Eastern Turkistan after the Cold War and 9/11: A Critical Study of the Chinese Theses and Policie

Eastern Turkistan after the Cold War and 9/11: A Critical Study of the Chinese Theses and Policie

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التعليقات على Eastern Turkistan after the Cold War and 9/11: A Critical Study of the Chinese Theses and Policie مغلقة

 

Dr. Akram HiJazi

Researcher – Writer 

Translated from Arabic by Azbe Kezbani

Introduction 

It is difficult for someone who is studying and monitoring the condition of East Turkistan to write about any subject. It is particularly more difficult for someone to understand the situation if they are isolated from its civilization, culture, history, laws, humanity or even its biological makeup. In this region, a population has been subjected to genocide for decades, if not hundreds of years, yet it still is unable to make its voice heard. What can be heard is merely the determination, strong will power and faith of the victims. “While tears are streaming”1, and while crimes against humanity transgress every possible limitation, which subject can we ignore while writing about another? It is even not possible to compile or document the subjects in question in any kind of detail. However, it is possible to determine capital crimes committed, for all worlds to see; for example, crimes of racism. And again in this context, ethnic crimes committed in connection with business, education, health, marriage, migration or population planning. In addition, the banning of religious practices, mosques, reading the Qur’an, religious education, religious books, the Qur’an itself, Islamic symbols and Islamic attire, the killing or suppressing of scholars, religious functionaries and imams, the inculcation of atheism, the banning of provisions of the religious law, promoting war against religion and insulting Islam are only a few more examples of such crimes that we can mention here. Among the crimes related to health there is the administration of contaminated or deadly vaccines, the spreading of drug, alcohol or other addictive substance abuse among the Uyghur, as well as various illnesses that result from nuclear tests. As examples of cultural crimes, we can quote the distortion of history, the denying of the identity of the people and the Turkistan territory, as well as the erasing and destroying of all traces regarding culture and history. And there are still many more such subjects that can be mentioned.

The tragedies suffered by Turkistan are part of a long historical process. Turkistan has been the victim of large empires and it has been divided into two; Western Turkistan, which remained under the sway of the Soviets, and East Turkistan, which became a bone to picked over by the Soviet Union and China, but remaining under the control of the Chinese government. Both before and after Communism, China has applied a number of policies and actions against the people of Turkistan; there is no word but which cannot be described by any other word than “genocide”. According to bloody documents in the archives of the Chinese Empire 1,200,000 Muslims were killed and 22,500 families were forced to migrate to China due to the attacks mounted by the Manchu Dynasty against Turkistan between 1648 and 1759.2

When we come to the current drama of Turkistan, it can be observed that the chances to attain the freedom and independence that the Uyghur nation desired were not very great, due to the negative current situation and the imbalance in power between the Uyghur Muslims and the Chinese. On the other hand, the Sinicization policies, which have attempted to eradicate the presence of Turkistan, make this situation clearer.

The Uyghur people have suffered persecution that no other people have suffered. Palestinians have suffered a similar situation in their country, invaded by the English in 1916 and handed over to the Jews to establish the State of Israel in 1948. At the same time as the Israeli state was being established in 1948, Turkistan was being invaded by the Communists. It is for this reason that some writers and researchers use the term the: “Forgotten Palestinefor Turkistan. Perhaps the situation in Eastern Turkistan could become worse than that in Palestine, like the “Lost Andalusia”. This is because Israel has will continue to be an artificial state that is undergoing a continuous decline demographically, added onto and developed in an environment with a geography and history that resemble one another. However future of Turkistan is seen to be in danger of assimilation by The Chinese population.

There are many questions that can be asked concerning the period that followed two important events, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; there are also many answers to these questions. However the most important question is: Is China involved in the Turkistan issue in order to make Turkistan the victim of its own policies? Perhaps this question goes against the logic of the balance of power.

However according to a study it can be argued that despite all the elements of power, China is on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to the matter of the disintegration of countries.

 

Statement of dominating Turkistan: Claims and needs

 

Identity of these lands between historical facts and China`s claims.

 

In 1878 China invaded the eastern part of Turkistan with an army under the command of General Tso Tsung-T`ang and placed the area under military rule. Until that time, Turkistan was not a part of the Chinese territory. However an argument between two Chinese groups about whether to integrate Turkistan region into China or not continued for some years. The prevailing opinion seemed to be set against the idea, which was that of General T`ang, integrate Turkistan into China. Thus, military rule over the region was eliminated and in November 18, 1884 Turkistan was officially annexed to China under civil rule. At this time, the strangest thing that China did was to rename Turkistan “Xinjiang”. This was a compound word; one of the words is “xin,” meaning new, while the other one is “jang”, meaning country or land. A leading American expert on East Turkistan, Own Lattimore, has tried to translate the naming with help from linguists and Chinese scholars. And he came to following conclusion in his famous book, “Eastern Turkistan, Pivot of Asia”: This name that was given to Turkistan by the Chinese means “new region” or “new dominion” (new territory).

Without a doubt, there is numerous historical data that certifies that Turkistan was never a part of China. That is to say:

On the one hand is the delay in integration of Turkistan into Chinese territory and on the other is the realization that this integration occurred only after profound arguments within the Chinese government.

On other hand, the naming of this region as `new` it is also clearly a reference to the fact that it was not part of China. This name serves the purpose of the colonization of Eastern Turkistan by the Chinese government and its identification as a new country.

However, it is not possible to think that this region remained without a name throughout history. If this country had been a part of China, it would not have been reasonable to call it “Xinjiang” during late 19th century. The truth is that the Chinese invaders required a new name for this territory and could find no other name than Xinjiang” for this region. This name does not carry any historical, geographical or cultural meaning other than that derived from a European style of colonialism. In the early 19th century, with the rise of mechanical age and capitalistic expansionism the way was opened the way for colonialism. In the same way that China dealt with Turkistan by classifying the country that was targeted for exploitation as a community without history”, a “primitive community” and a “prehistoric community”, the Europeans used the same terms to open the way for their colonization of Africa and Asia. All these terms were terms fabricated by those who looked upon colonies as “virgin soilswhich have secret, valuable treasures and untapped resources, with no colonization or rights of their own. The Chinese also use the same method in its treatment of Eastern Turkistan. In fact, such a name did not merely fall from the heavens. The Chinese had earlier succumbed to the exploitation of western and eastern powers, and was influenced by the culture of colonialism that was introduced to their country by the French, English and Japanese.

When we look at ancient languages, it can clearly be seen that China has no right to this region. In the books of Muslim historians, geographers, linguists and other foreigners, Eastern Turkistan is mentioned frequently by name and this region and its geographic properties are identified. For example, this region has been identified as the “lands beyond the river” or the “land of Turks”.

These lands have been mentioned in detail in famous works by Arab and Muslim historians and travelers. We can mention some of these authors and their works here: Yakut el-Hamevi (1178/1228) Mu’cemu’l-Buldan; Ahmed el-Belazuri (d.891) Futuhu’l-Buldan; Shemsuddin ed-Dimeshki (d.1327) Nuhbetu’d-Dehr Fi Acaibi’l-Berri ve’l-Bahr; Ibn Cerir et-Taberi (838-923) el-Umem ve’l-Muluk; Mes’ud Ebu’l-Hasen (896-957) Murucu’z-Zeheb and Meadinu’l-Cevher; Ahmed Ya’kubi (d.897) Kitabu’l-Buldan; Muhammed Ebu’l-Kasim b. Havkal (d.977) el- Mesalik ve’l-Memalik; Ebu’r-Reyhan el-Biruni (973-1048) el-Asaru’l-Bakıye Ani’l- Kuruni’l-Haliye; Ahmed el-Kalkashendi (1355-1418) Subhu’l-A’sha; Ibnu’l-Esir İzzuddin (1160-1234) el-Kamilu Fi’t-Tarih. When we examine works written in the West, the famous Italian traveler Marco Polo, a contemporary of Kubilay, the son of Cenghiz Khan, visited this region. He also described East Turkistan as “Great Turkey” during his visit to the region. Thus, we can understand that the region was perceived at this time as a Turkish country. In the same way, the region is mentioned as “Eastern Turkistan” in the book titled Through Asia by Sven Hedin, in 1898 (on pages 20, 21, 24, 255, 456).

How are these lands mentioned in Chinese written documents?

 

As is known, China is famous for recording the history of its own emperors. Moreover the “Science of Ethnology” was born in China. The characteristic of this science is that it is selective. It eliminates that which is different from its own characteristics or that which is local and mentions them only when it needs to differentiate itself.3 In this context, Chinese ethnological historians described Eastern Turkistan and its cities as “siyuin Chinese or as “foreign lands to the west of China”. Moreover, the name of Eastern Turkistan is not mentioned as “Xinjiang” in any historical text. We can give the following examples from books written by the aforementioned historians: the History of the Shi Tang Shu or T’ang Dynasty (618-907); the History of the Han Shu or Han Dynasty (260 B.C -24 AD); the History of the Hu Han Shu or 2nd Han Dynasty (25-220); the History of the Jin Shu or Jin Dynasty; the History of the Vi Shu or Vi Dynasty (386-556) History, the History of the Suy Shu or Suy Dynasty (581-617); the History of the Sung Shu or Sung Dynasty (960-1279); the History of the Yuan Shi or New Yuan Dynasty (events during the rule of Mongols in China, between 1205-1367); the History of the Ming Shi or Ming Dynasty (1368m-1643m).

Even though all historic, cultural and scientific data, prevents any doubt, not to say outright disproves such an interpretation, the Chinese narration continues to insist on something that cannot be described as anything other than outright foolish in their strange descriptions. The last of these narrations perhaps is the one that was written in a recent book called the “White Book”, by the Chinese government. If we examine the descriptions regarding Eastern Turkistan in this book, we can find the following:

“Some former colonialists called Xinjiang Eastern Turkistan to realize the objective of separating Xinjiang from China and dominating the region… They fabricated the deceptive theory that works as propaganda stating that Xinjiang is the homeland of the Eastern Turkistan people.” It is also stated that: “Since the beginning of the 20th century, a minority separatist group, consisting of some blind, fanatic and radical religious groups, has come up with some theories regarding Eastern Turkistan; but these theories have no foundation and are merely the invention of former colonialists. According to this propaganda, Eastern Turkistan was an independent nation from ancient time and the people living in the region have a history that goes back nearly ten thousand years.”4

This narrative, which admits that this region was Eastern Turkistan and not part of Chinese territories, is in contradiction of every fact ever recorded by historians throughout Islamic history. It refers to these historians as former colonialists and claims that it is they who fabricated the name Eastern Turkistan. However, not only does this book ignore the history behind the name “Xinjiang”, it also ignores the ethnologic meaning of the word, which in and of itself proves the historical facts that are denied in this book. Also, in the summary of the book that was published in the People of China Journal, no explanatory information is offered about the issues which are referred to as fabricated assumptions about the history of the region, a history which in fact dates back ten thousand years.

Moreover, this summary provides no evidence of what it describes as “theories that have no foundation and (which are) the invention of former colonialists,” nor are the names of the persons given, merely claiming that “these are Muslims”. However, China has only referred to this region as “Xinjiang” in the recent past, how then can they dare to invent a history that dates back for ten thousands years that is connected to them? In this case, who is actually inventing something out of nothing and who is using unsupported evidence? Which narration is more plausible; that of China or that of Turkistan?

Another strange issue about the Chinese narration is that it ignores then dozens of historical revolutions and the millions of victims in Turkistan since the Manchu dynasty started to rule over the region. This narration also presents the protests and revolts of the Uyghur in the 20th century as separatist movements. However, the struggle between China and the Russian czars over the region is not seen as a part of the history. While the book mentions the ethnic groups that formed the society in the region, China knows very well that the 7,500,000 Chinese citizens of Han ethnicity have been forced or tricked into immigrating into the region, rewarded with certain privileges. During the processes that followed the establishment of the Communist government under the leadership of Mao Tsetung in 1949, with a decree issued in August 19, 1952 these migrations began, transforming the region into an autonomous region in name only. This book describes Eastern Turkistan as the Xingjian Region or the Uyghur Autonomous Region. Yet, after the annexation of the region by China, the forced immigration in the late 19th century made no difference to the population structure of the region. On the contrary, the total number of ethnic groups, made up of Chinese, Mongols and Manchurians during this period were no greater than 600,000. The same groups made up only 6%5 of the population of the region, with more than 90% consisting of Muslim Uyghur.

Economic ventures and the logic of “No turning back”

 

In contrast to the Soviet Union, under Communism, China tried to form a global economy that would be able to sustain the needs of the poorer classes, which formed the vast majority of the population. It can be said that China, which attained great success in the open market, was ready to accept a global economy at a much earlier period. Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, marking the end of the Cold War, China made it public that it was now a part of the global economy with its Capitalist Socialism” formula. Thanks to this formula, China has reclaimed Hong Kong from England in 1997, with the condition that it would preserve the existing economic system for another fifty years. It transformed the Fujian canton into a region where European and American corporations can invest and carried out some large investments in the USA. Therefore, while China continues to remain a Communist state, with a controlled economy, at the same time it has become a capitalist state involved in global competition in an open market economy. This also indicates that China is using Communism as a conservative and strict system of government that shores up its domination over hundreds of million people. That is, China does not see Communism as an ideological or economic system. As far as market competition is concerned, this unique system, mentioned above, makes it possible for China to dominate the global economy and world politics.6

Since the 1980’s and the death of the Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung, China has adopted a policy of opening onto the world. After this, signs of the Chinese policy towards Eastern Turkistan began to surface with great economic demands and competition; these had a very deceptive effect over the events that happened in the region. As a result, ethnic and systematic forced immigration to Eastern Turkistan began to be mentioned officially; the official reason was the development of this region at the beginning of the 21st century. The Chinese prime minister, Zhao Ziyang, and the former general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Hu Yao Bang, who visited Eastern Turkistan in 1983, stated this point very clearly. Since this plan required a vast amount of money, as well as scientific experts and skilled persons, the general secretary of the Eastern Turkistan Communist Party Wang Enmao visited the USA in October, 1985. He said the following in a statement he made to The Washington Post on 14.01.1985: “Eastern Turkistan must largely depend on skilled workers and technical persons from within China in order to attain a five-fold increase in the current industrial and agricultural income by the end of the 20th century. The Canton has assigned financial incentives to attract such people to the region. University graduates who come here will receive an additional degree in addition to their salaries immediately after their arrival; they will receive new degrees every three years. The salaries to be given to those who come are very encouraging.”7

Naturally, the reason why these officials spoke about the development of Eastern Turkistan is that the region had now become a Chinese territory and was a productive place for Chinese immigrants. Another reason was that Eastern Turkistan was a spearhead for China’s involvement in economic competition in the 21st century. China, an expert at hiding facts and regular statistics regarding rapid immigration in order to exploit the region, intends to permanently erase the region demographically from the map as a fundamental part of its global economic advances. And it has been successful in doing this. With the situation being thus, China’s claims of development, stability, national unity or merging populations living in Eastern Turkistan are of no value. Let us examine read what the former general secretary of the Communist Party, the highest political authority in China, Hu Yao Bang, said in a statement published in Newsweek on 16.06.1986: “Eastern Turkistan is similar to the Western Sahara or the Amazon basin. In this region, there are great opportunities for development. The total population of Eastern Turkistan is 14,000,000, which 6,000,000 of which are Uyghur and 5,300,000 are Chinese. This region can easily accommodate 200,000,000 Chinese!”8 In this case, what is the population merging, national unity and stability that China is talking about?

There can be no doubt that Eastern Turkistan is a country with very great opportunities. However, the Chinese made this discovery made long after the Arab historian Yakut el-Hamevi; he mentioned this subject in his voluminous work, Mu’cemu’l-Buldan (VII, 270): “Maveraunnehr is a country that is the cleanest, the most fertile, and has the most property. The people of the region like to do good deeds, are generous, and give their belongings away with all their good will. In addition, they are hardy, brave, resilient, courageous and strong people. The fertility of these lands cannot be described in words. There is nothing like it in all the Islamic countries or in any other country.” There is not much difference from what Hamevi says and what Belazuri said in his work Futuhu’l-Buldan, which he wrote at an earlier date: “This place is one of the heavens on earth created by Allah!”

These two descriptions of Eastern Turkistan also tell us that region is home to  60 million cattle, that it can provide one-third of the annual agricultural needs of  China and that it possesses a fortune in more than 140 kinds of minerals. There  are 2.19 trillion tons of coal, lead, iron, copper, and salt, the equivalent of 40-50%  of China’s total reserves; there are other strategic reserves, like uranium, of which  there is more than 12 trillion tons. The gold reserves are 19 million tons and mined  in fifty-six mines, which yield on average annually 360 kg gold. The oil reserve  is between 6.5 and 8.2 billion tons, equal to one-third of China’s total reserve.  The total annual oil production is 27.4 million tons and it is anticipated that this  number will rise to 60 million by 2010, and 100 million by 2020. According to  data from 1988, in East Turkistan there is an area of 700 square kilometers in  which it is thought oil can be found; this means that there is approximately 800  million tons of crude oil. Moreover, about 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas  have been detected. This is why international experts see Eastern Turkistan as the  backbone of China’s economy and heavy industry. Even more important is that  Eastern Turkistan is the main source for China’s nuclear production, with very  pure uranium produced in the region.

Indeed Eastern Turkistan is a country with “an indescribable fertilityas Hamevi said. And it is because of this that Eastern Turkistan has whetted appetite of every imperialist. This region is also an area where China can send its surplus population, as the population density here is 5 people per square kilometer, while the population density in China is over 160 people per square kilometer. Recently, a Communist Party politburo member Wang Lu Tshuan expressed the secret intentions of China against the region during an annual academic congress of the Chinese Science and Technology Association in 2005: “With its wealth in oil and unique geographic location the region will surely be an energy base from which to launch China’s economic advance in the 21st century.”9 This statement clearly states China’s plans concerning the benefits, privileges and future of Eastern Turkistan. Whatever the consequences, it is not possible for China to ignore or to forego the aforementioned benefits.

Thus, it can be clearly seen that China’s struggle over the region is a strategic one and that any social disorder, regardless of its source will not be tolerated. But extracting the untapped underground resources of the region, attaining an infrastructure that is geared towards heavy industry, benefiting from these and ensuring their continuance will not be possible if social tensions continue in the area. However, it is estimated that all in all, the problems encountered today are no less than those encountered when the name of the region was changed from Eastern Turkistan. In an era when the rate of change is measured by technology, such a logic of “no turning back”, making China’s economy and the country dependent on a colony, especially in a strategic sense, is a great gamble. In this case, what can provide China with its wishes for peace and stability? How can the people of Turkistan be forced to endure persecutions and torture forever?

Statement of dividing Turkistan: Concerns and proposals

 

The Cold War period has come to an end and the global economic has taken off with scientific revolutions. A new era has begun for humanity. There is now fierce competition over resources; but to reach domination you need to obtain capital. Since China has made strategic choices in accordance with competition that is based on an income produced in the region, she also needs to come up with an integral situation for Eastern Turkistan. What one needs to ask is this: Which strategies will China employ when dividing Eastern Turkistan up demographically and culturally? How has China acted in the region after 9/11?

1) The war against religion between Chinese government control and international control

Since the 1300s the Chinese have known that the people of Turkistan are Muslim.10 They also know that the people of Turkistan have carried the flag of Islam to China, and that Islam is something that they are devoutly committed to. They keep their Islam and at a time when they made great advances, during an age when Islam was leading in the sciences, arts, architecture, morality, human values and understanding, the Mongols who were exploiting the region also started to believe to Islam. Muslims became known by the word Chantu, which means “turbaned men” in Chinese.11 The Chinese are also aware that historically and culturally Turkistan has contributed to Islam, renewed it, and produced scholars in hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and languages, people who had a clear influence in spreading and preserving Islam.12 Another thing that the Chinese are aware of is that Islam was the only historical factor that withstood foreign attacks in the region. Islam is a phenomenon that cannot be eliminated from the mind of the Muslims, both those inside and outside Eastern Turkistan. As history shows and and as Hamevi said: the people of Turkistan people are “hardy, courageous, resilient, brave, strong” people. These characteristics are enough to make the one who possesses them a mighty adversary. Even if such an adversary could be defeated due to their being taken unaware, this is not one who will surrender13. As the Chinese have discovered through experience, today they fear this character; this will continue in the future. Perhaps this fact can explain to us some of the secrets of the violence that is being wielded both demographically and ethnically by China on the people living in the region.

Government control

 

In the past, operations of ethnic cleansing happened in China behind an impenetrable curtain. In the era of Mao Tse-tung (1949-1976), Islam was banned and war was declared against it. The war was conducted under the slogan “Renounce the teachings of the Qur’an!” No one outside the country heard about these events or the moans of the victims during this period. This event continued to go on in a terrible silence, despite there being no apparent justification for it. There was just one reason. To wipe the people of Turkistan off the map and thus to be rid of them, their history and their culture, once and for all. This is the reason why the Chinese wanted to destroy the faith of these people. Despite all such events, the people of Turkistan did not surrender. However, after the Cold War, even though the cries for help were heard all around the world, the problems increased due to official practices which were clearly stated. Today the situation continues under the heading of a “war against those who promulgate separatist propaganda.” The Chinese government has used such expressions and behavior since the establishment of the Communism regime. The things that are included in this expression can be listed as follows:

a) All national powers, political and social movements that resist against the Chinese occupation or who oppose Chinese policies by requesting human rights or insisting on the an end to discrimination.

b) Charity organizations and voluntary foundations.

c) The media, broadcasting and cultural organizations.

d) Persons and intellectuals who are public figures within and without Eastern Turkistan.

e) Organized or individual civil resistant movements.

The government has also begun to use the phrase “radicalism and radicals” along with “war against those who create separatist propaganda and separatists”.

This group includes:

All academics, student and teachers of religious sciences, imams and preachers.

All Turkistan families who do not abide by the orders of the Chinese government regarding religious education and practices.

Organizations the provide a religious education

Mosques, the construction or repair of mosques.

Religious sermons, invitations or spiritual guidance activities…

Schools that are accused of violating education laws or government guidelines regarding the religious and local language.

All Islamic courts and laws.

The Qur’an, religious books and historical works about the history of the region.

The celebration of religious feasts and holy days.

Those who want to go on hajj.

The wearing of Islamic or religious dresses.

This is just an example of the main titles in this matter. As we said at the beginning, it is difficult to make generalizations in this study about the violent Chinese practices. However, we will continue to follow China’s social and economic policies closely. We will compile particular examples that have both official and legal characteristics which are incontrovertible and which will not allow China to hide the truth.

Naturally people will start to look for different ways to implement their Godgiven rights to live as they believe, to carry out practices of faith and religion when oppression becomes unbearable, be it under arbitrary laws or martial law. However, according to the strange Chinese laws and regulations, these secret alternative methods are also being monitored and have been banned.14 Such actions are deemed “state secrets” and are never disclosed to public. Two of these regulations are decisions signed by the prime minister, Lee Peng, in January 31, 1994 banning religious activities. Below we will try to summarize these:

Decree no 145

This orders that all secret places of worship, which in recent years have begun to spread throughout China, be banned, and all religious activities be monitored.

Decree no 144

Foreigners are not permitted to open places of worship, religious organization or associations. They are not allowed to lead religious activities, open cultural centers or religious schools. Also foreigners are not permitted to talk with local religious functionaries, to appoint them or to act as guides in their activities.15

At a later date, on 28.03.1996, the Chinese authorities issued a secret decree, known as Document No. 7. According to this decree, war against religion was declared and the punishments required were increased by tenfold. This law was actually in force by 12.03.1996. This is known as the Yan Da campaign. The most apparent application of this campaign, according to what has been reported by Turkistan and foreign sources,16 was aimed at Muslims, women and young people working in Chinese national institutions. They were forbidden to fast, to go to mosques or to attend Islamic education. The most famous reaction to this restriction was during the usufruct in city of Gulce on the 27th night of Ramadan month, in the year 1417 of the hegira (1997). When the gendarme, intelligence and police forces guarded the doors of mosques, preventing women and young people who had came for the tarawih and night prayer, clashes occurred between Muslims and these forces; a violent riot ensued. The incident ended with intervention of the Chinese army. As a result, 300 Muslim lost their lives and 10 thousand Muslim was arrested. Later, according to the Communist Party general secretary, Wang Lequan, who made a statement in the official gazette, dated 11.7.1997, this campaign has continued: “The Chinese authorities arrested 17,000 people, sending them to the People’s Liberation Army construction and work camps.” The same gazette reports this in its 21.6.1997 issue: “The Chinese authorities demolished 133 mosques and closed 105 Islamic schools in the Karakas town of Hoten province alone.”

International control

 

With a series of oppressive laws and its activities to suppress the people, the methods used by the Chinese government have been disclosed, one by one, with the efforts of international research centers and global human rights associations. For example, Dr. Paul George, who is from Turkistan and an independent researcher on political progress and global safety subjects, gave the following quote in his paper, entitled: “The Problems of Islam in Xinjiang,” which was published in issue No 73 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Bureau in the spring 1998: “In the name of protecting national unity and stability Beijing is trying to systematically control all religious activities throughout China. However, it can be seen that Islam has penetrated deeply into the national identity and local culture in Xinjiang. For this reason, Beijing perceives Islam as a direct threat to its sovereignty, and perceives mosques and religious schools as gathering places where those who are dissatisfied with the government meet. Therefore, from time to time, religious functionaries are arrested and violently punished.”17

Whether the Chinese authorities deny or accept such eyewitness reports does not change the situation. The Chinese practices are mostly inflicted against Muslims and Islam. The legislative system in Eastern Turkistan operates in the same way. These laws have been transmitted abroad to international human rights organizations by researchers from Turkistan. For the first time, an international organization, “Human Rights Watch”, has cooperated with a Chinese human rights organization and prepared an official report regarding the secret and public legislation package that has been enforced on the Uyghur people of Eastern Turkistan. The title of the report is “Crushing Blows: Religious Pressures against Uyghur in Xinjiang”; the report was published in April 12, 2005. The following references were used as basis for this report, which consists of 114 pages:

Government and Communist Party documents deciphered at an earlier date,

Regional laws,

Official gazette,

Interviews,

There are also appendices containing quotations from official documents.

Thus, this report can be seen to be an international document containing firsthand information. More importantly, this was the first time when such a detailed documentation was prepared about the situation in Turkistan. This study was not merely interposed in a media broadcast, as had been done before; moreover, it made clear the complex structure of the legislation, regime and policies that have taken religious freedom from the hands of Uyghur18

.

The Asia director of the organization, Brad Adams, commented on the report: “These documents are very sensitive. For these reason, they are only transmitted within the party and government, going from hand to hand, in secret. Such documents are directed towards arbitrarily forming a legal basis that will make the Uyghur people a target. What is intended here is to create a fear among the Uyghur people that will prevent them from gathering and expressing their complaints or from freely expressing their cultural identities.” Another point mentioned in the report is that the documents which have been obtained and the interviews that have been made in China by the organization demonstrate that there is a multi-directional system to suppress and control the religious activities of Uyghur people. The following words of the general secretary of the Xinjiang regional party, Wang Guan, were quoted in the report: “…the most important duty of the authorities in Xinjiang is to control and guide the religion. Thus, it will serve the central administration in preserving the economic structure, the homeland integrity and the national unity.” Let us now focus a little on the most important part of this report as mentioned in the published summary. The following issues are mentioned in detail in the report:

Current regulations governing religious activities in Xinjiang,

A booklet regarding the application of a policy that is related to religious issues for minorities, which was distributed within the party and government in 2000. Details about several suppressive applications, which later became law, are given in this booklet. In the report it is mentioned that in one of the booklets some “irregularities” are mentioned; according to these the authorities can ban religious freedoms for any reason whatsoever. Such irregularities are mentioned as “…the execution of further activities that will damage the stability of the population…” and “…those that give rise to separatist elements and major reactionary elements…” In other parts of the booklet it is stated: “It is essential that the Marxist theories be verified regarding religion in all kinds of material published related to research or evaluations of Islam (including news broadcasts and news papers) and that they be in parallel with the religious policies and practices of the government and party.” A paper signed by the vice director of the re-education department indicates the following:

There are laws preventing children from participating in any kind of religious activity. An example of such a law can be found in an official document stated as follows: “Parents and legal guardians are forbidden from allowing their children to participate in religious activities.”19

Documents show an increase in the numbers of Uyghur people who have been jailed or arrested on the basis of fabricated crimes of religious activity and crimes committed against national security. Among the penalties imposed, there is a penalty of being sent to “re-education in work camps,” an infamous form of punishment. Those who prepared the report indicate that religious control and forced intervention continues to encompass everything. The organization of religious activities, schools, cultural institutions, publishers and even the outlook and personal behavior of the Uyghur people are under control. The central government subjects all imams to a regular evaluation, requests them to carry out “self criticism” sessions, imposing systems of control on the mosques, removing religious teachers and students from schools, controlling literature and poetry to ensure that there are no hostile political signs and seeing every expression of displeasure with Beijing politics as a “separatist tendency”. Such a “tendency” is a capital crime under Chinese law, with the penalty being execution. Muslims who try to carry out their religious lives in a way with which the government and party do not agree are jailed, tortured and sometimes executed. The heaviest penalties are applied to those who are said to be involved in separatist activities.

Laws regulating how the affairs of ethnic and religious minorities should be managed; these laws are deemed to be state secrets. In this context, the executive director of the Chinese Human Rights Organization, Sharon Hom, has the following to say: “Beijing sees the Uyghur people as a threat to the national and ethnic structure of the Chinese nation”. Details regarding how the two laws, disclosed here for the first time, work are provided in the booklet mentioned above. According to this, even though there is no relation with national security, it is absolutely forbidden to leak any information related to ethnic minorities or religious and political issues, except those that have been specifically permitted.

Below we will give some official quotations and local eyewitness reports that disclose how China acted in the area of religious freedom before September 11, 2001; these have the status of a statutory decree or are disguised as legislation with some technical loopholes:

Wang Lequan, Regional Communist Party Secretary: “We should increase pressure on religious leaders. We should ensure that they are politically domicile. They should be committed to the homeland with feverish love, support Communist Party leaders and the socialist system, they should be opposed to national separatism and illegal religious activities, they should defend national unity and homeland integrity, and they should be consciously committed to the national laws and policies.

An Uyghur citizen: “This is a Uyghur school and most of the people working here are Uyghur. However, they are not permitted to talk about religion to their children in their houses nor in their workplaces. Talking about religion in any way is an illegal activity. They won’t even let me talk about religious issues to my own children. How can this be right?”

A Chinese official: “The students studying in our schools, your children in particular, are not focusing completely on their lessons. They are occupied with prayer, fasting and some other religious activities. Therefore, they are violating the fifth article, dated 1996, of the Autonomous Regions Education Commission. According to this article, students cannot participate in religious activities (prayer, fasting or other similar religious activities) and cannot act in contravention of the school rules.”

An Uyghur citizen: “The militia is coming to search the villages and regularly examine the people living there. They come during the nights and search the houses. If they find any religious material, they take that person in for interrogation. They say “These are illegal religious publications.” My father is a common farmer. How can he know whether the Qur’an is illegal or legal?”

An Uyghur professor working in a higher education institution in Xinjiang, where teaching traditional local music is forbidden: “I have experienced it personally. Although I am not considered to be a devout Muslim, this happened to me. I mention religious tunes in a general sense only during my lectures. These are widely spread tunes. Banning these is just nonsense. These are a part of our musical culture and our history. I need to learn these. However, in the second semester the school management told me that since there are so few students registered for my lecture, I can no longer give lectures. But this isn’t true. I have been waiting for one year now without giving any education. They won’t fire me because they don’t want me to speak out against them. I am still earning a wage from the Communist party. However, the only thing I do is to stroll around the campus or sit in my room. This is nothing but a waste. Still, it would be best for me not to talk about these issues.”

An Uyghur citizen: “My relatives and I were able to establish a mercantile business. This is something that I am proud of. Earlier I was working in an office. I was providing catering services for schools. They said to me “you can’t have a beard, not even a moustache.” I asked myself who they thought they were, interfering in my personal choices. These are our traditions. No one has the right to interfere with this. When I found an opportunity to leave the country I did. However, if you can’t find another job in the private sector, you either have difficulties or you will die of hunger.”

Finally the report relates that in “experience transfer meetings it is requested that religious functionaries tell the other participants about their hardships and incidents that they encountered during their duties. For example, a mosque imam stood up and mentioned his illegal religious lecture. Or he speaks about how the mosque was using a banned religious book. They talk among themselves about provocative elements and about a sermon that was given by another religious functionary without obtaining a prior permit, and their failure to inform the security forces. They tell how they got carried away by these wrong ideas. It is requested that other members in the group inform the authorities about a person who is doing such wrong things.”20

Demographic balance

 

Of course, this war by the Communist authorities against religion is not enough to change or destroy the identity of these lands. And it is clear that they will not be able to succeed in doing this. In particular, the Uyghur are a people who have a strong Islamic heritage and a deeply rooted civilization. On the other hand, the battle of Chinese policies against culture, religion and humanity has had great damage on China’s desires to transform this region into a Chinese canton. Denigration, oppression, the enslavement of the people in work camps, the imposition of spying on one another, frightening the locals, creating a lack of trust among people, disregarding human honor, despicable applications, like sterilizing people and playing with their dignity and honor have only awakened feelings of hate. All such applications have made deep scars within the human psychology, and are enough to make it like a volcano that is ready to erupt. This is a situation that requires self-defense. China cannot ignore these facts, and cannot continue such practices. In this context, anything that can be said about the consequences of the Chinese policies over the short or long term will be of no use. Why has China adopted such practices, particularly considering that it cannot hide them forever and that it will reap what it has sown?

It is a fact that China has not looked on the matter in this way. However, it can be said that China tends to implement such applications in order to gain time in the hope that this region will disintegrate. It is willing to do this by recreating the populace from scratch; one day it may no longer be possible to talk about a Muslim population. In this way it will become easier for both the Chinese and the world to accept Turkistan as a Chinese canton. This situation is continuing apace. The following policies are being used to this end:

The ethnic ablation policy,

The immigration of tens of millions of people of Chinese Han origins into Turkistan,

Demographic division of young population groups,

Mixing of races,

Tying to control the birth rate through various methods.

Another situation that China wants to ensure and defends violently is that of “preserving China’s integrity”, both geographically and demographically. According to the official thesis, China describes itself as: “a multi-national single state formed from 56 ethnic groups”. According to the fifth population census in 2000, there are 18 ethnic elements that can be differentiated. These are elements with a population that exceeds one million. The official thesis claims that “As the Han nation has the greatest population of all the Chinese nations, and forms 92% of the general population, other nations are designated “ethnic minorities”21 due to their low populations.” This is the description that the Chinese government deems valid. And according to this, the Han nation is the main nation that makes up China. Others nations are classified as minorities. For this reason, the Han call themselves “Big Brothers”. This nomenclature provides them with privileges in matters like leadership, guidance, governing and position, because they see themselves as the most skilled and ambitious group concerned with the future and integrity of China.

This idea was not a dominant expression during the Communist period. Marxism employs social discrimination based on class, not based on race, as is done today in China. The Marxist doctrine is not based on regionalism or race, or on any social classification. Marxist philosophy states that all human conflicts arise from capital. However, in today’s China, there is a new emphasis on the necessity of preserving “China’s Integrity” in all official documents and informational and political expressions, because the Communist ideology can no longer act as the safety valve of national unity after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the ideological system or the depletion of their real effects on China.

China, having experienced many internal dynastic conflicts throughout history, is not far from total disintegration and returning to a time of dynastic conflict. Therefore, it is not odd that the Chinese authorities describe the protests of the Uyghur people in Turkistan as efforts of “separatism and separatists”. Again, for the same reason it is not strange that official statements and the comments of authorities emphasis the following notions: “China’s Unity… National Integrity… One Nation… Strong State… One State… National Cooperation… Preservation of Country Unity… Tolerance and Stability… Development… Advancement… Modernity…” They do not use notions that are opposed to those mentioned above: “Discrimination… Radicalism… Terrorism… Devastation… Obscurantism…” The fact is that China sees the Turkistan issue as an internal affair, like Chechnya in Russia; we can see this in the expression of an official spokesman of the Chinese foreign affairs department, Chen Gang, who became deeply concerned when riots erupted in Urumqi on 05.07.2009. However, this time, the protests were only against discrimination in businesses and the discrimination against the local people, where they were relegated to second or third class citizens. After the incidents and after a meeting with high-level party officials, in a broadcast on Chinese television in 8.7.2009 the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, threatened “heavy penalties, as stated in the law, for those who were involved in the clashes.” The Chinese president was worried by the violence of these events and was concerned that they could spread to other regions outside Urumqi and Kashgaria; he made a clear reference to this: “It is very important and an urgent task that social stability in the Xinjiang region, where there are rich energy resources, be insured,”22 and this situation was a “matter of life and death”23 for the Chinese Communist party leader in Turkistan.

It is demanded by justice that it be made clear that the Turkistani people cannot be held responsible for China’s deranged mind. If it is the right of the Uyghur people to separate from China and to desire independence, then it is foolish for Han ethnic Chinese to believe that the Uyghur people should bear the burden of China’s union at the expense of their beliefs, territory, civilization, lives and property, or that the Uyghur people should simply accept the despicable proposal of the Chinese. Again, the Chinese are very aware that any proposals made in the past, present or future will be rejected by the Uyghur people. They have tried to divide the demographic infrastructure of the country with largescale importations from the east (Han nation) to the west (Turkistan), in a mad race against time.

The Malaysians adopted a national slogan when they wanted to transform into a great industrial state by 2050: “Look to the East”. Thus, they were indicating that they had taken the Japanese model as an example for development. The Chinese, however, have taken up the most despicable colonization model for the disintegration of Turkistan and use the slogan: “Hey young man! Go West”, “Xibu da kaifa”. As a result of this slogan as well as the organization of enticing tours to encourage migration applications, China has settled millions of Han Chinese into Turkistan and thus greatly changed the demographic infrastructure.

Statistics demonstrate that the demographic balance between the nations living in Turkistan. However, one must be very careful when using statistics from official sources. Information disclosed by the central or local Chinese government is that which it wants to be known. However, as we saw above, according to official legal regulations, publishing information about issues of nationalities without permission from the official authorities is considered to be a breach of national security. Thus, it is safe to say that the numbers which show the population of Uyghur citizens to number 8.5 million, that is Muslims form 60% of the total population in the region, are far from the actual numbers. On the other hand, statistics that show the Han nation as consisting of 7.5 million and forming 40% of the population are not to be trusted either. The statistics that are closer to the truth are those that show the Uyghur population as being between 18 and 25 million. While there is no data proving or disproving the accuracy of this census, considering the nature of incidents, the latter data can be seen to be closer to reality. If we take into consideration the reaction of nationalist Chinese and the concern at official levels every time there is a protest these numbers are more trustworthy. Then where is the problem?

The Uyghur people are greatly concerned that the demographic structure of their country will be completely reversed in the near future. Similarly, the Chinese are concerned that the region will escape them and their economic investment in Turkistan will be at great risk. Moreover, they are facing disintegration threats to their country. For this reason, during the 1990s the Chinese put into a program into place that was known as the “Conquest of Eastern Turkistan”, economically and demographically.24 According to this, it was planned that two hundred million Chinese from the Han nation would settle in this region. If no preventives or delaying measures are to be taken, and these dangerous ideals are realized, the Turkistan people, and their history and identity in this country will be erased forever.

3) Social marginalization

When faced by such practices it is totally normal that the Uyghur people are concerned about the future. They observe a decrease in the birth rate among the Uyghur with great despair and resentment. They perceive how the demographic structure has been changed and how the balance has been turned to the advantage of the Han Chinese in some cities. If the Chinese authorities try to prevent the Uyghur people from employing their rights in their own country, from benefiting from their own natural resources, which are used by China without any control mechanisms, then the Uyghurs have the right to resist the Chinese using every financial, spiritual, historic, cultural, and if necessary armed, means of resistance to hand. Moreover, the Chinese are imposing a variety of methods of discrimination in the cruelest possible fashion in fields of business, education, health and residence. Some of these methods are:

a) Forced migration for young girls and as a result an imbalance between males and females,

b) Voluntary or forced marriages between races,

c) Punishing those who request to the rights that have been grabbed from them. China perceives such persons as a threat for the country and aims to eradicate them. It either makes them leave their country or puts them into work camps where their human honor is disregarded. This entire thing means more human resources are wasted.

d) Birth control, the sterilization of women and forced abortions,

e) Dragging hundreds of women into China’s prostitution market,25

f) A policy that intentionally ensures a lack of education. Chinese students, qualified workers, experts and technicians are all encouraged to emigrate from the Turkistan territory. All this causes negative discrimination against the Uyghur people in education, rehabilitation and business opportunities.

g) Prisons and work camps are being constructed in Turkistan to punish criminals. Later on, these are used as migration devices, and people are being settled on these lands. In addition, there is an attempt to increase corruption and the crime rate by forming a criminal element in the country.

However, the worst thing is that the Turkistan people are sliding towards a more dangerous point, social marginalization due to the disruption of the demographic balance. This is happening to such an extent that the level of political demands has been lowered, being decreased to the level of social requests, culminating in the Urumqi incident of 5.7.2009. In an interview with the International Uyghur Conference chairman Mrs. Rabia Kadir, given to the German Focus magazine on 12.09.2009, she lays the responsibility for the violence of the incident on the Chinese government: “The Chinese government has given us some kind of autonomy in the last few years. However, they are still treating us like animals and see us as second class citizens.” The American Christian Science Monitor Journal has stressed this issue and indicated that the Uyghur people “are seen as second class citizen who do not even have the right to be represented at even the lowest level of government commissions and who are forbidden to use their own language in their own schools.”26 The American Uyghur Union general secretary Alim Seittof says: “All the Uyghur people are asking for is that China stops ethnic discrimination. However, they are facing unimaginable pressure.”27 If we interpret these statements according to sociology, then we see the notion of “social marginalization”. However, social marginalization here does not occur within the context established by European capitalism, which was built on the ruins feudalism by European reformists at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, but rather within a context forced by Chinese policies.

When the wheel of European capitalism and industrialization started to turn at the beginning of the 19th century, the feudal system, which had maintained control over the European economy in a general sense, naturally had to collapse. However, as with all other large scale changes, many problems were faced in order to provide social integration with the new system. New modernization movements slid the ground out from under the feet of villagers. A large number of group peasants found themselves unemployed. The center of the national economy became the city. At the same time, intense modernization began in cities. The cities began to be renewed, renovated and former residential units were rebuilt in keeping with the development. When enough excess capital was generated by industrialization, finance was also provided. However, some peasants found it hard to change their former life styles and to adapt to the new one. They preferred to live in places that became known as suburbs or ghettos. The villages found themselves at the margin of European cities and in suburbs. It is at this point that the European reformists adopted the idea of persuading these strata with kindness or by force. For the welfare and future of these strata, for them to have an honorable life, they had to be integrated into the system. Now: Did China do this in Turkistan?

The modernization activities carried out in the cities and villages of Eastern Turkistan To the time this paper was prepared have merely increased the power, influence, authority and capital of the Han nation. For the Uyghur nation, which was distanced from these activities, the results were the opposite. All indications show that the Uyghur people have not been included in the industrial development plan or wealth. This economic project is completely a Chinese project. Apart from the residents of cities where Han ethnic groups are located, the residents of the country have had no share in the income. Now, let us ask a second question: If those who dominate the cities are the Han people who have immigrated into these lands, where are the real owners of these lands, the Uyghur people?

The geography of Eastern Turkistan consists of a vast area (1.6 million m²). It is covered by the Taklamakan Desert and chains of mountains. The population can only reside in the valleys and foothills of the mountains, near sources of water. These places make up 4.5% of the country’s territory.28 According to Hong Kong, and the director of The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China Jean-Francoise Huchet: “The Uyghur people are trapped in a rural area. Contrary to what the other part of the nation obtains from the petrochemical factories and corporations, they have to employ themselves in agricultural, which provides them with no financial or spiritual income.”29 In this context, when we look at the indicators, the difference between the city residents and peasants has increased by threefold. On the other hand, the Christian Science Monitor presented the following in a study that was carried out on the country in 2008: “Thanks to government aid, most of the factories and corporations belong to the Han nation. And these establishments do not accept any work force other than those of the same ethnic origins. Therefore, the Uyghur people are forced to work in degrading jobs, such as servants.”30

Thus, statements by the prime minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, broadcasted by the television channel NTV and transmitted by Reuters News Agency in 10.7.2009 is by no mean exaggeration or political maneuver: “The events that are happening in China are nothing less than mass murder,” and “it is not possible to describe this event in any other way”. The World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilshat Rashit did not exaggerate when he made the following comment from exile in Sweden: “the misery of the Uyghur people who are tired of suffering in silence is increasing day by day.”31

4) Turkistan after events of September 11

 

Turkistan houses not only houses some of China’s strategic defense systems, like ballistic missiles; it is also the nuclear testing ground of China. This situation offers an explanation as to why China wants to keep these lands under its rule. To say that China wishes to form a buffer zone, protecting itself from a terrorist attack or Russian influence, which may come from the West, is only a partial interpretation of Chinese policies. China is feverishly trying to make use of the events of September 11. Therefore, it is making political gains to ensure security, even if this means destroying the Uyghur people in the process. On the contrary, what kind of relationship can such events have with the invasion of another country, its renaming, and the seizure of its natural resources, as well as trying to divide and disintegrate the land, waging war against its people and its beliefs by every mean possible?

Nothing can be said in this context. However, the current international climate may present China with the opportunity to make some local or regional gains. This is also a question of the conjunction of benefits with Pakistan, India and Russia, and more particularly, with Western Turkistan. Moreover, China has lowered the level of freedom to a minimum, by improving its internal legislation system. In this way it hopes to confront any public protest. Even though these protests have never been classified as anything more than “security incidents” until now, the penalties for these incidents can include execution. Let’s continue. This can be called running away to the future instead of facing the truth.

At an international level

 

The Chinese authorities used the terms “separatism and separatists” and “extremism and extremists” against Uyghur people before September 11. However, after the events of September 11, China perceived that here was “opportunity not to be missed”. And it started to use the terms “terrorism and terrorist” when describing the Uyghur people. Thus an exploitation of security issues began at both local and national levels. China announced that it was joining the “Struggle against international terrorism” with America a few days after September 11. And retrospectively, they described public protests and some incidents that occurred in Turkistan in the 1990s as terrorist activities. In this context, the foreign affair department spokesman Sun Yuxi said the following on 18.10.2001: “Terrorist activities carried out by activists from Eastern Turkistan within China’s territory do not threaten only the security and stability of China, but also of the entire region.” Accordingly, China has declared that “it will join the international community in their struggle against terrorism, which is also present in Eastern Turkistan”. What has China gained by joining this campaign?

The essential objective of the Shanghai Five platform, formed by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Tajikistan in 26.04.1996, including Uzbekistan in 15.06. 2001, was to solve border disputes and provide unity in activities that required trust in the military arena. All aimed to decrease tension along the border regions as a beginning to signing joint agreements. Therefore, this platform was not initially established as an international regional organization; any such organization would have to have a contract, with pre-determined principles within that contract and rules that regulate operations, as well as requirements for membership.32 However, in later meetings, this platform became essentially transformed into an organization that speaks in the name of Chinese policy. As members started to use the same notions in their statements or joint declarations, this became more and more clear.

The following expressions can be seen in one of the twelve clauses of the  “Bishkek-Kirghizstan” declaration, published after the summit in which the five countries participated in August, 1999: “The parties state the importance of an effective struggle against international terrorism, drug and arms smuggling, organized illegal immigration and other forms of crime together with national discrimination and religious radicalism.” However, as can be observed, China and other platform countries are not just struggling with incidents or fighting against terrorism, they have also suggested building a Center for war against Terrorism, Separatism and Radicalism in June 2000, at the Dushanbe-Tajikistan summit before September 11; later they carried out the opening of just such a center. And after one year, the permanent committee of the Chinese parliament decided to approve Shanghai Agreement, which prescribed the struggle against terrorism, separatism and radicalism.33 Here is the question: Is it possible for this forum to produce policies or theses that are separate from the view of China and its new allies? Is there a program over and above that of China?

Without a doubt, the events of September 11 have given an opportunity to China, Russia, and Central Asian countries, even to India and Pakistan. By exploiting the feverish attitude of the West in fighting the Al-Qaida, Islamic movements and even national movements in the region, they have exploited internal calculations with great refinement. China and Russia have started cooperating in the “war against terrorism” at a meeting between the two countries in Beijing on 28.11.2001. Later, the level of coordination between the two countries increased and reached the level of a commitment to “struggle against internal and external terrorism of all kinds and levels” at a meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 7.1.2002. This was referred to by the Chinese minister of foreign affairs Jiaxuan, who declared that six countries are preparing for the “establishment of a regional agency for the war against terrorism”. This was not just building a center, but also working to “forming a mechanism for crisis management”. Jiaxuan expressed this as follows: “All member countries support China’s position and its efforts against terrorists in Eastern Turkistan and Russia’s efforts against Chechen terrorists. All perceive these efforts as part of the global war against terrorism.”34 At the end of the meetings, ministers signed a joint declaration and warned against tendencies of “terrorism, separatism and extremism” in all member countries. Even though this declaration reflects the benefits of related countries, in reality the language of the declaration was written on China’s terms. And this supports the following:

China has once again started to force its logic and language on the member countries,

It has earned regional legitimacy to suppress the Uyghur people in Turkistan,

It has obtained the right to monitor and oppress Uyghur people living in Russia and member countries and to prohibit all forms of political and cultural activities. In return, China has agreed to the fact that:

As Turkistan is a Chinese internal affair, Chechnya is a Russian internal affair.

Before two weeks had passed after the declaration of Communist Party, dated 5.1.2002, which accused Islamic groups within the region of encouraging «separatist ideas», the Chinese government published a statement entitled the “White Book”, 8,000 words long, under the title: “It is not possible for terrorist Eastern Turkistan separatist forces to go unpunished for their crimes.” This book firmly places the responsibility for terrorism upon the Turkistan forces with a retrospective and disgusting opportunism,35 and mentions these forces as “Terrorist… Separatist… Radical”; there are no exceptions or distinctions regarding any peaceful forces. At least there is a distinction between a civil organization and a military one. But it goes even further by denying Turkistan history totally and uses the term “former colonialists” to describe Muslim historians. It depicts the Turkistan people as terrorists, dating back far in the past. However Islam is, according to the expressions of the same book, a “peaceful religion”! On the other hand, this book tries to illustrate an ideal portrait and expresses this as: “different races with noble traditions living in Xinjiang are represented by their love for national union and the integrity of the state.” The Chinese government believes that such expressions are more than enough for the Uyghur people to happily greet millions of Han Chinese as the modern Ansar (people from Medina who helped the immigrant Muslims) or new conquerors. As a matter of fact, the Prophet Muhammad said that “do whatever you like if you have no shame.” How can it be possible to explain why such a great state, which should be protecting its population from a moral collapse of this magnitude and level, has fallen into such lies and vanity.

Without a doubt, China is not aware of what has been written in its own White Book:

China does not recognize the history of this country. It denies its feverish efforts to divide this country, its crimes of ethnic cleansing and its robbing of the resources.

China also denies the war that it has declared on Islam, a religion it describes as “the opium of rights… opposed to science… Islam is the invention of wealthy Arabs… Islam is in the service of colonization” in posters that are hung on avenues and roads.

China does not apologize for its crimes against the Uyghur, for the sufferings that it has caused them or for its attacks on even the most private parts of the human psychology.

On the contrary, it tries to have this prodigal thesis adopted by the international community.

All this determination, forgery and contradictions within official statements continue because China’s statements are far removed from being persuasive to others; it can only persuade itself. And this is a policy that we call running away into the future. Without a doubt, this situation is a psychological condition that occurred to the “Big Brothers”. It did not falter one step, even after the Chinese government accused four Turkistan organizations36 of terrorism in 15.12.2003. These organizations are:

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement ETIM (Turkistan Islamic Party),

International Youth Conference WUYC, Munich- Germany,

Eastern Turkistan Media Center ETIC, Munich- Germany,

Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization ETLO.

More recently, posters hung by the government in Kashgaria appeared in 3.2.2010. These posters warn the public against the Islamic Liberation Party and describe this organization as a “terrorist group”. The following slogans were printed on the posters: “Strongly Protest against the Islamic Liberation Party” and “The Islamic Liberation Party is a terrorist organization that promotes violence”.

However such declarations found no echo in the international arena. On the contrary, Amnesty International rejected these calls. And it stated that the International Youth Conference and the Eastern Turkistan Media Center organizations, which are working in Germany and reporting human rights violations by China against the Uyghur people are two political groups that desire autonomy or independence for Turkistan. It also added this note: The Chinese government does not make any differentiation between peaceful requests regarding freedom and the right of religious practices, meeting and expression and armed activities. Amnesty also stated that China sees all forms requests about greater autonomy or independency as a separatist movement and even opponents who carry out peaceful activities are accused of terrorism. Therefore, China is searching for international support to suppress all forms of opposition.37

While the “White Book” describes riots and the cries of the Uyghur people as “rapacious”, it cannot see that the rapaciousness of China cannot be tolerated even by those who hear or read about it. However, these people have witnessed most of the silent massacre that the Uyghur have suffered behind curtains over the decades. If it were not for China’s rapacious hunger, perhaps millions of people would be unaware of these events.

At the regional level

 

Parallel to the international campaign, after September 11 China started to make changes in its criminal laws. While the world was busy searching for suspects inside the eye of the storm and monitoring reactions, the Western media and international security associations started to spread the news that closed envelopes had been sent to the post boxes of some important persons, official bureaus and institutions. According to these rumors, there was anthrax within these envelopes. This event was transformed into a campaign to spread fear. Suddenly support started to accumulate for the campaign known as the war against international terrorism. However, as suddenly as the campaign started, it came to an end.

Only the Chinese were busy with changes in their criminal laws to fight crimes regarding anthrax and radioactive materials. In reality, they were trying to find official approval of many customary laws used against the Uyghur people in the atmosphere that had been created by September 11. “Know your opportunity well; know when the wind is blowing in your favor”. That was just what the Chinese were doing. On 17.12.2001, the New China News Agency announced that the Xinhua parliament had started a marathon session to discuss a draft of changes that would give the government greater constitutional rights against activities related to terrorism. The agency related the statements of some persons, describing them as leading parliamentarians: “Changes are made to give rights to authorized bodies to protect the national security, social order, life and property of citizens.” “These new changes are expected to give the Chinese government a wiser legal frame in its war against terrorism.”38

As is known by those who study China’s criminal laws, the penalty of execution is given for a series of civil crimes like drug smuggling, armed assault, rape and murder. The penalty for terrorism was only a prison sentence of up to 10 years. However, according to the draft of changes approved by Congress on 24.12.2001, the penalty was increased execution. The Congress legislation affairs committee vice chairman explained that: “Those who will suffer this penalty are people who spread poisonous, radioactive or contaminating materials” and “Those who are involved in the production, trade and storage of these materials.” It must be remembered that the penalty for spreading poisonous materials was a maximum of three years before, according to China Daily journal dated 25.12.2001. Penalties for “those who spread false threats or incorrect information regarding terrorist activities” may be as much as “five years in prison”.

Without a doubt those who followed the Uyghur riot in Urumqi observed how peaceful protests from the public requesting an investigation into the deaths of workers employed in Chinese factories turned into a massacre at the hands of army and police forces. As a result 1,400 were killed and injured. In contrast to this, those who saw the Chinese state president Hu Jintao on Chinese television on 8.7.2009 throwing threats in forms of “ heavy penalties will be given, as specified in the law to those involved in clashes”. The regional Communist Party director Li Zhi explained that the president had said: “The leaders of the incident could be executed.”39

The question that we should ask ourselves in the framework of new legislative changes is this: Did the people who were protesting the violence and who have been labeled “anarchists” by the Chinese government spread anthrax during the protests? Is this why the death penalty was being applied to some of them later on? Does China have the right to apply the death penalty for social or political activities? Or can it refrain from explaining the truth about a decision that has been given in courts, using the excuse that it is related to state security? If these secret practices are legal, then why are the executions not carried out without any reason of state terror being given?

Those who think of themselves as “Big Brothers” should become enlightened with “Eastern Wisdom” and review their attitudes and practices after these incidents. However, since they have become so caught up in events they will continue to run forward, transferring the war against terrorism to the army. After joint military exercises with Russian forces for the war against terrorism, The China Daily Journal of 31.07.2009 published the following statement from General Meng Guo Ping: “Our army is preparing according to a government order against terrorism activities based on the experience gained over the last few years.”

For the first time in its 82 year old history, the army has begun to take on tasks with a political characteristic. According to the first reading regarding these kinds of practices, the task of keeping Eastern Turkistan as a Chinese territory will be the task of the army, as it is in Russia. This situation bodes a very dangerous legislative and official assignment of political leadership under the Turkistan administration. In fact, the army needs no government order to guide its policies or military operations. However, the following quotation from an interview with General Ping in the same journal explains the situation: “The army can take on the task of maintaining more special forces to fight and greater intelligence support against terrorism”. “We will be involved in more information exchange with foreign military forces. Joint efforts will be used to demilitarize terrorists in outside operations. This includes seeking and bringing out terrorists.”

 

Conclusion

 

The era of lying, cheating, deceit, forgery, falsification and denying has come to an end. And the period of silent massacres has also ended. From now on, stubbornness, arrogance and hiding one’s weapons have lost their effect in determining the faith of nations and peoples. The proverb “Search for science even if it is in China” has now lost its meaning.

Although the Islamic public suffers from a great lack of information about what is happening in Turkistan, the Urumqi incidents have ended the silence that has lasted for decades. The resistance of a strong people who can be supported and helped in their time of need against the cruelest colonization system that has existed for decades has surfaced.

Moreover, these events have created a bitter hatred against China among the Muslim public. China, who has for decades played the role of supporter and friend for problems in the Islamic world against Israel and the USA in international meetings is actually the one who has been cruel to Islam and Muslims in its own lands.

China knows that the official positions of poor Arab states make them helpless in the Uyghur cause. While the reason for this can be economic benefits, it may also be that they are experiencing the same or similar problems in their own country.40 Or they may have adopted a Western thesis and abandoned all kinds of resistance. However, if one day, whether at a national or international level, political and cooperative positions in the Islamic world are shaped according to benefit and ideology, then tomorrow it can be shaped according to beliefs. Without a doubt, observations regarding national resistance demonstrate that they have begun to free themselves from their ideologies.

Finally, I would like to clearly state that China is in a great dilemma. However, Turkistan is also in great danger. If “three powers; radicalism, separatist tendencies and terrorism are disastrous both for China and for countries in the region”41, then China should understand that it can be gathering a storm for others. And if this case is realized, Turkistan will only be the spark that sets of the flames that will consume China.

***********************************

Endnotes

 

1 Quote from the novel Turkistan Nights by Najeeb Al-Kilani.

2 Prepared together with Mohammad Amin Islami et-Turkistani, Rahmetullah İnayetullah et-Turkistani. “Hakaik an’it-Turkistani’sh-Sharkiyye” (Facts about Eastern Turkistan),

http://www.uyghurweb.net/Ar/MISLAMIY.pdf.

3 The notion of ethnic origin of dynasties means using the principle of attitude and activities against a special part of an ethnic group.

4 White Book was published under the title of «It›s not possible for Terrorist Eastern Turkistan Powers to Get Away with Their Crimes» in Beijing by Information Office by the Chinese State Counsel. A summary of the book was given in People of China Journal in its issue of 22.01.2002. See.

 http://arabic.people.com.cn/200201/22/ara20020122_50388.html.

5 Muhammed Seyyid Kutub, Muslim-u Turkistani’sh-SHarkiyye. Mezabih ve Tecahul, (Eastern Turkistan Muslims… Massacres and Ignorance), 11.07.2009, http://www.turkistanweb.com/?p=523. According to statistics from 1940 the Chinese population in Eastern Turkistan was 202,239. The ration to the total population did not exceed 5. 44%. Moreover, these consisted of military personnel, workers and Chinese merchants. At that date, the general population of Eastern Turkistan was 3,730,061. See Rahmetullah Ahmed Rahmeti, “et-Tehciru’s-Siniy fi Turkistani’sh-Sharkiyye” (The Chinese Migration in Eastern Turkistan), Rabitatu’l-Alemi’lİslami, Mekke-i Mukerreme, Da’vetu’l-Hak series, issue 93, 1989, p. 69, quoted from: Lattimore, O.: Pivot of Asia, p-79. Web page of Rabita:

http://www.themwl.org/Publications/default.aspx?t=1&cidi=303&l=AR.

 

6 China has imposed this logic on Western capitalism as a whole. A Palestinian official who has long historical relations with China has summarized the subject like this: “In the second presidency period of former USA president Ronald Reagan, the United States of America stopped mentioning human rights and general freedom. Particularly after China›s threat that it would raise the level of freedom of its citizens and provide them immigration freedom provided that the USA and Europe Union opened their gates to Chinese people, the voices became silent even more.” While talking about what the role of China would be in the coming period, the Chinese gave the following answer: “We will be a great state; you will see our warships and aircraft carriers patrolling the seas and oceans.” April 2008, a special interview with Hani el-Hassan, member of Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee and of el-Fetih movement Center Committee.

7 Rahmetullah Ahmed Rahmeti, “Et-Tehciru’s-Siniy fi Turkistani’sh-Sharkiyye (The Chinese Migration in Eastern Turkistan)”, ibid., p. 127, quoting places: (1) McMillan, D.H. Xinjiang and Wang Enmao P-592; (2) Lena H. Sun: Minorities the Chinese Live together warily; Washington Post, Jan. 14, 1985.

8 Age, quoted from; Pringle, J. “The Secret China-Traveling the Exotic Khunjerab Pass;” Newsweek,June 16, 1986, P-69-A and 69-D.

9 İftikar el-Bindari, “Turkistan Mencem-u Seravatu’s-Sin (Turkistan is the source of The Chinese Fortunes)”, islamonline website, 12.07.2009,

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=ArticleA_C&cid=1246346235114&pagename=Zone-Arabic-News%2FNWALayout.

10 Adoption of Islam in Eastern Turkistan was in the period of Caliph Abdul Melik bin Mervan (86H =705 M). Kutebye b. Muslim el-Bahili h 96 (715m) conquered Capitol city of Kashgar later became famous as little Bukhara.

11 Hakaik an’it-Turkistani’sh-Sharkiyye, ibid.

12 Abdul-Aziz Cengiz Han, Turkistan Kalb-u Asya (Turkistan is the heart of Asia). There is much interesting information and details regarding Turkistan history. This book contains information about the role of the region during the Islamic period and about the lives of several local scholars who made this region one of the greatest scientific areas in Islamic history. For example Imam, Hafiz, Huccet Abu Abdullah Muhammad el-Buhari, Tirmizi, Nisai, the author of the book el-Keshaf Allame Carullah ez-Zamahsheri, the author of the book el-Miftah Yusuf es-Sekkaki, SHeyh Abdulkahir el-Curcani, Allame Saduddin et-Taftazani, Allame Seyyid SHerif el-Curcani, and el-Fakih, the author of the book el-Mebsut esh-SHeyh SHemsu’l-Eimme es-Sarahsi, esh-SHeyh Sediduddin el-Kashgari, the author of the book el-Hidaye Ali b. Ebi Bekir el-Merginani, Allame Sadrushsheria, Tacushsheria, Burhanushsheria Ebul-Berekat Abdullah b. Ahmed en-Nesefi, Imam Ebu Mansur el-Maturidi, Ebu Bekir el-Harzemi, es-Sûli ve Mahmud el-Kashgari, esh-SHashi, es-Semergandi, en-Nesefi, el-Kashgari, el-Hûteni, el-Harzemi, et-Tirmizi, el-Belhi, el-Özcendi, el-Hûcendi, el-Farabi, el-Merğinani, el-Fergani ve el-Buhari, Ebu Nasr el-Farabi, Ali b. Sina, Halid b. Abdulmelik, Ebu Yezid el-Belhi (first person to write a geography book in the ancient Greek style) and Benû Musa b. SHakir Abbasi.

13 The word Uyghur means “giving strength to one another” and “being united”. The Uyghur nation dates back to the third century B.C. This nomenclature is one that was formed as a result of unity or cooperation of noble clans.

14 See: Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’l-Muslime ve’l-Kadiyyetu’l-Mensiyye (Musluman Turkistan ve Unutulan Dava)”, Al-Manar al-Cedid magazine, no 21, Zulka’de 1423, 2003 winter issue. http://www.turkistanweb.com/?cat=29.

15 Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’l-Muslime ve’l-Kadiyyetu’l-Mensiyye».

16 Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’sh-SHarkiyya ve’l-Ihtilalu’s-Siniyye (Eastern Turkistan and Chinese Occupation)”, 06.06.2004.

17 Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’sh-SHarkiyya ve’l-Ihtilalu’s-Siniyye (East Turkistan and The Chinese Invasion)”, 06.06.2004.

18 “Es-Sin: el-Kam’u’d-Diniyyu Li’l-Muslimine’l-Uygur (China: Religious Pressure applied on Uyghur Muslims)”, New York, 10.04.2005 Human Rights Watch for the brief see:

http://www.hrw.org/de/news/2005/04/10-1.

19 Those under 18 are forbidden from going to mosques and from practicing prayer by the Chinese authorities.

20 See, Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’sh-SHarkiyye Ba’de Ahdas-i 11 Sebtenbir 2001”, (Eastern Turkistan after events of September 11, 2001), Al-Manar al-Cedid magazine, no 27, July 2004.

21 “Hakaik ve Arkam” The Chinese official web site:

http://arabic.china.org.cn/china/archive/sssz06/node_7012342.htm.

 

22 China State President Threatened to Shoot “Those who incited Uyghur Incidents”. 09.07,2009. Islamonline: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=ArticleA_C&pagename=Zone-Arabic-News/NWALayout&cid=1246346204095.

 

23 “China is threatening to declare life or death war against Terrorism” English Reuters News Agency, 14.08.2008: http://ara.reuterp.com/article/idARAOLR43156920080814.

24 Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’l-Muslime ve’l-Kadiyyetu’l-Mensiyye”, (Muslim Turkistan and Forgotten Cause), Ibid.

25 In this context, there is statistical information given in the report published by «Turkistan Islamic Party Propaganda Center» (1 Rebiulevvel 1430): “2 million Muslim girls were brought to China. In return, a large number of Chinese people were brought in Turkistan. Therefore, the Chinese wants to mix the bloodlines of the Turkistan people. Those who stand against this policy are either jailed or given a fine, and moreover they are subjected to disgrace and violence.”

26 Ahmed Amr “El-Uygur Muslimu’s-Sin el-Mensiyyun”, quoted from Mufekkiretu’l-İslam web site: http://www.islammemo.cc/Tkarer/Tkareer/2009/07/06/84599.html.

 

27 “Uyghur People are upsetting Chinese celebrations”, Al-Jazeera television, extracted from Los Angeles Times. 06.07.2009, http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/434E74CE-09D1-4A13-B650-45298F300F12.htm.

28 Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’sh-SHarkiyye Ba’de Ahdas-i 11 Sebtenbir 2001 (Eastern Turkistan after events of September 11, 2001)”, http://www.turkistanweb.com/?p=605.

29 Iftikar el-Bindari, “Turkistan Mencem-u Seravatu’s-Sin (Turkistan is the source of Chinese Treasures)”, Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 “There are hundreds of victims during protests in Western part of China ”. El-Jazeere Television, 6/7/2009, http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/BABFD01B-C073-4580-A4E3-6F0EFF3F299B.htm.

32 Ali es-Salih, “Shanghai Forum… Can it transform into a new global axis?”, 3.10.2008, Al-Jazeera Television, http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9570F622-9AF6-4176-A1F3-5AAA8628C828.htm.

33 “China has approved two international agreements regarding war against terrorism”, 28.10.2001, http://aljazeera.net/News/archive/archive?ArchiveId=18901.

34 “China and Shanghai Five Organization Promising War against Terrorism”, 07.01.2002, http://www.aljazeera.net/News/archive/archive?ArchiveId=23856.

35 See Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’l-Muslime ve’l-Kadiyyetu’l-Mensiyye”, Ibid.

36 See Tuhti Ahun Arkın, “Turkistanu’sh-SHarkiyye Ba’de Ahdas-i 11 Sebtenbir 2001 (Eastern Turkistan after events of September 11, 2001)”, Al-Manar al-Cedid magazine, no 27, July 2004.

37 Amnesty Bulletin No 288, London: 19.12.2003.

38 “China is discussing to make changes in its Criminal Laws in its war against Terrorism”. Al-Jazeera television, 17.12.2001, http://www.aljazeera.net/News/archive/archive?ArchiveId=22507.

39 Tight Security Measures in Shengyang and Concerned Waiting of Muslims, Al-Jazeere television, 09.07.2009, http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E1293941-C813-45D8-B448-EB53A06981EE.htm.

40 See “Turkiya Tettehimu Bekin bi’l-ibadeti’l-Cemaiyye ve Sefiru’l-Yemeni fi’s-Sın Yettehimu Muslimi’l-Uygur fi’s-Sin bi’l-irhab”, (Turkey accuses Beijing with genocide, China Ambassador in Yemen accuses Uyghur Muslims with terrorism ), 25.07.2009, marebpress web site:

 http://marebpresp..net/news_detailp.php?sid=17754.

41 “China insists on stating that they have proofs showing those involved in the incident as being in contact with some forces outside the country”, 10.7.2009, Economic Bulletin, No 5751,

 http://www.aleqt.com/2009/07/10/article_250448.html.

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

Amnesty International. Bulletin No 288: London: 19.12.2003.

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