Tànjiù Xīnlíng of the San Francisco-based Zhōngguó Lǚxíng Zhě newspaper has obtained a meeting with the Chinese education minister Chen Baosheng.
The minister has strong credentials having formerly served as the party chief and vice-president of the China National School of Administration and vice-president of the Central Party School.
Xīnlíng starts the conversation, “Your Excellency, you too may have noted that many world media are reporting that you have set up internment facilities in the Xinjiang region, populated mostly by Uyghur.”
The minister is quick to retort, “This is pure lies… total misrepresentation of what we are doing to uplift the socially backward people of our far west territory.
“Surely, living in the United States you are aware of continuing education. And you know how popular it is, especially with people who want to ride up the social ladder. Education experts the world over recognize that general continuing education is intended for adult learners, especially those beyond traditional undergraduate college or university age. It is also involves workforce training, and formal personal enrichment courses.
“It is only those who are stuck in the Sinophobia bubble… the cage of anti-Chinese sentiment… are giving negative labels to these camps.
“You are an American citizen, so I refer to Donald Trump as your president. Despite the fact that he has been acting erratically for quite sometime but China does not stoop low… we are even ready to learn from our detractors… our enemies. I would refer you to see how Fox News host Laura Ingraham described the facilities provided by the Trump Administration at the border with Mexico for housing immigrant youth as ‘essentially summer camps’.
“I must admit that the Peoples Chinese government was inspired by President Trump’s example to set up these camps… however, our camps are not confined to summers but continue round the year.
“Our centers have resort-like facilities equipped with volleyball courts, ping-pong tables and film-screening rooms, nutritious meals are provided free of charge and each air-conditioned room comes with its own TV.
“Our first lady, Peng Liyuan visited one of the camps and expressed her appreciation for the food served there.
“In fact, most residents come there themselves. Although you are not a Uyghur, but we can arrange your stay at one of these camps.
“The government of President Xi Jinping is a strong believer in continuing education. In fact like President Trump, he is also a strong supporter of businesses, both in the country and the corporations that our Chinese people have acquired in the many countries, like the United States.
“You may be well-aware that our Hong Kong-based WH Group dominates U.S. pork exports to China through its American subsidiary, Smithfield. Last year, more than 300,000 tons of these U.S. pork products were shipped here.
“Simply in keeping with our policy to support Chinese corporations, we are popularizing the consumption of pork products in our country. Our researchers found that due to their reactionary habits of the people, Xinjiang, which has a population of more than 22 million, is not a good market for pork products, neither indigenous, nor imported. Our education experts have therefore included teaching of pork consumption in the courses being offered in our camps.”
Xīnlíng offers, “Your Excellency, but your government has imposed 25 percent duty on American pork products.”
Once again, the minister was quick to react, “Our President loves the people of Xinjiang. On his instructions, my ministry has included pork products in our department’s budget. The students get duty-free pork products.
“Surely in San Francisco, you must be enjoying Smithfield products. So do our dear people in Xinjiang. It is part of social uplift… now they can enjoy eating like any other Chinese… the 1.4 billion of them!”
The minister continued, “The Chinese Kweichow Moutai firm, which produces the eye-wateringly strong Moutai drink… the ‘drink of diplomacy’, which was used to toast President Richard Nixon on his landmark trip to China in 1972, is the world’s most valuable liquor firm.
“Once again, our president was concerned that due to the reactionary culture prevailing in Xinjiang, the 22 million people are not enjoying this heavenly drink, and of course this hinders the firm’s further growth.
“Similarly to our pork subsidy, the students in the camps are receiving Moutai for free. Moutai is considered the gift to give and the drink of choice to toast with on special occasions, especially big business deals… like you see the occasion of President Nixon’s visit.”
The minister, not letting Xīnlíng have a word, continued, “President Xi is also concerned about the limitations faced by our beauty and grooming products industries due to the reactionary societal habits in Xinjiang. Just an example, men’s grooming market sales in China increased in one year by 17% to about RMB 6.4 ($9.24) billion in 2012, up to RMB 10.5 ($15) billion in 2014. Our president is deeply concerned that this market needs to be enlarged… provide more jobs! One of the ways was to shake off the reactionary grooming habits of the 22 million in Xinjiang.
“You know some people, including in China, send their daughters to finishing schools in Switzerland. President Xi ordered the curriculum in the continuing education camps should include lessons in makeup and grooming for both men and women… of course, you don’t need many makeup products if you dress the way Uyghur women do… and the beards of Uyghur men didn’t need shaving supplies. Thanks to our president, the Uyghur are being taught to jettison all these reactionary habits.
“Mr. Tànjiù Xīnlíng now that I have introduced you to the work being done in our continuing education camps, you can convey to the American people… in fact the world that only reactionaries hate going back to school.”
The minister signals and a bottle of Moutai is presented to the reporter.