Why China Is Not Worried About Offending Muslim Allies

By: Rukiye Turdush 

Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak and China’s National Energy Administration Chairman Nur Bekri signed a nuclear energy agreement between the two countries, Beijing, September 2016.

The Chinese government released a New Silk Road project action plan in 2015 to facilitate the achievement of its global ambition. The project aimed to materialize China’s dream of expansion through Central Asia to Europe.

China colonized East Turkistan (which the Chinese government also calls the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) in 1949. The region is located at the major gateway to this “New Silk Road” project and is mainly populated by Turkic-speaking ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs.

To promote the success of the “New Silk Road” project and make it easier to gain access to Muslim countries, China should respect the religious identity of Uyghurs and implement fair policy in the colonized land. Uyghurs and Kazakhs share the religion of the Central Asian nation, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and many other countries that play integral roles in the project. However, China has harshly implemented a destruction policy in the region, locking up several million Muslims in so-called re-education camps that are no different from Nazi-style concentration camps.

According to eye witnesses and countless of media reports, belief in Islam, praying to God, eating halal food, practicing Islamic funeral ceremonies and refusing to marry Han Chinese have all been banned. Moreover, Chinese officials have called Islam a mental disease. The Han-centric nation-building manifestation of China has aggressively moved to abolish Islam in the region. This should offend all Islamic nations. Surprisingly, it does not offend them at all.

Why doesn’t China have to worry about offending its Muslim allies? The reasons could vary. For one, China has mastered its cheating and bullying strategy. For example, through economic war, China’s cheating has cost the United States alone two million jobs since it became a member of the World Trade Organization. In addition, the bullying of Taiwan and building of an artificial island in the South China Sea have manifested the Thick Black Theory (Hou Hei Xue) of China.

After getting away with all of this, China believed that it could also get away with offending its Muslim allies. Alternatively, it may have believed that such a risk was worth taking since East Turkistan has significant strategic importance to China.

The purpose of the “New Silk Road” or “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) is to use China’s economic power and capital export as leverage to shape its main interest in geostrategic targets and to export the dominance of Han Chinese nationalism. China believes that it cannot fulfill these imperialistic goals without achieving total Han nationalist dominance in East Turkistan. Based on this belief, China has banned religion and Uyghur ethnic identity in East Turkistan to eliminate spaces that would allow the influence of other worlds.

Secondly, China has effectively manipulated the conflict between the West and Muslim countries, took the position of guardian over the Muslim countries in exchange for their silence regarding the issue. For example, the Turkish government was previously very supportive of East Turkistan. Back in 2009, President Erdogan criticized China and depicted the Urumqi massacre as a “genocide”. China demanded an official apology for that but never received one. In recent years, however, the adversary relationship between Turkey and the US has pushed Turkey further into the strategic circle of China. On numerous occasions, Turkish President Erdogan was quoted as saying, “Only atheist Satan can be silent in the face injustices”. Yet he now chooses to remain silent in the face of the tremendous injustices the Uyghurs are experiencing.

Furthermore, the financial crisis, the weakening of Western democratic ideology and rise of illiberal democracy in the West have given the green light to China’s genocidal policy against the Uyghurs. In fact, China tested the water before implementing the destruction of the religion and identity of Muslims in the region. Chinese state media produced vast amounts of propaganda material in several languages and circulated them around the world to further their agenda. They tried to illustrate that state oppression was a consequence of separatism and religious extremism or terrorism despite the fact that there was little evidence of organized terrorism, separatism or religious extremism.

Detainees listening to speeches in a re-education camp in Lop County, April, 2017
In 2014, China was successful at convincing Egypt to deport thousands of Uyghur students in exchange for a $40 billion trade deal. Furthermore, China arrested hundreds of ethnic Kazakhs in the region in the absence of any pending charges just to see the reaction of the Kazakh government. China also succeeded in getting the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister, Cavus Ogli, to promise not to allow the Turkish media to publish items on Uyghur human rights. The reactions of these Muslim countries eased China’s worries that it would offend them. As a result, China enhanced its genocidal policy in the region.

China’s multistage and political strategy based on Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” states: “befriend them to get their guard down, then attack their weakest point.” Chinese political strategies have never been based on transparency and honesty. If China is buying these Muslim countries trust to open their door for OBOR project and making them ignore religious and moral obligations, then soon, there will be a day that China can attack their weakest point.

“Rukiye Turdush is an independent human rights activist and writer based in Toronto.”

Why China’s Ganging up against Uyghur Muslims is a threat for the world?

By: Gulnaz Uighur
Follow at: @iamgul8
There are chances that you have not heard about Uyghurs or about our connection with China. So before writing about the threat, here is an introduction to our community. Uyghurs are ethnically Turkic people living in the areas of Central Asia. We practice a moderate form of Islam and our land is called East Turkestan. Though, in 1949 China occupied it and named it as Xinjiang( means new territory). Since then we Uyghurs have been subjected to unspeakable atrocities by the communist regime. Our land is rich in natural resources which became the reason behind its occupation. Our culture and values are entirely different from Chinese ideology. Due to this, we have been imprisoned in our own homes.

The Heights of oppression in China

Uyghurs are not allowed to Practice Islam. Thousands of mosques have been destroyed in the name of development. There have been notices to praise Xi Jinping before Allah, these posters are pasted in every corner of Xinjiang (read East Turkestan). We are not allowed to fast during the month of Ramadan. Beards are banned for Uyghur men. Children below 18 yrs are not allowed to visit pray,visit mosques or learn Islam. If a parent is caught teaching Quran to their kids, they get punished. 

Regular raids are conducted in Uyghur houses without even a warrant. Our language is not taught in schools, there are no job vacancies for us. Child labor is prevalent (I myself have been a victim). Uyghurs are not allowed to leave China, our passports are kept with the authorities. So if someone wants to go abroad, then we first need to visit the police station. Therefore our trip to abroad can easily end in torture,humiliation or imprisonment( authorities in China don’t need a reason to arrest Uyghurs). There are many such things happening with us right now. While you take a sound sleep at your well equipped apartments, our homes are searched and our beloveds, taken away. Most of the time we never hear about their fate, whether they live or die. We never know! 

On top of it all, if some of us escaped or got lucky to legally leave the country. Some Uyghurs who travel for education or are living in asylum are somehow trying to get their life together. But Xi Jinping is not able to see that either, according to him domination is the key to prosperity. 

From Economy to Expansion

Under Xi Jinping’s regime, the Uyghur conflict has been set on fire. China is now Ganging up with other countries against Uyghurs. The recent example is of Turkey’s declaration of blocking Anti-China media came just after signing security deals with the country. Turkey has been a major supporter of Uyghurs and this is a major setback. Although, its not the first time that Xi Jinpinghas used economic ties to restrict the freedom of our community. Recently, Egypt also detained dozens of Uyghur students and arrested hundreds of Uyghurs on the behest of China. This happened despite all of them living legally in Egypt.(Here is a petition for you to support). 
But how the suppression of Uyghurs is a threat for the world? 

If one closely studies the reason and pattern of persecution by China, then one can easily distinguish its motive of using economic tools as a compliment to its expansion policies. By looking at the examples of Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Pakistan and even Italy( recently Dolkun Isawas not allowed to speak at a conference in Italian senate and was detained instead) etc. We find that just after signing some deals , China was able to dictate their policies about Uyghurs. Earlier these countries didn’t have a problem with us but suddenly they find it difficult to protect Human Rights. There are Uyghurs who were living from past 10 years but today they are forced to flea and live in fear. 

The world knows that Human rights have no place in China itself. And if China continues to strengthen its ties with other countries through projects economic projects. Then soon the human rights situation will become horrible even for the native citizens of those countries. China has always been aggressive about its recession policies and will do anything to expand. The wounds of cultural genocide are still fresh in everyone’s mind. The results of steel revolution by Mao have been horrible too. 

Therefore, the world must learn from the Uyghurs despotism and stop China from throttling the Human rights of Uyghurs. Or it won’t take long for Xi Jinping to choke the necks of those who support him now.