By Nauman Sadiq for VT Islamabad
In the heyday of the Cold War during the seventies and eighties, Western corporate media insidiously mounted a smear campaign against communists, maliciously branding them “infidels and heathens” having the nefarious agenda of forcibly converting pious Muslims to “Satanic atheism” in order to create a rift between devoutly religious and traditionalist Islamic World and the progressive communist bloc, despite being aware of the clear distinction that Marxism is simply an egalitarian economic theory having nothing, whatsoever, to do with religio-cultural affairs.
Then Western security establishments alongside their Middle Eastern client regimes nurtured Islamic fundamentalists as regional proxies, generously providing funds, training and weapons to Islamic jihadists while internationally legitimizing them as “freedom fighters” battling Soviet hegemony, and encouraged them to mount a holy jihad against “Godless communists” all the way from Afghanistan in the Central Asia to Chechnya in the North Caucasus and Bosnia and Kosovo in the Balkans.
Similarly, following the rise of China as a major economic power in the 21st century, the mainstream media has once again been tasked by the security establishments to demonize the global rival by blowing out of proportions the sheer fabrication of alleged “genocide and ethnic cleansing” of Uyghur Muslim’s in China’s western Xinjiang province in order to drive a wedge between the rising industrial power and the Islamic World.
Unlike several hapless Islamic countries in the Middle East, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, that went through US military occupation or intervention through regional proxies and where countless large-scale massacres have taken place creating millions of refugees, no such massacre or forced displacement of ethnic Uyghurs has ever been recorded in China’s Xinjiang, not even by the corporate media, the foremost purveyor of presumed Uyghur persecution in China.
After the deadly Urumqi riots in July 2009 between the Han and Uyghur ethnic groups in Xinjiang’s provincial capital in which scores of rioters on both sides were killed, China went through a series of violent terror attacks that rocked Xinjiang and the rest of China in the following years.
Dozens of civilians were hacked to death at a busy train station in China’s south. A Uyghur drove a car into crowds at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Forty-three died when militants threw bombs from two sports utility vehicles plowing through a busy market street in Urumqi. When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Xinjiang in 2014, bombs tore through an Urumqi train station, killing three and injuring 79.
After experiencing the spate of Islamist-inspired terror attacks, Chinese authorities initiated de-radicalization programs in Xinjiang in which Uyghurs were encouraged to participate, as in the Western countries where Muslim immigrants were kept under surveillance and suspects with history of violent crimes were asked to attend de-radicalization programs in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attack when anti-Muslim paranoia was at the peak.
Most of the aforementioned terror attacks in China were claimed by East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a formidable transnational terrorist organization of Uyghurs that has taken part in Islamist insurgencies as far away as Afghanistan and Syria. The militant group has been declared a proscribed terrorist outfit by China, the United Nations and many regional countries, though the Trump administration removed its terrorist designation in 2020.
Much like the Uyghur diaspora in the Western countries being patronized by the security agencies and the corporate media to malign a global rival, there is another clandestine organization of Chinese dissidents based in the US that until the November 2020 presidential election enjoyed the protection of the US security establishment and was used as a trump card to mount psychological warfare against the Chinese government.
Falun Gong was founded by its leader Li Hongzhi in China in the early 1990s. Today, Falun Gong maintains an informal headquarters, Dragon Springs, a 400-acre compound in upstate New York, located near the current residence of Li Hongzhi. Falun Gong’s performance arts extension, Shen Yun, and two closely connected schools, Fei Tian College and Fei Tian Academy of the Arts, also operate in and around Dragon Springs.
Since 1998, Li Hongzhi has settled as a permanent resident in the United States and maintains high-level contacts not only in the governments of the US and China but also enjoys immense political clout among Chinese diaspora across the world, thanks to the deep pockets of several billionaire Chinese oligarchs that Falun Gong boasts in its ranks, who generously contribute to finance the clandestine organization’s anti-China propaganda operations.
Forget about criticizing the secretive society, up until the elections it wasn’t even permitted to mention the name of Falun Gong on mainstream news outlets. It was simply described as “a religious and spiritual movement” that teaches “meditation techniques” to its members in all the information available in the public domain about the objectives and activities of the religio-political cult.
But in an explosive article  for the New York Times in October 2020 to dispel a flurry of reports about the “Chinagate scandal” implicating the Biden campaign in the run-up to the US presidential election, Kevin Roose blew the lid off on the subversive organization and its media outlet The Epoch Times, widely followed by Trump supporters, and alleged:
“For years, The Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers.
“The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation.
“First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago and has persecuted its members ever since. Its relatively staid coverage of U.S. politics became more partisan, with more articles explicitly supporting Mr. Trump and criticizing his opponents.
“As the 2016 election neared, reporters noticed that the paper’s political coverage took on a more partisan tone. ‘They seemed to have this almost messianic way of viewing Trump as the anti-communist leader who would bring about the end of the Chinese Communist Party,’ Steve Klett, who covered the 2016 campaign for the paper, said.
“Where the paper’s money comes from is something of a mystery. Former employees said they had been told that The Epoch Times was financed by a combination of subscriptions, ads and donations from wealthy Falun Gong practitioners.
“Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of the White House, is among those who have noticed The Epoch Times’s deep pockets. Last year, he produced a documentary about China with NTD. When he talked with the outlet about other projects, he said, money never seemed to be an issue. ‘I’d give them a number,’ Mr. Bannon said. ‘And they’d come back and say, We’re good for that number.’”
The Times report wasn’t the first instance of the mainstream media implicating Chinese dissidents in the electoral politics of the US. In a tit-for-tat response to the pro-Trump New York Post’s bombshell report exposing Hunter Biden’s murky financial dealings with Ukrainian and Chinese oligarchs in the run-up to the US presidential elections, the Daily Beast came up with a scoop  in October 2020 that the hard disks on which Hunter’s emails were found were provided to Rudy Giuliani by a Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui on behalf of dissident members of the Chinese Communist Party.
According to the report: “Weeks before the New York Post began publishing what it claimed were the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, a Sept. 25 segment on a YouTube channel run by a Chinese dissident streamer, who is linked to billionaire and Steve Bannon-backer Guo Wengui, broadcast a bizarre conspiracy theory.
“According to the streamer, Chinese politburo officials had ‘sent three hard disks of evidence’ to the Justice Department and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi containing damaging information about Joe Biden as well as the origins of the coronavirus in a bid to undermine the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping …
“While Guo’s ties to Steve Bannon have long been known—Bannon was arrested for defrauding donors in August on a 152-foot-long yacht reportedly owned by Guo—the billionaire appears to have also joined forces with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in the former New York mayor’s relentless anti-Biden dirt-digging crusade.
“Guo Wengui has been in the Trumpworld orbit pretty much from the beginning, paying the $200,000 initiation fee to become a member of the president’s Florida golf resort Mar-a-Lago, which Trump has dubbed the ‘Southern White House.’ But Guo’s membership soon became a headache for the administration in the run-up to Trump’s first summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017, due to Guo’s fugitive status in China.
“At one point, Trump had reportedly considered deporting Guo after the Chinese government called for his extradition in a letter delivered to Trump by casino mogul Steve Wynn in 2017. After presenting the letter during a policy meeting, the president reportedly said, ‘We need to get this criminal out of the country,’ only for aides to remind him that Guo was a Mar-a-Lago member, eventually talking him out of the decision and ensuring the deportation was scuttled …
“Guo has framed himself as a stalwart critic of the CCP and China’s corrupt elite, but his efforts have divided China’s exile community. Guo has enthusiastically attacked other critics of Beijing as jealous poseurs, including most recently a Texas Christian pastor and Tiananmen protester named Bob Fu—who was imprisoned in China for his faith before escaping to the U.S.—whom Guo accuses of being a secret agent for the CCP. Fu has lobbed the same charge back at Guo and his followers.”
Although the Daily Beast article didn’t even once mention the name of the clandestine organization Falun Gong, Guo Wengui is known to be a trusted associate of Li Hongzhi, the founder and veritable prophet of the religio-political cult presumed to be having “supernatural powers” by brainwashed followers.
Regardless, it’s noteworthy that it wasn’t just financial inducements offered by billionaire Chinese oligarchs that lured the Trump campaign into the Falun Gong orbit, but also the political mileage that could be obtained by initiating a trade war against China.
In order to understand the real and perceived grievances of Donald Trump’s “alt-right” electoral base, it would be pertinent to point out that during the last decade, all the manufacturing has outsourced to China. Although the bankers and executives of multinational corporations are the beneficiaries of outsourcing, the middle and working classes that constituted Trump’s electoral base are finding it hard to make ends meet.
Besides the Trump supporters in the United States, the far-right populist leaders in Europe are also exploiting popular resentment against market fundamentalism. The Brexiteers in the United Kingdom, the Yellow Vest protesters in France and the far-right movements across Europe are manifestations of a paradigm shift in the global economic order in which nationalist and protectionist slogans have replaced the free trade and globalization mantra of the nineties.
Trump withdrawing the United States from multilateral treaties, restructuring trade agreements, bringing investments and employments back to the US and initiating a trade war against China were some of the salient features of the “alt-right” economic reforms agenda that appealed to the working class constituency he represented, and won over 74 million popular votes, likely the largest number of votes won in the US history by a losing presidential candidate.
 How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine:
 Chinese Billionaire’s Network Hyped Hunter Biden Dirt Weeks Before Rudy:
About the author:
Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based geopolitical and national security analyst focused on geo-strategic affairs and hybrid warfare in the Af-Pak and the Middle East regions. His domains of expertise include neocolonialism, military industrial complex and petro-imperialism. He is a regular contributor of meticulously researched and credibly sourced investigative reports to alternative news media.