A “satirical” video is part of a long-running campaign launched by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)–which is also committing genocide against the people of East Turkestan today–to accuse the United States of human-rights violations in an effort to deflect criticism away from China's poor human-rights record. China's human-rights record is especially scathing against indigenous communities in regions in which the Han Chinese are not the majority, including East Turkestan, occupied Tibet and Inner Mongolia, where dictator-president Xi Jinping has outlawed teaching local languages and smashed religious and cultural practices.
The Chinese state media also has a growing portfolio of offensive portrayals of other cultures in images, with international outrage following the inclusion of Chinese performers dressed in “blackface” on two separate occasions during state-run Lunar New Year extravaganzas.
“The “satirical play” posted online on Wednesday did not include any obvious jokes in the interview featuring a People's Daily personality questioning a Native American man wearing a headdress on American nuclear weapon tests within the western section of United States in the 1950s. The man appears on screen and sighs, to which the People's Daily host, a woman, asks, “Hey, what's wrong? Why so sad?”
“American government had nuclear tests on our territory,” the “native” man replies. “This is genocide!”
The man continues to say, using the voice of a Shoshone tribal member, “My fellow tribesmen's health has been devastated. Many local people suffered developmental retardation, leukemia, and various types of cancers.”
“That's so detestable,” she says.
At some point in the “satirical play,” the slogan “The road to the founding of the United States was the genocide of the Indians” is displayed across the screen. The play also states that the “American media,” without defining it, refers to the Shoshone territory as “the most bombed land on Earth.”
“From Native American rights to the treatment of Black Americans, the U.S. is a pseudo defender of human rights that actually disregards human rights in practice,” a video caption reads.
The Shoshone is a huge tribe that includes diverse communities spread across Nevada and Idaho. One of the most well-known historical Shoshone historical persons was Sacagawea, the guide who assisted European explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark map out the territory acquired by the Louisiana Purchase.
It is reported that the People's Daily gave no indication that any members of the Shoshone community were involved in the making of the film.
Native American ethnic groups generally do not wear headdresses as casual attire. These items are often of great significance, whether as items of worship and ritual or worn during occasions of war or other significant occurrences. Past photos of the Shoshone people do not seem to depict them wearing headdresses casually, and neither do images of genuine Shoshone headdresses bear any obvious similarity to the headdress that the People's Daily actor wore in the film. Native American activists have long condemned the wearing of headdresses as fashion statements or as costumes on people who are not part of their own communities.
“Costumes that mock Native peoples, defame our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist,” IllumiNative, a group that declares its mission is to challenge “the negative narrative that surrounds” Native Americans and their culture, stated last year when it was confronted by the Real Housewives star wearing the headdress featured on the Bravo show. “‘Playing Indian' is a form of mascotry that is not just offensive, it is part of a long history of how Native peoples have been dehumanized.”
Native American organizations have also protested against the mass-marketing of headdresses to make money. In 2012, the Navajo Nation filed a lawsuit against retail store Urban Outfitters for a series of items advertised as “Navajo” garb with no connection to the indigenous population and no money coming to the people who are the purported creators of these designs.
There is a recurring theme that the Chinese Communist Party regularly uses regarding minorities of ethnic and racial origin throughout America: It exploits them as weapons to denounce America for not confirming China's widespread human-rights violations. This includes the aforementioned atrocities, such as the use of live organs, slavery, and genocide. In the past year, during the course of a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Politburo member Yang Jiechi spoke of the Black Lives Matter movement as proof of America’s failure to advocate for human rights.
“On human rights, we hope the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well,” Yang asserted. “The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as ‘Black Lives Matter.' It did not come up only recently.”
Blinken and Sullivan were not reported to have challenged the Chinese official over his assertions, even though there is no evidence to suggest that Chinese officials have made any efforts to improve their human-rights performance.
China's history of racism toward Africans is poor, as is its track record of discrimination against native peoples. In 2018, the Chinese CCTV state broadcaster aired a Lunar New Year program featuring Chinese wearing “blackface” pretending to be Africans who support China's Communist Party. The show, similar to the “satirical play” on Native Americans, included Chinese individuals speaking on behalf of whole African communities, thanking China for its supposed aid in the development process.
Instead of apologizing for the global repercussions and damage that its blackface skit had caused, CCTV once again showed Han Chinese people in black-face paint, pretending to be African for the 2021 edition of its Lunar New Year special.