Xinjiang residents, firms sue German researcher

Enterprises and residents in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are suing a German researcher, claiming he spread rumors about "forced labor" that have damaged their reputation and caused economic losses, a news website in the region reported on Tuesday.

A lawsuit has been filed against Adrian Zenz at a court in Xinjiang by an appointed lawyer. The lawsuit demands that Zenz apologize, rehabilitate their reputation and pay damages, reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian expressed support for the lawsuit on Tuesday, saying that the lawful action they took against Zenz reflected the public's increasing awareness of the rule of law and rights protection.

Many enterprises and residents in the region detested Zenz's so-called research, which was filled with malicious libel, Zhao told a news conference.

Born in 1974, Zenz is a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a far-right organization established in 1993.

In recent years, Zhao said, he has frequently made comments about Xinjiang on social media platforms and fabricated academic research results on topics such as "forced labor of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang".

Zhao said Zenz had also cooked up sensational lies about the forced sterilization, cultural elimination and genocide of Uygurs, and his research had been repeatedly cited in Western media reports.

As a result of his findings, some countries and enterprises reduced or even stopped the import of cotton and cotton products from Xinjiang, causing economic losses for farmers and processing enterprises in Xinjiang, the report said.

Zenz's research flies in the face of academic ethics and has been proved to contain false information, Zhao said.

He said Zenz has never visited Xinjiang or any other part of China, but he has suddenly become a "famous expert on Xinjiang issues", and his findings had been welcomed by Western countries and media outlets.

"Obviously, there are certain forces with ulterior motives politically manipulating him, and their purpose is to attack and discredit China by hyping up Xinjiang-related issues," Zhao said.

He said some Western politicians have disregarded the facts and common sense and have chosen to believe Zenz, leading them to repeatedly accuse China of genocide and human rights abuses.

Such ridiculous accusations will only damage their own reputations, Zhao said.

"Zenz and the wicked anti-China forces behind him will be condemned by conscience and criticized by justice," he said.