Man in headdress claims US has brought ‘backwardness’ to natives

The popularthe official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, on Wednesday published a video on its webpage described as a “satiric play” in which a Chinese man wearing a headdress pretends to be a member of the Indian Shoshone tribe and accuses America of “genocide” . †

The video follows on from a long-standing campaign by the party – which itself is committing genocide against the indigenous people of East Turkistan – to accuse America of human rights abuses in an effort to discredit any criticism of China’s horrific human rights record. China’s record is particularly blatant against indigenous communities in areas where the Han Chinese are not the majority, such as East Turkistan, occupied Tibet and Inner Mongolia, where dictator Xi Jinping has banned the teaching of local languages ​​and religious and cultural practices has crushed.

Chinese government media also has a growing record of offensive depictions of foreign cultures in visual propaganda, sparking global outrage after Chinese performers were “blackfaced” on two separate occasions during the state television’s annual Lunar New Year extravaganza.

The “satiric play” posted online on Wednesday and containing no apparent jokes featured a popular personality who interviewed the man about American nuclear weapons tests in the western United States in the 1950s. The man appears on the screen and pouts, whereupon the popular host, a woman, asks, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Why so sad?”

“The US government had nuclear tests on our territory,” replies the “indigenous” man. “This is genocide!”

The man continues, speaking in the voice of a member of the Shoshone tribe: “The health of my fellow tribesmen has been destroyed. Many local people suffered from developmental delay, leukemia and various cancers.”

“That’s so horrible,” the woman replies.

At one point during the “satiric play” the slogan “the road to the founding of the United States was the genocide of the Indians” appears on the screen. The piece also claims that “US media”, without specifying, is calling the Shoshone country “the most bombed country on Earth”.

“From the rights of Native Americans to the treatment of black Americans, the US is a pseudo-defender of human rights that ignores human rights in practice,” the video caption reads.

The Shoshone are a large tribe made up of several communities in Nevada and Idaho. Perhaps the most prominent historical Shoshone historical figure outside the Native American community is Sacagawea, the guide who helped European explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark map the territory obtained through the Louisiana Purchase.

The popular gave no indication that members of the Shoshone community were involved in the production of the video.

Native American ethnic groups don’t usually use headdresses as casual wear; the items can have tremendous significance either as religious and ceremonial items or to be worn in times of war or other major changes. Historical photographs of Shoshone people do not appear to show headdresses worn casually, nor do photographs of Shoshone headdresses bear a clear resemblance to the item the popular actor wore in the video.

Members of the Shoshone-Bannock High School NASA club in Fort Hall, Idaho, perform a healing ceremony after a memorial ceremony for fallen astronauts at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Kennedy Space Center, Florida, February 1, 2004 ( Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

Native American activists have for years condemned the wearing of headgear as fashion statements or costumes by people outside their communities.

“Costumes that mock indigenous peoples, discredit our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist,” said IllumiNative, a group that defines its goal as challenging “the negative narrative that surrounds” Native Americans. , last year in response to a Real housewives celebrity wearing a headdress in the Bravo program. “‘Indian games’ is a form of mascot that isn’t just offensive, it’s part of a long history of how indigenous peoples have been dehumanized.”

Native American organizations have also objected to mass marketing of headdresses for profit. In 2012, the Navajo nation sued retailer Urban Outfitters over a range of products marketed as “Navajo” clothing with no affiliation with the Indigenous community and with no profit going to the alleged creators of the designs.

The Chinese Communist Party regularly uses America’s ethnic and racial minorities as cudgels to condemn America for observing China’s rampant human rights abuses, including atrocities such as slavery, live organ harvesting and genocide. Last year, during a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Politburo member Yang Jiechi called the movement “Black Lives Matter” a delegitimization of America as a human rights vote.

“In terms of human rights, we hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress on human rights, and the fact is that there are many human rights problems within the United States, which the US itself admits,” Yang claimed. “The human rights challenges facing the United States are deeply rooted. They didn’t just come into existence in the last four years, like ‘Black Lives Matter’. It has not just come up recently.”

Blinken and Sullivan have reportedly not challenged the Chinese official on his claims, despite there being no significant evidence that Chinese officials have relocated to improve the country’s human rights record.

China’s record of racism against Africans is poor, just as its record of discrimination against indigenous communities requires much design. In 2018, China’s state broadcaster CCTV aired a Lunar New Year program in which Chinese in “blackface” impersonate Africans who love the Communist Party. Like the “satiric play” on Native Americans, the sketch featured Chinese people speaking on behalf of entire African communities and praising China for its alleged aid to development.

Rather than apologize for the international offense the “blackface” skit caused, CCTV once again showed Han Chinese in black face paint pretending to be African in the 2021 version of the Lunar New Year special.

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