Cyborg Rats and Genocide: Daily Telegraph plumbs new depths of sinophobia

Nov 6, 2023
AI technology

It’s not a good start to any media article when the sub headline contains an editorial error, but this headline which reads “Chinese minister invited to AI summit helped create cyborg rats: Wu Zhaohui has also been decribed [sic] as man ‘whose fingerprints are all over the Uyghur genocide” indicates that the once world-renowned Daily Telegraph has entered an era of sensationalism and amateurism.

Genocide and cyborg rats in one headline probably weren’t on anyone’s bingo card for the week but clearly, the two things are designed to instill fear in the readers and, if we really want to know more about it, we should be able to read the article for clarification. But we can’t, there isn’t any.

Image: Supplied

Unbelievably, the topic of the article is an AI conference designed to help prevent the increase of AI generated child sexual images on the internet. But, because a man from China has been invited, his connections to a scary scientific experiment, a tenuous link to unproven allegations and, if we’re to be honest here, a completely debunked genocide are brought into play.

While the sub-headline says the word “genocide”, the article softens that to “Uyghur abuses in Xinjiang”. Presumably because their lawyers would have told them to do so, they know there has been no genocide, quite the opposite in fact, the number of Uyghurs in Xinjiang today is far greater than before and they’re living longer and richer lives but that’s a different story which has been well addressed many times before.

The headline mistakenly entitles Vice-minister Wu Zhaohui as a Minister once and thereafter calls him Mr., saying he has been “described (sic) as the man ‘whose fingerprints are all over the Uyghur Genocide’” the person who described him thus becomes clear towards the end of the article, British Hong Kong activist Luke De Pulford, the founder of an organisation which the Telegraph very politely but also erroneously calls the “Inter-Parliamentary Alliance”. Leaving out the most important words its correct name is the Inter- Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC).

This is a group of mostly right-wing but 100% anti-China legislators funded by more anti-China bodies such as: the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), often referred to as a CIA cutout; George Soros’ Open Society, which has long been critical of China, in particular, Xi Jinping; and the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, founded with, believe it or not, the assistance of NED. As is often said when you want to know what’s really going on, follow the money.

Image: Supplied

De Pulford, is the only person describing Vice-minister Wu as implicit in the “Uyghur genocide” and his basis for the claim is completely mind-boggling.

As head of a university in Zhejiang Province in 2016 (at least one year before the concoction of Xinjiang persecution stories), Vice-minister Wu agreed to a “Comprehensive Strategic Framework involving talent exchanges with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps” (XPCC). If that sounds terrible and genocidal, let’s take a closer look at what it actually means. The aim of the Framework was, and this is a direct quote from the Telegraph’s own article:

To give “full play to the advantages of Zhejiang University in education, medical care, talent, scientific research, etc., to promote the transformation and upgrading of industrial structure of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, to enhance the ability and level of the public service on social cause, and to promote the development of Zhejiang University”.

Vice-minister Wu apparently sought to exchange talents to improve and enhance individuals and societal structures with Xinjiang. This should seem to most observers to be the absolute opposite of any form of oppression. Yet, from this, De Pulford claims his “fingerprints are all over the Uyghur genocide”.

The gist of the allegations of genocide stem back to the fact that the XPCC, who Vice-minister Wu worked with, are sanctioned by the US State Department for their part in this imaginary genocide but clearly, neither the US State Department, IPAC, nor De Pulford have read Oxford University’s 2018 report on XPCC where much talk of the positive work is made, but no mention whatsoever of any participation in Uyghur affairs, in fact, quite the opposite, the XPCC works independently and remotely from the local populations and solely for the benefit of the region. Academic proof, if needed, that claims of their involvement in any kind of persecution are pure fantasy.

What could, and should, have been an interesting article about how our social media giants are proposing to control a serious issue has been sidelined because, what they’d like us to think of as an “oriental Frankenstein” who might have had a hand in murdering millions of people, is coming to town!

Getting back to the story of cyborg rats, and here again, the Telegraph has got the story wrong; it wasn’t hard to find a link to the Work that Professor Wu has been doing. The online Discover Magazine has an interesting write up on this work.

Brain Brain interfaces are nothing new in science, neither are Brain Machine interfaces. If we think about how an amputee controls movement in their prosthetic arm or leg, we can get an understanding of the concept. Professor Wu, the Telegraph tells us, “conceived and designed the experiments” in Zhejiang University, where some rats with a similar technology, connected through Bluetooth to humans had their directions controlled. The experiment was a great success with some rats performing flawlessly. The applications for this kind of experiment aren’t hard to understand. China was devastated by an earthquake in 2008 where 69,000 people lost their lives and search and rescue times could have been dramatically increased by the ability to send rats into very small gaps so efforts to rescue could be focused where it’s known lives could be saved.

The Telegraph didn’t link its sources but suggested that the rats were hooked up to computers rather than humans, perhaps that was an earlier, later, or different experiment?

Putting aside the references to an imaginary genocide and the incorrect information about the experiments Minister Wu had not even conducted, the rest of the article about the very serious matter of child pornography was, in fact, an interesting read.

The highlights being that PM Sunak admitted that a summit on AI wouldn’t be a summit without China. Meta, didn’t bother to turn up and TikTok, the source of much concern about China’s influence on young people, signed a pledge to root-out child sex abuse images. What a pity such important information played second fiddle.

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