In a highly-upvoted Quora answer, Godfree Roberts quotes US Ambassador Chas. H. Freeman [sic]:

The CIA programs in Tibet, which were very effective in destabilizing it, did not succeed in Xinjiang. There were similar efforts made with the Uyghurs during the Cold War that never really got off the ground. In both cases you had religion waved as a banner in support of a desire for independence or autonomy which is, of course, is anathema to any state. I do believe that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones applies here. I am part American Indian and those people are not here (in the US) in the numbers they once were because of severe genocidal policies on the part of the European majority.

Chas W. Freeman, Jr. was the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1990-1992 and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Affairs, then International Security Affairs, from 1993 to 1994.

Roberts cites an interview from a 2018 SupChina podcast.

I haven’t found any confirmation that he was in fact on the show.

Another Quora answerer argues that, because Godfree Roberts supports the Chinese Communist Party, it is a fictional person created by the Chinese government.

Although CIA involvement in Tibet, supporting separatists, etc., is a matter of public record now, it seems, if true, that Mr. Freeman would be the highest ranking former US official to link those activities with the Xinjiang conflict.

Is this an authentic quote from Chas Freeman?

  • 4
    I'm not entirely clear what the question here is, since you don't seem to be questioning the truth of the statement, only the existence of it. The podcast is only an hour long, and free to listen to, so finding out whether the quotes appears in it should be easy enough. The only thing I can see left to question is whether it was really with Chas W. Freeman, Jr; do you have some reason to suspect it wasn't?
    – IMSoP
    Jan 23, 2022 at 20:48
  • @IMSoP I’m not confident of either. Which is why I am asking the question. And in any case I don’t expect the truth or falsity to be provable due to the nature of the activities. I am curious to know if the claim really comes from a valid source, it does seems to be but considering the implications I figure it’s best to get a second opinion.
    – M. Y. Zuo
    Jan 24, 2022 at 1:54
  • 9
    @M.Y.Zuo: Have you listened to the podcast to see whether he says that and that it isn't out of context? Or do you suspect the podcast itself is not authentic?
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 24, 2022 at 4:27
  • did you check his Wikipedia bio section on China?
    – Avery
    Jan 24, 2022 at 11:33
  • @Avery Yes, it does seem his background lines up with his claim of knowing about covert activities in Xinjiang.
    – M. Y. Zuo
    Jan 24, 2022 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


I don't know if this completely answers the question, but in Part 3 of the podcast the person being interviewed says at 26:25

...the CIA programs in Tibet, which were quite effective in destabilizing Tibet, did not succeed in Xinjiang...

So almost an exact quote, just "quite" vs "very" and "Tibet" vs "it".

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