The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, all is aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order. How China’s authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is illustrated by events in Xinjiang.
America and its allies, under the guise of the War on Terror and humanitarian intervention, have droned, bombed and killed millions of Muslim children, women and civilians in a dozen of countries from Afghanistan to Yemen, and displaced millions more. In 2011 President Obama ordered the execution of Anwar al Awlaki, an American extremist preacher, for preaching the same kind of Wahabbist extremism, and separately executed al Awlaki, his sixteen-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, without trial. This is why Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim mass organization, and the world’s Muslim governments have not condemned China’s actions: they know that the US stirs up trouble in every Muslim country. The West is engaged in full-scale irregular war to destabilize China. The US created the Uyghur problem in Xinjiang by sponsoring terrorists there–the same tactics it used in Cuba, Venezuela, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya.
Groups like the World Uyghur Congress have offices in Washington D.C. and are funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED’s website admits to meddling and breaks down its targeting of China into several regions including mainland, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang/East Turkestan (“East Turkestan” is what Uyghur militants and separatists call Xinjiang). Beijing does not recognize this name and the NED – by recognizing the term “East Turkestan” – implicitly admits that it supports separatism in Western China, even as the US decries separatists and alleged annexations in places like Donbass, Ukraine and Russian Crimea.
The NED funds The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which exclusively refers to China’s Xinjiang province as “East Turkestan” and refers to China’s administration of Xinjiang as the “Chinese occupation of East Turkestan.” Here’s the 2017 NED report:
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY China (Xinjiang/East Turkestan) Advocacy and Outreach for Uyghur Human Rights (Uyghur Human Rights Project): $310,000. To raise awareness about Uyghur human rights issues, and to bring such issues to prominence globally. The grantee will research, document, and provide independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting Uyghurs in China. It will also conduct outreach to Chinese citizens in an effort to improve the human rights conditions for Uyghurs, as well as providing international advocacy.
Uyghur Human Rights Advocacy: World Uyghur Congress. $246,000. To raise awareness and support for Uyghurs’ human rights. The grantee will organize leadership and advocacy training seminars for Uyghur youth; monitor, document, and highlight human rights violations in East Turkestan/Xinjiang; and strengthen advocacy on Uyghur issues at the United Nations and the European Parliament.
Uyghurs living in China are descendants of a white imperialist army marooned there and they have sided with every invader of China, asking them to turn Xinjiang into East Turkestan. Chinese Uyghurs collaborated with the Japanese, who set up a Uyghur puppet state, and when China kicked out the Japanese, the Uyghurs called this the conquest of their independent country by China. The President of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, a billionaire Chinese citizen now resident in the US, kissed the ground at Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine on May 14, 2011. On WUC’s website, articles like A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist admits that she seeks “Uyghur independence” from China. The Uyghur East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), aka Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), aka Katibat Turkestani, is a terrorist group to whom Osama Bin Laden pledged his support during a 1999 meeting in Afghanistan. Its members have trained with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s but before 9/11 the CIA worked with the mujahideen in Afghanistan as well as Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Boot camps were set up in Afghanistan to train Uyghur separatists, in much the same way as Islamic State extremists were trained and armed to overthrow the Syrian government a decade later.
In February 1997 the CIA-instigated bombing of public buses in Urumqi that killed nine people and injured more than 70.
In 2007-08, Uyghur separatists exploited the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to internationalize their cause. An attempted suicide bombing on a China Southern Airlines flight was thwarted but a terrorist attack in Kashgar in Xinjiang killed 16 police officers four days before the start of the Games.
In July 2009, Uyghur extremists in the provincial capital Urumqi killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese. True to the imperial double standard, Washington refuses to characterize such deadly attacks as acts of terrorism.
Since 2013, thousands of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from western China, have traveled to Syria to train with the Uighur militant group Turkestan Islamic Party and fight alongside al-Qaida, playing key roles in several battles. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops are now clashing with Uighur fighters as the six-year conflict nears its endgame. AP Exclusive: Uighurs fighting in Syria take aim at China,
The violence continued through 2014. There were two more failed hijackings of commercial planes as well as scores of bombings, killing tens of civilians each time. The knife attack at the southwestern China city of Kunming railway station in March 2014 was a watershed, resulting in 33 dead and 141 injured. (NATO member Turkey subsequently gave passports to four of the fugitives involved in the railroad station massacre. Read Peter Lee’s China’s Uyghur Problem – The Unmentioned Part).
In 2015 Uyghur-linked terrorists staged a Bangkok bombing which targeted mainly Chinese tourists and left 20 dead after Thailand offered to send Uyghur terror suspects back to China to face justice and defied US demands that the suspects be allowed to travel onward to Turkey.
Faced with such armed insurrections, most sovereign states would have imposed martial law or declared a state of emergency nationwide or in the affected region, suspending the rule of law, as did Malaya’s British colonial rulers, Thailand and Indonesia. The US itself enacted the draconian Patriot Act that stripped Americans of their civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism. In June 2018, Austria closed seven mosques built by Turkey’s Diyanet, and deported 60 imams and their families with ties to Turkey as part of the ‘fight against political Islam.’ China did not.
In 2015, China passed its Counter-terrorism Law, which allows Beijing to take all necessary measures to put down any activities or behavior it deems threatening to state security and sovereignty. These threats can be summarized by the oft-recited Chinese goal of ridding itself of “the three evils” – terrorism, separatism and religious extremism. It stepped up security, including armed patrols and checkpoints in hot spots to restore law and order, and go after terrorists and prevent them from inflicting more violence. Chinese authorities call this high-intensity regulation and the strategy has succeeded in containing the spread of terrorism beyond Xinjiang and purging religious extremists and separatists from the civil society.
Now China has begun undoing the toxic brainwashing of ordinary Uyghurs. Some 600,000 Uighurs were lifted out of poverty in 2016, and another 312,000 in 2017. More than 400,000 have been relocated from remote villages to places where they are gainfully employed.
Neighborhood religious institutes have been set up to educate citizens on the perils of religious extremism (these community centres where classes are held to detoxify radical Wahhabism were labelled “re-education camps” or concentration camps by the western press, and those attending the classes termed “incarcerated”). Programs to eradicate poverty are implemented to train and prepare Uyghurs for jobs in towns and cities. The Chinese government, through various programs, has been winning the hearts and minds of ordinary Uyghurs–bad news for the US and Uyghur separatists who are making a desperate, all-out bid to unravel the work done by Beijing to eradicate religious extremism and poverty in Xinjiang. The deluge of fake news from Western corporate media since the beginning of this year seeks to demonize the Chinese government, painting it as a gross violator of human rights, when the truth is the exact opposite.
In 2018, Xinhua News (at 80% trust the world’s most credible news agency) asked Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to elaborate on the main content of the vocational training:
Currently, Xinjiang has established a training model with professional vocational training institutions as the platform, learning the country’s common language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, along with de-extremization education, as the main content, with achieving employment as the key direction. The vocational training institutions have set up departments of teaching, management, medical care, logistics and security, and allocated a corresponding number of faculty, class advisors, medical, catering, logistics and security staff.
In the process of learning and training, the trainees will advance from learning the country’s common language, to learning legal knowledge and vocational skills. Firstly, the trainees will take learning the country’s common language as the basis to improve their communication abilities, gain modern science knowledge and enhance their understanding of Chinese history, culture and national conditions. The teaching follows standardized plans, textbooks, materials and systems. The trainees are taught in various methods suited to their literacy to raise their abilities to use the country’s common language as soon as possible. Secondly, the learning of legal knowledge is taken as a key part of cultivating the trainees’ awareness of the nation, citizenship and rule of law. Legal experts are hired to lecture on the Constitution, the criminal law and the civil law, etc., and judges, prosecutors and lawyers are invited to teach the criminal law, the law on public security administration, the anti-terrorism law, the marriage law, the education law and Xinjiang’s de-extremization regulations. Thirdly, vocational learning is taken as a key way to help trainees find employment. Courses on clothing and footwear making, food processing, electronic product assembly, typesetting and printing, hairdressing and e-commerce have been set up to suit local social needs and job market. Multi-skill training is provided to trainees who have the desire and capability to learn, so that they acquire one to two vocational skills upon graduation. Businesses in garment making, mobile phone assembly and ethnic cuisine catering are arranged to offer trainees practical opportunities. In the meantime, they are paid basic incomes and a bonus. The mechanism has taken shape in which the trainees can “learn, practice and earn money.”
In daily life, vocational institutions and schools strictly implement the spirit of laws and regulations, including the Constitution and religious affairs regulations, and respect and protect the customs and habits of various ethnic groups and their beliefs in diet and daily life. Faculties of the institutions and schools also try their best to ensure and meet the trainees’ needs in study, life, and entertainment on the basis of free education. The cafeteria prepares nutritious free diets, and the dormitories are fully equipped with radio, TV, air conditioning, bathroom and shower. Indoor and outdoor sports venues for basketball, volleyball and table tennis have been built, along with reading rooms, computer labs, film screening rooms, as well as performance venues such as small auditoriums and open-air stages. Various activities such as contests on speech, writing, dancing, singing and sports are organized. Many trainees have said that they were previously affected by extremist thought and had never participated in such kinds of art and sports activities, and now they have realized that life can be so colorful.
Moreover, the vocational institutions and schools pay high attention to the trainees’ mental health and helped them solve problems in life. They not only provide professional psychological counseling services, but also duly deal with complaints from the trainees and their families. All this shows that the management of the vocational institutions and schools are people-oriented.
Xinjiang’s GDP grew 8% last year and is expected to accelerate since it is a gateway for the Belt and Road Initiative. Its future is bright and we can expect its recent problems, like Like Tibet’s, to fade into memory within three years.