The Chinese Dilemma in Xinjiang
by Ramtanu Maitra on 08 Jul 2009 5 Comments

On July 5, Urumqi, capital of the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, was thrown into turmoil when a demonstration by some members of the local Uighur Muslim community, protesting against the migrated Han Chinese community, turned violent. The violence led to many deaths, in both communities. At the time of writing, violence continues and there are reports that it is spreading to the southern Xinjiang town of Kashgar, close to the Pakistan border. 

It is evident from the way events unfolded, that the demonstration and violence were orchestrated from outside. Although they are Muslims, the Uighur demonstrators did not raise Islamic slogans but, instead, demonstrated against Beijing. The protest was a demand for the arrest and prosecution of Han Chinese workers who attacked Uighur workers in a toy factory in Guangdong in Southern China on June 25, 2009, killing two Uighurs. The Han Chinese had attacked the Uighurs following the circulation of a report through the Internet alleging that some Uighur workers had raped two Han Chinese women. According to the Chinese authorities, that report of rape was found to be false.

British Intelligence and the National Endowment for Democracy

But this “false” incident became the rallying point against Beijing by West-based organizations run top down by British intelligence and its cohorts. Already in the spotlight are four outfits based in the West - World Uighur Congress (WUC), its funding agent, the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the Soros-funded New York-based Human Rights Watch. NED was deeply involved in financing and orchestrating a series of “colour revolutions” to force “regime changes” in Central Asia during the Bush administration days. 

WUC is an umbrella for 47 groups worldwide, with headquarters in Munich. Also prominent were the East Turkestan National Congress, based in Munich, Germany, and a part of the WUC since 2004, and the British intelligence-infested Amnesty International, based in UK.

Amnesty International has accused Beijing of “systematic and extensive human rights violations” against the Muslim minority, including restrictions on freedom of worship, language, and arbitrary arrests, and has called for an “independent and impartial enquiry” into the events amid fears the EU will treat its giant trade partner with kid gloves. “We shouldn’t be seeing these issues undermined by trade or other economic considerations. There should be no special cases,” the advocacy group’s Brussels director, Nicolas Berger, said.

But the marching order to start a violent demonstration in Urumqi emanated from WUC. Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled wealthy Uighur businesswoman, who also heads the US-based Uighur American Association, made telephone calls to Urumqi on July 3, ostensibly urging local leaders to take to the streets. Kadeer, who met President Bush during his eight-year reign as President of the United States a number of times, was lauded by the US President as an “apostle of freedom.” 

At a news conference in Washington on July 6, Kadeer,  “explaining the  telephone call,” said that when she heard on June 3  that protests were planned, she called one of her brothers in Urumqi and told him to stay at home. “I did not organize the protests or call on people to demonstrate,” she said. “A call to my brother doesn’t mean I organized the whole event.” She added that while the groups she leads condemn the Chinese government’s excessive use of force, “we also condemn in no uncertain terms the violent actions of some of the Uighur demonstrators.”

But, Kadeer’s closeness to the NED and her official position with the WUC leaves no doubt that Kadeer is a pawn of British 
intelligence. She is also the voice in support of the Tibetan Dalai Lama and the various foreign intelligence-run anti-Beijing Tibetan groups. She had gone public expressing “solidarity with the Tibetan people” and supporting “their legitimate aspirations for genuine autonomy.”

British Hook on the Uighurs

Although the Uighurs were re-activated by the British when the Olympic torch was being brought to China from Athens for the Olympics in August 2008, the plan to use them to contain China and to implode it from inside was conceived a long time ago.

British colonial policy toward the Muslim world has long been formulated by Bernard Lewis. The British-born Lewis, now at Princeton University, started his career as an intelligence officer and has remained in bed with British intelligence ever since. Avowedly anti-Russia and pro-Israel, Lewis reaped a rich harvest among US academia and policymakers. Britain’s use of the Uighurs can be understood from that historical perspective alone. 

The origins of the Uighur people may be traced back to the Uyghur khanate of the 700s AD. The khanate broke away from the Turkic Empire and settled across the Tian Shan Mountains, in the area of the modern-day Chinese cities of Urumchi and Tarpan. In 1932, a local Uighur warlord, a downright rascal, reclaimed semi-autonomy during China’s Qing dynasty. The mess created by this warlord resulted in widespread rebellion in 1933, and brought into the rebellious group various ethnic varieties of Chinese who lived there at that time. The short-lived and ill-administered rule of the warlord ended with takeover by a military commander. According to some observers, this commander survived with the blessing of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin until 1944, when he was finally replaced by a Kuomintang (KMT) governor for Xinjiang province. 

The KMT retained control of the south until the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Liberation of 1949, when the KMT governor surrendered, leaving the Uighur leaders as the CCP’s only contestant for power in Xinjiang. Following a July 1949 meeting in Ghulja with a representative from the new People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Uighur leadership was invited to Beijing for further consultation. Reports indicate that the plane carrying the Uighur leaders crashed en route on Sept. 3, 1949, killing all aboard. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had already moved in, taking control of northern Xinjiang. 

The arrival of the CCP led to the departure of many thousands of Uighurs who had the dream and principal motivation of “pan-Turkism” - re-creation of a band of Turkic-speaking states, stretching across Central Asia, from Ankara to Xinjiang. Although many thousands of Uighurs left China, about 8 .5 million still live in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. It is not clear how many live outside China, but most live in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, on China’s western borders. 

Most Uighurs who dream of setting up “Uighuristan” are highly vulnerable to manipulation by the British, who promise to help realize their hopes, but instead use them as geopolitical pawns to join hands with other dissident ethnic groups in the area to weaken China, Central Asian Muslim nations, and countries situated on the southern tier of Russia. This operation of the MI6 is no different from the way it handles the Mirpuris, promising them an independent Kashmir in return for carrying out violent actions against India.

Uighur dissension: One edge of the razor

Residents of western China, Uighurs, a minority community of about eight million people, are Muslims by religion and are products of an entirely different culture than the Chinese of eastern China. Uighurs fear their identity will be swept away by the millions of Han Chinese now settling in western China. As a result, they, like the tribals of northeast India, remain highly vulnerable. British intelligence has seized upon this fear to use them in London’s efforts to break up China, or minimally, to spread a reign of violence as they have succeeded in doing in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

In 1999, the Chinese government announced its official plan to develop western China. Its goal is to try to achieve a satisfactory level of economic development there in a five- to-ten-year time-frame, and to establish a “new western China” by the middle of the 21st Century.

China’s western region includes 11 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities under the direct administration of the central government: Shaanxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Tibet, and Chongqing. The region covers 5.4 million square kilometers, 57% of the country’s land area, and has a population of 285 million people, 23% of the total population of the nation. More than half of the country’s identified natural resources are in the western region.

The “Go West” strategy was announced at the 16th Party Congress, Interfax news agency reported in 2005. The policy objective is often simplistically depicted as China’s interest to pursue both Russian and Central Asian energy sources. But the strategy is actually more complex. It is to ensure population settlement in the West, and thus reduce the territorial vulnerability of western China, and also build up a long-term base for a productive workforce - a prerequisite for making significant inroads into the region’s oil and gas fields, and exploring its other natural resources.

The Uighurs were uneasy about China’s western development plan, since it would disrupt their “way of life” and lead to their integration with the Han and other Chinese ethnic groups who would be involved in the western China development plan.

This is the hook used by the British to create a militant Uighur community, ready to pick up arms against China. The way the British work the dissident Uighurs against the Chinese is like a two-edged razor. What is visible to one and all is the gentle face of Uighur individuals such as businesswoman cum human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, or the humane pleas of Uighur individuals such as Enver Tohti in the UK. These individuals “point out” that human right violations against the Uighurs in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) by Beijing were committed in China’s drive to develop and “occupy” western China, and settle the area with Han Chinese. 

The key in this part of the British modus operandi is to keep the ethnic identity of Uighurs intact, by appealing to the world against “sinofication” of the XUAR. It is not much different than London’s strategy in directing the Tibetans against China in Tibet, Gansu, and a few other provinces where Chinese-Tibetans reside.

In 2007, the British intelligence-run Amnesty International issued a 24-page report on the “policies of the Chinese government” towards the Uighurs in XUAR. The document dwelt on China’s “crackdown” against organized religion as part of Beijing’s communist ethos, and tried to establish that China has seized upon the 9/11 events to persecute Uighur Muslims and label them as “terrorists.” The report stressed that Uighurs are a persecuted Muslim community that has been ignored far too long.

China’s geopolitical vulnerability

Britain’s other edge of the razor to cut up China is Pakistan. Decades ago, Beijing’s Communist regime, imbued with British geopolitical mantras, came to the reckless conclusion that India must be balanced through the use of Pakistan. Pakistan had nothing to do with communism, and moreover was always close to both Britain and the United States, but its “geopolitical” location was too tempting for Beijing to resist building it up as an adversary against India.

Beijing was aware from the outset that Pakistani military and intelligence were training terrorists to carry out violent actions against the Indian-part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. Not only China did not say a word against these activities, but instead, went on supplying Pakistan with military hardware to match Washington’s sell of weapons to Pakistan.

In this policy, China went a step further. Since India exploded a nuclear device in 1974, China made sure that Pakistan becomes a nuclear weapons state. Over the years, brushing aside open opposition from the United States and the erstwhile communist nation, Soviet Union, China helped Pakistan to become a nuclear weapons nation. The objective of Beijing was to build up Pakistan as a military counterweight to India, while using the former’s animosity to achieve that end.

In addition, Beijing drew another geopolitical conclusion to help itself and Pakistan, but to undermine India. Pakistan had gifted China a part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. This territory is used by China to get its troops in to, and out of, Tibet. Because of this arrangement, China does not want Jammu and Kashmir to become wholly a part of India. And in order to achieve that end, China looks aside when Pakistan sends its terrorists inside the Indian-part of that state. It is geopolitics of convenience based upon the old logic: enemy of my enemy is my friend.

When the Red Army invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Beijing joined Washington and London to supply weapons to groups of murderers and thugs, trotted out as the “mujahideen” battling the Communist adventurists. These mujahideen were handed over to Pakistan for training and running the show. However, the show did not end with the withdrawal of the Red Army in 1989. In fact, the mujahideen, which included Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens, Kazakhs, Kygyz and Turkmen, along with Uighurs and Arabs, became the khanjar (sword) of the Pakistani military and its inter-services intelligence agency, ISI. This sword was used effectively by Islamabad later to put the Taliban in power in Kabul and get geo-strategic control over Afghanistan.

Come 9/11, the Americans realized the mistake they had made in handing over these murderers and thugs to the Pakistanis. They brought troops over to Afghanistan to annihilate them. However, the war on Afghanistan that began in 2001 continues, killing many Afghans and foreign troops. Meanwhile, the Saudi-British-backed factions within Pakistan’s establishment continue to hold the key. Pakistanis know that the foreign troops will leave the area some time and Afghanistan will be up for grabs once again. That is why they maintain the murderers and thugs from Xinjiang, among others, as well.

China failed to realize that the trained Uighur terrorists, sheltered inside Pakistan, funded by Saudi Arabia and directed by Britain, could be used against them. Since Pakistan is a friendly nation and a beneficiary of China’s generosities, Beijing believed or took for granted that Islamabad will not allow these murderers and thugs to move into Xinjiang to help the dissenting Uighurs.

But that is exactly what is happening. Under pressure from the United States, the Pakistani Army has begun a military campaign in the Swat Valley and tribal areas. These are the areas where these Uighurs and other foreign trained terrorists were safe-housed by the Pakistani military and the ISI. Prior to launching the military campaign, Pakistan pushed them out to Central Asia and Xinjiang. Pakistani Army has no intent to annihilate them, because they would come in handy once foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

The process has put thousands of terrorists into Central Asia, threatening the stability of the Moslem-majority Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, in particular. Hundreds of Uighur fighters have left for Xinjiang through Pakistan’s northern areas. 

Let Beijing know that these terrorists will be protected by the Pakistanis, and directed by the British. Money, of course, will come from the Saudis and opium.

The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc.

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