China treat­ing Mus­lims badly

Mail Today - - COMMENT - By Claude Arpi

THE Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) has re­cently re­leased a 117-page re­port en­ti­tled “Erad­i­cat­ing Ide­o­log­i­cal Viruses China’s Cam­paign of Re­pres­sion Against Xin­jiang’s Mus­lims. It gave fresh ev­i­dence of Bei­jing’s “mass ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion, torture, and mis­treat­ment, and the in­creas­ingly per­va­sive con­trols on daily life.”

The US based agency af­firmed: “Through­out the re­gion, the Turk­ish Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion of 13 mil­lion is sub­jected to forced po­lit­i­cal in­doc­tri­na­tion, col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment, re­stric­tions on move­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, height­ened re­li­gious re­stric­tions, and mass sur­veil­lance in vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights law.”

His­tory of abuse

Bloomberg, cit­ing a UN as­sess­ment, said that the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have de­tained more than one mil­lion Uighurs: “As its mosques are shut­tered and travel across its borders re­stricted, Xin­jiang - once at the in­ter­sec­tion of an­cient Silk Road trade routes - threat­ens to be­come a black hole in Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s ef­fort to build new ones.”

One only needs to see old re­ports of CIA to un­der­stand that th­ese tac­tics have been go­ing on since the 1950s. One such re­port of Jan­uary 1951 states: “Mus­lims in Sinkiang [Xin­jiang] are dis­con­tented with the Com­mu­nist regime. Of­fi­cially there are no re­stric­tions on prayers, but or­ches­tras play for danc­ing at evening-prayer time to dis­tract the young, and young men en­listed as sol­diers have no time to at­tend re­li­gious ser­vices. Gath­er­ings of more than four peo­ple are pro­hib­ited.”

An­other CIA re­port of Septem­ber 1952 notes: “Prior to June 1952 the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Gov­ern­ment in south­west­ern Sinkiang Prov­ince had adopted a pol­icy of de­port­ing all per­sons whose fam­i­lies orig­i­nally mi­grated to Sinkiang from the area which is now West Pak­istan.

De­por­ta­tion was pre­ceded by con­fis­ca­tion of prop­erty, and the per­sons be­ing de­ported were ac­com­pa­nied to the Sinkiang-Pak­istan bor­der by an armed guard.” To­day, Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have de­tained many Uighur women mar­ried to Pak­istani busi­ness­men from the Gil­git-Baltistan re­gion. This has the re­sult of an­ger­ing Pak­istan.

In 1952, two years af­ter the first Chi­nese troops ar­rived in for­mer Eastern Turkestan, the CIA says: “all ma­jor gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, in­clud­ing those of agri­cul­ture, po­lice, se­cret po­lice, mag­is­trates, rev­enue, and en­gi­neer­ing, were headed by Chi­nese of­fi­cials and ad­vised by Soviet of­fi­cials.” The Uyghurs were not trusted and re­moved from all their posts; ditto to­day. In March 1953, a CIA re­port as­serts: “In the fall of 1952 no one was per­mit­ted to travel from south­west­ern Sinkiang …where the au­thor­i­ties were en­gaged in liq­ui­dat­ing large num­bers of peo­ple ac­cused of hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in the 1944 re­volt against Chi­nese rule.”

The CIA re­ported that the for­ti­fi­ca­tion walls sur­round­ing Kash­gar had been torn down by forced la­bor: “All women in both cities were com­pelled to work at re­mov­ing the de­bris re­sult­ing from the de­struc­tion. The men of Kash­gar were be­ing forced to work on the con­struc­tion of roads and build­ings.”

Com­mu­nists take over

Soon all prof­itable busi­ness, in­clud­ing the silk in­dus­try in Hotan, was seized by Com­mu­nist au­thor­i­ties: “Pri­vate busi­ness was dis­cour­aged, and al­most all shops had been turned into gov­ern­ment owned co­op­er­a­tive stores. The salaries paid to shop­keep­ers were barely enough to cover their liv­ing ex­penses.” The new gov­ern­ment of Xin­jiang told the peo­ple: “the Chi­nese in the ad­min­is­tra­tive struc­ture are there sim­ply to teach the na­tives of Sinkiang the art of gov­ern­ing, and that soon the full gov­ern­men­tal ad­min­is­tra­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity would be turned over to the peo­ple of Sinkiang.”

The same re­port cited a long list of purges, ar­rests and ex­e­cu­tions. More than 60 years later, fe­ro­cious re­pres­sion and forced as­sim­i­la­tion still takes place in the restive re­gion; the Uyghurs face re­pres­sion, re-ed­u­ca­tion and re­lo­ca­tion.

On July 6, The Peo­ple's Daily noted that Bei­jing has re­lo­cated “461,000 poverty-rid­den res­i­dents to work in other parts of the re­gion dur­ing the first quar­ter of the year,” in a bid to “im­prove so­cial sta­bil­ity and al­le­vi­ate poverty.” The re­port as­serted that the Xin­jiang gov­ern­ment planned to fur­ther trans­fer 100,000 res­i­dents from south­ern Hotan and Kash­gar pre­fec­tures by 2019, to get em­ployed some­where else.

Cur­rent prac­tices

Yu Shaox­i­ang, an ‘ex­pert’ at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, told The Global Times: “poverty al­le­vi­a­tion in Xin­jiang is more dif­fi­cult com­pared to other places be­cause, aside from poverty, Xin­jiang also faces eth­nic is­sues.” The irony is that this re­gion is the hub the ‘hu­man­ist’ Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI) which is to bring pros­per­ity and hap­pi­ness to the lo­cal pop­u­la­tions. China still faces se­ri­ous chal­lenges, not only from in­fil­tra­tion from its friend in the South, but also from the Syr­ian-trained Uighurs re­turn­ing to Xin­jiang.

On Au­gust 31, dur­ing a hear­ing at the United Na­tions Com­mit­tee on the Elim­i­na­tion of Ra­cial Dis­crim­i­na­tion (CERD), Hu Lianhe, the Chi­nese rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­tered the claims that the Mus­lim mi­nori­ties was be­ing sub­jected to ex­tra­ju­di­cial de­ten­tion and po­lit­i­cal in­doc­tri­na­tion. Hu de­nied the ex­is­tence of ‘re-ed­u­ca­tion camps’, as­sert­ing in­stead that China is ‘a vic­tim of ter­ror­ism’, and that the Xin­jiang has only ini­ti­ated a “spe­cial cam­paign to crack down on vi­o­lent ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties ac­cord­ing to law.” He how­ever ad­mit­ted to the trial and im­pris­on­ment of ‘a num­ber of crim­i­nals’ and that peo­ple guilty of mi­nor of­fenses were sent “to vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment train­ing cen­ters…to as­sist with their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and rein­te­gra­tion”

Mean­while, Xin­hua pro­motes the Xin­jiang Uygur Au­tonomous Re­gion, as a ‘par­adise on earth’. It af­firms that 130 mil­lion tourists vis­ited the West­ern prov­ince dur­ing the first nine months of 2018. It is def­i­nite that the Han tourists did not visit the re-ed­u­ca­tion camps. The writer is an ex­pert on Ti­bet and China

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