Watch.» https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/08/23/un-did-not-report-china-internment-camps-uighur-muslims/amp/

At the web-site of Chinese Human Rights Defenders they write about their mission: «CHRD operates a small emergency grants program which provides legal aid and emergency assistance to victims of human rights abuses.» https://www.nchrd.org/about-chinese-human-rights-defenders

Since such a small organization also is able to «empower grassroots activism in China», as they write, they need funding, and a list at Hidden Harmonies, https://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2018/09/03/the-national-endowment-for-democracy-and-china/ shows that in 2017 Chinese Human Rights Defenders probably got $672,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)! (The donations at NED’s web-site are called «Assistance for Human Rights Defenders: $272,000, «Capacity Building for Human Rights Defenders: $300,000», «Defending and Assisting Rights Defenders: $60,000», and «Humanitarian Assistance for Human Rights Defenders: $40,000»)

$672,000 was in 2017 around 4,5 million yuan – a huge sum in China, and CHRD has likely used parts of these money to fund opposition activists and anti-government projects inside China.

Sadly state-owned «France 24» television – with millions of viewers, is willing – without any reservation, to use this obvious anti-China group as a reliable source about what’s going on in Wuhan. That is journalism at a low level.

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