Maxime Vivas (Vivas) is a French writer and journalist, who wrote a book titled Ouïghours, pour en finir avec les fake news (Uygurs, to put an end to the fake news) based on his two visits to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in 2016 and 2018.
Recently, his new book Les Divagations des Antichinois en France (The ramblings of anti-China forces in France) has been published in which he wrote about how he was under attack and threats for insisting on speaking the truth.
The Global Times (GT) reporter Liu Xin interviewed the French writer on his views on the West's rumor-mongering campaign against the Xinjiang region and their anti-China campaign as a whole.
GT: You recently published a new book titled Les Divagations des Antichinois en France (The ramblings of anti-China forces in France). Could you introduce the background of publishing the book?
Vivas: In July 2021, my friend Jean-Pierre Page and I published a collective book, in which we brought together 17 prestigious intellectuals from five continents. The book is called La Chine sans oeillères (China without blinders). It shows that China was not alone and it had friends everywhere who are capable of denouncing the widespread lies in media.
Shortly after, a huge report of 654 pages, titled Les opérations d'influences chinoises, un moment machiavelien (Chinese influence operations, a Machiavellian moment) was made by the Strategic Research Institute of the Military School (IRSEM), whose sole target was China.
In addition to the many repetitions, errors, even lies, we find serious contradictions throughout the pages. And then, I was intrigued by the presence of an "associate researcher" in the IRSEM - a senior officer of the US army. Moreover, one of the writers of the IRSEM report had worked for NATO until 2019.
With my friends Jean-Pierre Page and Aymeric Monville, we then decided to write a book in response to this report and we titled it The ramblings of the Anti-China forces in France.
GT: In the book, you mentioned the IRSEM report referred your name for 54 times and attacked you. You also unveiled the attacks and lies that some Western media made against you. What kind of pressure have you gone through in recent years? Why do you keep on speaking truth?
Vivas: We had indeed noticed that in its October 2021 French version, this IRSEM report mentioned my name for 54 times (61 times in its English version) and displayed eight photos of me. This seems to say, "Wanted dead or live," and it is a little dangerous at a time when passions lead to violence against me.
A photo in which I can be seen demonstrating in Venezuela to support Hugo Chavez was included in the report and every word the IRSEM "researchers" chose to wrote besides seems to alert the Pentagon that I am with the "red" shirts. The image is taken from the "Mélenchon."
It must be remembered that the US wanted the fall of the Bolivarian president and they were working for it. Suddenly, the IRSEM reported to NATO and the Pentagon about the friendly behavior of a Frenchman toward a country that Barak Obama had designated as a threat to the national security of the US.
The researchers had investigated me going back to the 1960s. They had found things insignificant in the eyes of a French reader: I had been a union activist, I was the host of a cultural program in a Toulouse radio, administrator of an information site, Le Grands Soir, Jean-Luc Mélenchon had written prefaces for two of my books.
Nothing that defies the law or makes me an "extremist." But the report was published simultaneously in French and in English and for a NATO or Pentagon reader, the proof was made through me that diabolical China had diabolical support in France.
Because for the Americans, my portrait in the IRSEM report is not a peaceful, law-abiding militant, but of an enemy. This report is an act of allegiance to the military forces of the US.
There have been physical threats, threats of lawsuits and slander campaigns toward me. There was also the provisional arrest and the appearance in court of my youngest son - a plot probably used as a means of pressure against me.
GT: Like you said, in Western countries and the US, some politicians and forces are keen on making various attacks against China. For example, former US secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Australian think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). How do you think about them?
Vivas: Here is what Pompeo said in front of students at Texas A&M University on April 15, 2019 when discussing his experience as director of the CIA - "We lied, we cheated, we stole." And he added "It was as if we had been fully trained for this."
What's remarkable is that he said it while laughing, like someone who pranks a friend. As for his student audiences, they laughed too.
There wasn't a single person in that hall of A&M that day who wasn't immoral. Pompeo's lecture was filmed and the video was broadcast on the internet all over the world, as if the whole world could admire Pompeo and the CIA for what he said.
On April 15, 2019, at Texas A&M University, laughing students overheard a laughing former CIA director talking about how dishonest he had been. On April 15, 2019, at this university, there were samples of the US' yesterday, today and tomorrow - they together rejoiced in the lies and the lies inevitably had consequences on the lives of brave people living in countries that the US declares as "enemy countries."
The ASPI is a think tank that I unmasked in my book "Uygurs, to put an end to fake news." The name of ASPI appears 60 times in the IRSEM report. It is a source which they often cite without looking for what it is - unforgivable fault for researchers.
In February 2020, an Australian senator accused ASPI of receiving nearly $450,000 from the US State Department. ASPI protested that "The true figure is less than half that amount."
ASPI is subsidized by the Australian government and is connected to the American defense, armaments and intelligence complex. It is an enthusiastic supporter of almost everything of the US. It is hostile to China and has become the anti-China organization
GT: You also mentioned in your new book that aside from Western politicians, the media and scholars are acting McCarthyism. The media was also influenced by Machiavellianism. Could you give a further explanation?
Vivas: The IRSEM report quoted me 54 times and displayed eight photos of me. Isn't that Senator McCarthy's method? Isn't this an incitement to a witch hunt at a time when passions lead to violence? The blacklist compiled by Senator McCarthy in the US included hundreds of names of people suspected of communist sympathizers: Actors, writers, musicians, dancers, and so on. These innocent people were persecuted, lost their jobs, had to flee the country. The most famous of them is Charlie Chaplin.
When I was writing my book on the Uygurs, I told myself that I would have a hard time finding a publisher and if the book were published, the fire of criticism would not be against the book but against me.
This is exactly what happened. The "Silk Road" publisher, who published my book, is the 10th publisher I have approached. The others didn't want it - even though I offered the manuscript to them - the title and the theme were enough for them to refuse.
And as soon as the book was published, I and my editor were the targets of an incredible "Vivas bashing." With this book and those that followed, my publishers, out of caution, advised me not to make dedications in bookstores or book fairs.
GT: In your book, you have unmasked the World Uygur Congress (WUC), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and organizations like Human Rights Watch (HRW) on how they made and spread lies of "one million Uygurs being detained" and "genocide" against China. Could you share more about your researches about NED?
Vivas: I demonstrate that the NED, the WUC and HRW are organizations that serve the CIA. I'm not saying that because I believe it. I say it because I know it. I demonstrate it. We could also add Reporters Without Borders to the list - it caused considerable damage to China at the time of the 2008 Olympics.
The fable of "one million Uygurs imprisoned" horrified the French people. Sometimes the number was said to be three million. There was also rumor of "forced organ harvesting from Uygurs."
But such fake news is losing ground and the visit to Xinjiang region by the UN Human rights chief Michèle Bachelet will also help accelerate this trend.
To write a book on Reporters Without Borders in 1997, I investigated and learned that funding for NED is made by the US Congress as part of the money given to the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The NED is not an NGO. A former CIA agent specializing in Latin America, Philip Agee, revealed in an interview with Canadian journalist Jonah Gindin on March 22, 2005, that the NED is one of the many front organizations the CIA uses to intervene in internal affairs of countries.
The NED allocates funds to organizations which are agitated in China's Hong Kong, and in the Xizang and Xinjiang autonomous regions.
Founded in 2004, based in Munich, Germany, the WUC presents itself as a humanitarian organization for the defense of human rights. Several of its leaders live in the US, but campaigns for separating the Xinjiang region from China.
Several WUC leaders held senior positions at Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, news agencies created by the CIA. Since its inception, the WUC has been generously funded by the NED.
The US dollars donated by the NED between 2016 and 2019 to the WUC and other organizations intervening in Xinjiang are earmarked for actions that look like intrusions into the internal affairs of a sovereign country for hostile purposes.
Thus, the sponsor asks the beneficiaries to raise awareness among the Chinese public and opinion leaders, to organize training seminars, to engage in global advocacy in favor of the Uygur separatists, to lobby for this at the UN and in the European Parliament, to effectively involve other human rights NGOs, the international community, and the media, and to publish reports that will serve as documentary purpose.
In France, all the demonstrations organized "in defense of the Uygurs martyred because of their religion" are distinguished by their profusion of "Eastern Turkestan" flags. This is thus the proof that the claim is not the free practice of a religion, but the "independence of Xinjiang."
I am surprised that the observers did not notice these flags and I am sorry that personalities and elected officials lend themselves by showing in the street in operations that are in favor of the separatists of China.
Recently, the Ukrainian crisis has attracted a lot of attention. Many people have also mentioned the US instigated color revolutions in Arab countries and Ukraine and NED is behind these events.
If we want to push the analysis further, we quickly see that Ukraine leaders are a pawn of the US. The objective is not for the Ukrainian army to win the war but to weaken Russia in order to isolate the real potential target - China.
GT: You have visited China's Xinjiang region. Are there anything that impressed you? What are the reasons the US and Western media are making and spreading rumors about the region?
Vivas: I went to Xinjiang in 2016 and 2018. Of all the things that impressed me in Xinjiang, one is forever etched in my memory. We were visiting a sports complex and while we were in a hallway, I was attracted by music coming from a room with its door only half closed. Curious, I pushed the door and found myself in a gym. I saw young dancers in leotards, standing at the barre and throwing one leg over their heads, in music, and without caring about the stranger who had just entered. Our hosts had not planned to show us this, which did not seem important to them. However, in my eyes, you could understand a lot about today's Xinjiang.
And I told myself that, if the authorities let the fanatics win, if the fight against the "three evil forces" (extremism, separatism, terrorism) failed, if the madness of an Islamic caliphate prevailed in the region, the young Uygurs, their mothers and tomorrow their daughters would do without music and dance forever.
They would hide their bodies. No man would ever venture into a room where they would be confined to each other, buried in long clothes, made to be slaves to men, and mothers at 13.
The US has launched a global propaganda to try to curb China's advance. The Belt and Road Initiative worries them a lot. The US is on the decline. See how it decides to trade with whom and punishes those who disobey it.
China is making spectacular progress, but it still has many steps to climb to achieve what it calls "a moderately prosperous society."
Tomorrow, when the Xinjiang region will have been far away from any risk of becoming a theocracy; when the US will have failed in the region as it had failed in Xizang, as it has just failed in Hong Kong and as it failed for more than 60 years in Cuba, the White House will launch another campaign of fake news. Just know it and be prepared for it. In the meantime, China continues its forward march which benefits all its people.