Mercifully, Hitler’s plan to carry out genocide not only of Jews, gays, disabled, but Slavs, was brought to a halt. But he provided the historical precedent for similar genocides today, notably of Palestinians by Israel, the latest being of Uighurs by China.
China’s latest move in its ‘Strike Hard Campaign Against Terrorism’, launched in 2014, a programme of ‘re-education’ camps for Uighur Muslims and the kidnapping and forced marriages of Uighur women to Han Chinese -- legalized rape -- are unbelievable. But so were Hitler’s Kristallnacht and systematic dispossession and expulsion of European Jews. Yet, just as protests then were half-hearted, never daring to stop the brazen atrocities that culminated in genocide, protests against China’s actions are half-hearted.
The only western Muslim to visit Xinjiang, Olsi Jazexhi, a journalist from Albania, went to expose what he thought was "western propaganda", but came away shocked at China's treatment of the Uighurs, posting a youtube video showing terrified Uighurs praising China and renouncing Islam.
23 countries including France, the UK and the US denounced the repression of the Uighurs at the UN Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs. Nevertheless, Beijing won the support of 54 countries. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) refused to protest, and 14 members – including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, the UAE, Qatar and Algeria -- praised the Communist Party’s management of Xinjiang in a UN vote in July. Egypt’s dictator and the Saudi prince (who controls the OIC’s purse-strings) even commend China in its fight against terrorism.
This contrasts to the OIC response to similar atrocities by Myanmar of the country’s Rohingyas. Many Muslim countries – including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey – rallied to the defence of the Muslim minority group in Myanmar.
This hypocrisy merely shows China’s clout vs Myanmar’s. No one (except backwater Myanmar) suffers from the pious words, but woe to anyone who dares cross China’s path. ‘China has managed to win these countries’ support because they need Chinese investment,’ says Sophie Richardson, director for China at Human Rights Watch. Erdogan was supportive as are Turks, but last year went silent, focusing on trade talks with Beijing, and refrained from signing the 23 states’ letter condemning the repression in Xinjiang.
Iran is especially caught in the dilemma of the need for Chinese support, given its total isolation under US pressure. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has periodically expressed concern about China’s treatment of its Muslim minority and Russia’s policy in Chechnya, but not enough to endanger close relations with both Moscow and Beijing. The biggest hypocrites are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have even deported displaced Uighurs back to China to certain death.
The problem of east Turkestan, China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, goes back to China's retaking of east Turkestan in 1949. The remote region came under Han sovereignty only in the 17th century, but after numerous revolts expelled Qing officials in 1864 and founded an independent Kashgaria kingdom, recognised by the Ottoman Empire, Russia and Great Britain, which even had a mission in the capital, Kashgar. As usual British support depended on its imperial schemes and when the Chinese attacked in 1876, fearing Tsarist expansion, Great Britain supported the Manchu invasion forces. The Brits (excuse me, the Manchus) "won" and East Turkestan became Xinjiang.
The Soviets established the Revolutionary Uighur Union in 1921, but dissolved the organisation in 1926 when Stalin abandoned dreams of world revolution. Undeterred, Uighur independence activists staged several uprisings, briefly in 1933 and then in 1944. In 1949, East Turkestan's revolutionaries agreed to form a confederacy within Mao's People's Republic of China; however, on the way to Beijing to negotiate the terms, the Chinese plane crash, killing all the leaders. The Chinese army immediately invaded what is now Xinjiang (new frontier) Uighur Autonomous Region. As with the Tibetans a decade later, East Turkestan Republic loyalists went into exile.
Uprisings occurred through the 1990s, supported by exiles in the West and Western governments, who are happy to use disgruntled expatriates from countries such as Iraq, Iran, China and Russia as geopolitical pawns, promoting unrest and calling for independence. The World Uighur Congress (WUC), based in Munich, and the Uighur American Association work hand-in-glove with the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy.
The Uighurs and Tibetans have old and unique cultures which the Chinese would do well to respect and nurture within greater China.
No dice. Chinese plans today no doubt look to the 18th century campaign when, in 1765, the Manchu Emperor ordered that an Uighur rebel town be massacred, and the men executed and the women and children enslaved. Thus does history repeat itself.
Compromise, not disenfranchise
As China regrouped under Mao, both the Uighurs and Tibetans were reincorporated into greater China. Understandably, Uighurs would like independence, but failing that, at least not genocide. Like the vast majority of Muslims, they are willing to tolerate an unjust ruler, 'unless you see open disbelief regarding which you have proof from Allah.' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The present ‘Strike Hard Campaign Against Terrorism’, launched in 2014, clearly crosses that line. Such Maoist-style slogans hide the grim truth of Han chauvinism and approaching genocide, and will merely goad desperate Uighurs to further violence.
Like most serious problems in an era of extreme globalization, the Uighurs’ plight becomes the world’s plight. Like Palestinians expelled from their lands, Uighur refugees are spreading around the world, already more than one million. Over 200,000 in Kazakhstan, roughly 50,000 in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Canada is a home to 1,600 Uighurs (and many more Tibetans and Falun Gong). And all Muslims have a duty to stand for persecuted Muslims.
A measured response by China to separatists’ demands would keep the vast majority of Uighurs in line. This open attempt to destroy their culture, including confiscating Qurans, destroying mosques, enslavement of men, legal rape of Uighur women, forcing them to eat pork is a recipe for disaster. China is following the example of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov, now mercifully dead, who inspired the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a militant Islamist group formed in 1998, which became a key supporter of al-Qaeda and then ISIS. But for all its notoriety, like al-Qaeda in its heyday, probably only 500 strong.
The massive recent influx of Han Chinese, who now make up more than 50 per cent of the population (70 per cent in the major cities Urumqi and Kashgar), has reduced Uighurs to a minority in their homeland, ominously called Xinjiang (New Frontier) in Chinese. The use of Eastern Turkistan, the traditional name for this region, is outlawed, along with the blue star-crescent Uighur flag. Ethnic Han Chinese dominate nearly all big businesses in the region. All Uighurs must study Chinese, and very few Uighurs can dream of going to university. In the past year, China has upped the ante, calmly carrying out a concrete plan to wipe out the entire culture.
China is clearly banking on western Islamophobia, led by Trump, who calls Egyptian dictator Sisi ‘my favourite dictator’.
Islam is fair game. and it's not only Uighurs. Chinese Hui Muslims, even more populous than Uighur (11m) are totally peaceful/ integrated, not a hint of terrorism, and their mosques too are being destroyed and Qurans confiscated, destroyed, soon to be replaced by government approved Qurans. What Muslim will buy into that? This is not a feel-good assimilation.
China creates more terrorist actions by trying to erase the Uighur. They are Muslim. You can't force them to convert/ drop Allah. Islam is against force in religion (which is why it's still growing fast, despite the horrors Muslims live under).
After the genocide of Jews in WWII, 'I am a Jew,' just as 'I am a Palestinian’ after 1967, and now, ‘I am an Uighur'. In our increasingly brutal, warlike 21st century, this list can only grow. Until we stop it.
Peter Myers writes, ‘China's forced marriage of Uighur women to Han men, after imprisoning the Uighur men, is barbaric. Not in keeping with Confucian morality or the Taoist ethic. One can only conclude that, unlike in the Soviet Union, the Cultural Revolution destroyed China's civilization,’ its slate wiped clean for capitalism to swallow whole. ‘China's system now is ‘National Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. And just like Nazi Germany, today's China is expansionist.’’
Just how expansionist China is is debatable. It certainly occupied Tibet and western Turkestan in 1949. It insists that Taiwan and Hong Kong are just a willful offspring, soon to be reincorporated. It even invaded ally Vietnam (which was formerly its vassal) in 1979.
At that time, China became a de facto ally of the US against the Soviet Union, purchasing ‘weapons from the US and allowed the installation of two CIA tracking stations in Xinjiang, to monitor Soviet nuclear tests. China participated in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. It trained Mujahidin fighters in camps near Kashgar and Khotan, in Xinjiang, and provided them with weapons.
‘That's how Uighur militants became radicalized. China brought the problem upon itself. But to solve it, it should follow Putin's methods in dealing with the Chechens - not genocide.’
China is busily setting up its own neo-Maoist new world order, the Belt Road Initiative and G5 wireless system, its attempt to assert its economic clout on a global scale. Unlike the Soviet destalinization from 1953 onward, Mao was never officially condemned for his later ‘great leap’ and cultural revolution. Now it welcomes one and all to make a ‘great leap’ into China’s friendly embrace.
Jacob, an Uighur, newly arrived as a refugee to Canada, told me he studied through high school (only in Mandarin, i.e., already assimilated) and said the Mao period is described positively, presumable even the invasion of Vietnam in 1979. China's policies were a disaster then. What makes anyone think that they are suddenly benign, sensible? Embracing capitalism means falling prey to capitalism’s evils -- war, slavery, consumerism.
George, a recent Chinese immigrant to Canada, told me in one angry word what he thought of China’s actions in Xinjiang: fascist! At the Revivying Islamic Spirit Retreat December 23--28, 2019 at Toronto’s Hilton Hotel, Chinese nationals were stalking, looking for Uighurs and defending China’s policy of oppression of its Muslims.
The dark side is hinted at by Canadian government fears about G5, resulting in the house arrest in Vancouver and potential extradition to the US of a leading Hua Wei executive. But we all love money, and China's new order makes us all eagerly buy those pretty, cheap commodities. Good for them!
The logic of capitalism is stupid, short term. Keeping the old communist party in tact was a clever ploy, disguising national socialism (nazism) as communist, something Hitler couldn’t pull off.
The Uighurs have their terrorists just like the Uzbeks, though the Uzbek IMU is bigger. And all because of repression of muslims by a brutal dictator Islam Karimov. He's gone and ISIS almost gone. and the IMU is fading away, as the new dictator Mirziyoyev, benign, is not persecuting Muslims. Which means no revolution/ terrorism. No abracadabra, just noncapitalist common sense.
Now China is going to have much more Uighur violence. Women will be committing suicide or murdering/ being murdered by their ‘spouses’, though this will be hushed up by a media blackout. China's just waiting for the next terrorist bombing to take their ‘anti-terrorism’ policy to its genocidal conclusion. They should reflect on ally Russia’s Chechens, and the havoc they created in Moscow and elsewhere. Putin's war there was merciless, but not genocidal. Reconstruction included mosques, and the Quran is the real one, not a Russian PC version like China is foolishly planning on producing -- in Chinese characters.
Only peaceful, noninvasive governance in east Turkestan/ Xinjang can bring an end to terrorist acts. But then, it’s the same as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria ... Get the imperialist troops out. Let people live in dignity.
Notice it's Muslims that are suffering almost everywhere. And yet Islam is not imperialistic. It is always the victim. Why? It's because Islam holds answers to just about all the problems we face. That's why China is determined now to wipe out Islam. It interferes with China's world hegemony plans, rooted in capitalism, which inevitably implies imperialism.