Shhh: How Microsoft Censors The Truth About The Genocide Of Uyghur Muslims In China

New York Post

(New York Post) Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, is “erasing” the suffering of the persecuted Uyghur minority from internet searches in China, The Post has learned.

Results from the tech giant’s Bing search engine show how its Chinese users are presented with different results from American users.


And in the most egregious example, Bing image results for the term “Uyghur” when entered in China display cheerful Uyghurs smiling and dancing — part of a larger propaganda effort to persuade the world Uyghurs lead idyllic lives under Chinese rule.

The Chinese Communist regime in Beijing has run a scorched earth campaign against the Uyghurs, a predominantly-Muslim ethnic minority officially number 12 million people living in Xinjiang province, in the far west of China, which has included imprisoning more than one million in concentration camps since 2017 — and has been officially declared a “genocide” by the State Department.

The U.N. has accused China of “serious human rights violations” but Beijing has denied committing abuses and has even suggested the claims are from “anti-China voices trying to smear China.”

A GIF which shows how Bing results in the US for the term "Ughyur" are different from those in China.
These are the contrasting results of searching on Bing for “Uighurs,” also spelled Uyghurs, in the U.S. and in China. Microsoft offers its search engine in China where the Communist Party regime is accused of “genoicide” against the minority ethnic group.
A Bing search results page for images of "Uighurs" showing people in blue.
Detailed results asking for images of “Uighurs” on Bing in the US show references to “suffering,” “oppression” and “mass detention.” Thos are words China objects to. And the images also show people wearing blue masks in protest, some of them with a hand in the colors of Communist China over their mouths — a reference to protests for Uyghur rights which have been widespread and use the sky blue flag of the Uighur people.
A screengrab of a Microsoft Bing set of results showing people largely in red and white apparently dancing or singing
These are results from a search for “Uyghurs” in Chinese on Microsoft Bing, performed using a Chinese VPN to mimic what users in China itself see. The browser used a Google Translate extension to turn results’ text into English. The images show Uyghurs dancing, singing and performing in ethnic costume. Human rights groups say that such images are part of Communist attempts to stifle the minority group by portraying them as happy to live under Beijing’s regime. None of the Chinese results show protests against human rights abuses or blue masked protesters.

Search results seen by The Post show Microsoft — founded by Bill Gates, who met Chinese leader Xi Jinping for one-on-one talks last June, and helmed by Satya Nadlla — apparently acting to help the Communist campaign by offering different results on its Bing search engine in China from those in the US.

Results from a search in the US for “Uighurs” show links to news stories which mention “oppression” and “suffering,” and images of Uyghurs wearing masks in the sky blue of the ethnic group’s flag in protest at the Chinese government.

But results using a Chinese VPN to mirror domestic Chinese results show images of Uyghur people singing and dancing.

Louisa Coan Greve, Director of Global Advocacy at Uyghur Human Rights Project told The Post that portraying Uyghur life as joyful and ignoring protests and evidence of human rights abuses was part of a systemic campaign by Beijing.

A group of men in blue overalls sitting in ranks in a barbed wire enclosure with the logo "Human Rights Watch" on the photo. They are guarded by men in uniform.
More than one million Uyghurs have been put in concentration camps since 2017. While the State Department has condemned the act as “genocide,” China denies it is committing any human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch
Xi Jinping inspecting a village in China's Xinjiang region amidst accusations of oppressing Muslim ethnic minorities - photo by Xinhua News Agency
China’s leader Xi Jinping visited the Xinjiang region, home of the Uyghur minority, in July 2022 but his regime is described by the State Department as executing “genocide” against the majority-Muslim ethnic group. AP

“Uyghur culture is being commodified as their poets and musicians are serving 10 or 20 years in concentration camps,” Greve said.

“The CCP playbook to get away with atrocities was first to hide, and then deny, and then justify the brutality as ‘re-education.’ Now Microsoft is helping with the next step.”

A Microsoft spokesperson said: “Search results may vary due to a variety of factors including the language used. When generating search results, we return content within the original language used in the search query.

“If the same search is performed in a different language, different results may occur.”

Microsoft has faced some backlash for its involvement with China. The company came under fire when reports surfaced in 2021 it failed to display images of Tiananmen Square and didn’t auto-populate search results of individuals the CCP dislikes on its Bing search engine.

People in a Microsoft store located in Hefei, Anhui Province, China, with Microsoft branded products visible.
Microsoft president Brad Smith has said he hopes Microsoft will “actively participate in the digital transformation of China’s economy.” The company employs more than 10,000 researchers and developers in China and has a retail arm. Future Publishing via Getty Images

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