Catch-22 of Xinjiang as a gateway

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Catch-22 of Xinjiang as a gateway

    KASHGAR - China wants nothing more than to portray Xinjiang as ripe to become Central Asia's primary trading hub and not a hotbed of ethnic unrest. It shouldn't be surprised however if an increasing focus on economic prosperity opens up a gateway to Uyghur militancy.

    Less than two months after ethnic-related violence in Hotan and Kashgar cost the lives of 25 people, Chinese security patrols were beefed up throughout Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, for the first annual China-Eurasia Expo from September 1 to September 5. About 20,000 community workers were employed to monitor Urumqi's 550 neighborhoods, each of which is allocated more than $35,000 annually by the government to support local security efforts.

    The influx of foreign traders from more than 30 countries, especially neighboring Central Asian countries and Pakistan made China determined to put on a good show, with an inauguration ceremony featuring Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, Kyrgyzstan's interim leader Roza Otunbayeva, Azerbaijan's Vice Premier Abid Sharifov, and Kazakhstan's Deputy Prime Minister Aset Isekeshev.

    An upgrade from the 19-year-old China Urumqi Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Fair, this year's expo recorded contracts worth $130 billion, a sign of Xinjiang's emergence as one of Central's Asia most prosperous regions. As a province, Xinjiang's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is third only to Kazakhstan and Russia among the eight countries with which it shares a border: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, Russia, and Kazakhstan.


    But beyond statistics, China's long-term challenge in Xinjiang is to placate the region's indigenous Uyghurs who constitute roughly 8 million out of a population of 20 million people in the province. July 2011 was Xinjiang's deadliest month since July 2009, when clashes between Uyghurs and Han Chinese and Chinese police forces in Urumqi left more than 200 dead.

    The ethnic dimension

    Uyghur concerns about China's unbalanced development are roughly the same as those of China's Han majority, but in Xinjiang these concerns take on an added ethnic dimension. The problem boils down to representation. In "neidi", or Inner China - the term Xinjiang's Uyghurs use to refer to the Han-majority interior of the country - the Han Chinese have begun protesting government land seizures on a scale unseen before in China's history.

    A protest in April 2011 in Sujiang, Yunnan, for example, was attended by up to 2,000 people who claimed the government's compensation of approximately $1,200 per acre (0.405 hectare) was inadequate. More than one-third of the city's 160,000 residents were forced to move to make way for the new Xiangjiaba hydroelectric station.

    The difference between Han and Uyghur protests, however, are that the Han have the Communist Party - a government dominated by their own - to blame, whereas the Uyghurs do not feel the autonomy provided to them protects their interests.

    Although Xinjiang is officially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Uyghurs see the Communist Party as representing Han interests by promoting Han in-migration from neidi to Xinjiang and exploiting Xinjiang's vast natural resources for the benefit of neidi. There is a common belief among Kashgar's Uyghurs that the government is sending in 20,000 Han Chinese per month in order to facilitate population displacement and exploitation.

    The Uyghurs' negative perceptions about Xinjiang's economic boom revolve around two main issues. First, the economic pie in Xinjiang is not shared equally between the Han and the Uyghurs. Southern Xinjiang (Nanjiang), where the Uyghurs constitute more than 90% of the population, only contributes half the GDP of Han-dominated Northern Xinjiang (Beijiang).

    In Urumqi, many of China's development plans involve creating new residential districts and industrial parks, most of which will support an additional two million Han Chinese from neidi who are expected to in-migrate to Urumqi by 2020 and raise the city's population to five million.

    Second, and even more disconcerting for the Uyghurs, is the loss of their heritage. Nowhere is this more evident than in Kashgar, where in the name of making the city "earthquake proof" the government is tearing down large swaths of the Old City.

    In practice, this will turn Kashgar's Old City into a version of what Urumqi's Old City now looks like - a football-field size shopping area called the Grand Bazaar, or ErDaoQiao, that bears little resemblance to Urumqi's past. For Kashgar's Uyghurs, who take pride in their city's role as a major trading post and Islamic center along the ancient Silk Road, the destruction of the Old City can neither be compensated with money nor the promise of new and modern apartment blocks.

    Adding insult to injury, the new apartment buildings in Kashgar are often too expensive for Uyghurs to afford. Many Uyghurs will have to move away from Kashgar's city center and into the rural areas surrounding the city while Han in-migrants from neidi move into the new apartment blocks. Uyghurs who can afford to live in the new apartments worry about the loss of the sense of community that has defined Kashgar's Old City neighborhoods for millennia.

    In neidi the same type of destruction of historical landmarks is also taking place.

    The Three Gorges dam, completed in 2008, inundated historical landmarks such as the Taoist Temple on the Stone Treasure Fortress and other ancient villages. Gentrification in Beijing has forced the destruction of 1,800 Hutong alleyways which have a history dating back to the Yuan Dynasty of the 13th and 14th centuries.

    In Xinjiang the destruction of old cities is only exacerbated by perceptions of Han destruction of Uyghur history, even if the government's policies have less to do with the purposeful elimination of Uyghur culture than no-holds-barred development.

    Kashgar's predicament

    Kashgar's upgrade is part of the government's plan to make the city the focus of a 50-square kilometer special economic zone that will boost Kashgar's economy and raise its population to one million.

    This will also mean an increase in road and air links between Kashgar and neighboring countries and the establishment of consulates for issuing visas to Central and South Asian countries for the purpose of facilitating border trade and attracting foreign investment. Currently, Kashgar's airport only serves Urumqi regularly on direct flights and there are no foreign consulates in the city.

    While the internationalization of Kashgar heralds a return to a cosmopolitan Silk Road past, how much the Uyghurs will stand to benefit is uncertain. Uyghurs require special permission from the Chinese government to obtain passports and their visa applications to travel abroad are often denied based on their ethnicity. This includes for the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which especially angers the religiously conservative among them.

    China fears that when Uyghurs travel abroad, especially to Mecca, and encounters Muslims from all over the world, they will learn about and be influenced by the example of other Muslims seeking autonomy from "infidel occupations", such as in the Philippine island of Mindanao, and in Chechnya and Palestine.

    Additionally, travel gives Uyghurs opportunity to become more linked to their Turkic ethnic brethren in Central Asia and as far as Turkey. The further removed Uyghur identity is from the Chinese state, the more likely the Uyghur separatist movement will grow and even thrive.

    There is a point where Uyghur frustrations over the situation in Xinjiang and international trends converge. The violence in July 2011 is an example.

    On July 18 in Hotan, what began as a protest at a local police station (which in Xinjiang is also responsible for issuing travel permits household registration), evolved into a drawn-out hostage crisis in which as many as 14 Uyghur protesters, two Han Chinese hostages, one security officer, and one policeman were killed.

    While the pro-Uyghur German-based World Uyghur Congress says that the protest began as a "peaceful demonstration" calling for the release of fellow Uyghurs detained at the police station, a Chinese government called the incident a "severe terrorist attack"

    Terrorists in Xinjiang have previously targeted police in the field, but never a police station itself. In Kashgar in 2008, two local Uyghur men armed with explosives, machetes, and a gun rammed a dump truck into a line of 70 Chinese police officers jogging near a police compound and then attacked the officers with machetes.

    The two men were arrested during the fight after killing 16 officers. And in Aksu in 2010, three Uyghur men drove an explosive-laden tricycle into a patrol of police officers in Aksu killing seven.

    Yet, the violence in Hotan is different from these two attacks because both the Chinese government and the World Uyghur Congress agree that there was a protest at first, and it was not a direct attack from the beginning. On the strength of their non-Hotan accents, the hostage-takers were also believed to be from out of town. It is very likely that this incident was based on local concerns, but the resort to violence and hostage-taking could reflect the inspiration or influence of international terrorist groups.

    Whereas the Hotan incident hints of local actors lashing out because of local concerns, the Kashgar attacks on July 30 and July 31 show signs that international jihadi groups and Uyghur extremists are collaborating. The attacks in Kashgar have the signature of previous terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, notably in Kashgar in 2008 and Aksu in 2010, but only now can Chinese assertions that foreign-trained militants are responsible be corroborated.

    The attacks began on the evening of July 30 when a vehicle-borne explosion detonated on a street lined with pedestrians and food stalls frequented by Han Chinese. Shortly after, two Uyghur men hijacked a truck, killed its driver, and then steered the truck onto the sidewalk and into the food stalls and then stabbed people at random.

    On July 31, another attack continued on another popular dining and shopping street for Han Chinese. After two blasts at one restaurant as many as 10 Uyghur men shot and stabbed people indiscriminately, including the firefighters who came to the rescue. Overall, more than 10 civilians and eight attackers were killed and more than 40 others wounded on the two days.

    A video released by the Turkistan Islamic Party in late August shows one of the attackers, Memtieli Tiliwaldi, in a Pakistani training camp wrestling with other fighters. Tiliwaldi was killed by Xinjiang police in a corn field days after the attack. This is the most concrete evidence ever introduced that links attacks in Xinjiang to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement or militants in Pakistan.

    By hosting events like the China-Eurasia expo and making Xinjiang a focal point of its foreign policy projection in Central Asia, China is exposing the province's Uyghurs to more influence from abroad. Ideally, the benefits of opening up Xinjiang's economy to its neighbors would endear the Uyghur population to China, but with the greater portion of the profits being seized by Han "newcomers" to the region many Uyghurs feel alienated in their own homeland.

    Combined with the loss of their physical heritage, especially Kashgar's Old City, many Uyghurs succumb to the idea that the minority must submit to the majority. However, a growing number of Uyghurs in Xinjiang neither see the benefits of economic development, nor are willing to succumb to the realities that the Uyghurs are facing. For this group, other Muslim separatist movements, such as those in Chechnya or Mindanao, provide a path to resistance.

    With Pakistan across the border from Xinjiang and the Uyghurs' close linguistic and ethnic affiliation to the Uzbeks from which the Islamic Movement Uzbekistan that rejects the secular autocracy in Uzbekistan, disaffected Uyghurs find plenty of options for resistance if they so choose.

    This is China's Catch-22. With Xinjiang emerging as a gateway to Central Asia, the province's economy will continue to boom. But the side-effects of this success could include Uyghur militancy, locally rooted as in the Hotan protest and internationally influenced, as in the Kahsgar attacks.

    Asia Times Online :: Catch-22 of Xinjiang as a gateway

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    A good account of East Trukestan (Xinjiang).
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    As the Old City comes down, new buildings (foreground) are taking their place.

    [​IMG]
    New buildings rise in Kashgar.

    [​IMG]
    Uyghurs fear the traditional bazaar culture - animals, people and all - will disappear in a few years.

    [​IMG]
    A Uyghur couple sets up a stand in an empty space where a building was torn down

    [​IMG]
    Kids play in the rubble of a demolished building.

    [​IMG]
    The new city provides new forms of recreation - Uyghur girls enjoying bicycing.

    [​IMG]
    Local police conduct rounds in front of Kashgar's oldest and most famous mosque, Id Kah.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China to develop town on Pak border to tackle terror

    t also signals China's long-term plans of cementing relationship for Pakistan as a means to contain what the Chinese media calls "Indian ambitions" .

    "The China-Pakistan free trade agreement isn't really working. There are lots of complaints in Pakistan of the Chinese dumping goods. China now wants to provide more trade and business opportunities to Pakistanis to build goodwill," said Srikanth Kondapalli, professor of Chinese studies at JNU.

    "The move will also help Beijing deal with authorities in Kashgar, who recently accused Pakistan of training terrorists responsible for riots in the town," Kondapalli said.

    The move also gives credence to Pakistan's claims that it will soon be linked to China by railways, and a second road link between the two countries is on the planning board. Kashgar, an important link on the ancient Silk Route, is also a key strategic point for both the Taliban and the Chinese military.

    China desperately needs to develop the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang, which covers one-sixth of the country's landmass and holds rich oil and gas reserves. Chinese authorities believe poverty is the root cause of unrest in Xinjiang, and stability alone will help.

    Beijing also wants to develop Horgos, the border town connecting China to Kazakhstan. The government has extended 10 favorable policies for developing them into major economic zones. The incentives include tax exemptions, subsidized electricity and transportation , low-interest loans for infrastructure and improved rail and air links with neighboring countries.

    China is competing with Russia in wooing Central Asian countries which recently signed free trade deals with Moscow.

    China to develop town on Pak border to tackle terror - Times Of India
     
  5. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    gee....i thought the local uyghurs and their culture and their mosques r already wiped out by the han invaders and all the cops potrolling streets r evil hans............
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Muslims don't give up that easily.

    They kick ass!

    Preferably Han ass!

    Because they are a cloistered society, they love same sex. It is common phenomenon with them. It is called baccha bazi.

    And hair denied are the flavour of their lust.

    The cops that you see are not Hans. The Uighurs call them - running dogs of the imperialist Hans!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  7. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    when u simply have a look of that spicific pic showing how uyghur policemen doing their duty for the country u know separist terrorists can only dream of going independent.....good job!
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It all depends how seriously they do their job beyond the influence of their ethnicity and religion.
     
  9. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    No, most of policemen are Kazakh people.
    Actually, thanks to Uyghurs' own efforts, every other race within Xinjing were and are pissed off by them: Han, Kazakh, Hui, etc.

    Religion is rarely a big problem in this area. Land, water and race conflics caused far more conflicts in history.
    Ironically, Uyghurs are always the common enemy of everyone in local.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  10. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    afamkg many of those very traditional muslims no matter what race he belongs to in xinjiang r very peaceful people coz islam itself advocates peace and is a great religion which woudnt had lasted for centries if it could only bring hatreds towards each other......of coz we r observaing some very radical muslims inflicting damage to the society but they cannot represent the whole muslims or say uyghurs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    No Ramadan for Uighur Muslims

    URUMQI – Amid fresh arrests, restrictions on fasting and prayers at mosques, Uighur Muslims are suffering under the latest episode of Chinese government crackdown on their ethnic minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

    “If any religious figure discusses Ramadan during the course of religious activities, or encourages people to take part, then they will lose their license to practice,” Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, told Eurasia Review on Friday, August 5.

    “The more serious cases will result in arrests for incitement to engage in illegal religious activity,” he said.

    A day before the start of the holy fasting month for China's Muslims, at least 11 people were killed in a series of attacks in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

    Chinese authorities blamed the attacks to the ethnic minority, after which the Chinese police shot dead two Muslims last Sunday.

    The attacks came less than two weeks after 18 people were killed in an attack in the restive Xinjiang region.

    Following the unrest, more than 100 uighurs were detained by Chinese authorities.

    Most of those detained as suspects were committed Muslims who attended mosque and whose wives wore veils, residents say.

    Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, was the scene of deadly violence in July 2009 when the mainly Muslim Uighur minority vented resentment over Chinese restrictions in the region.

    In the following days, mobs of angry Han took to the streets looking for revenge in the worst ethnic violence that China had seen in decades.

    The unrest left nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to government figures. But Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, say the toll was much higher and mainly from their community.

    China’s authorities have convicted about 200 people, mostly Uighurs, over the riots and sentenced 26 of them to death.

    No Fasting

    Beijing slapped severe restrictions on Chinese Muslims as the holy fasting month of Ramadan started.

    As for Muslim members of the government throughout Xinjiang, the government forced them to sign “letters of responsibility” promising to avoid fasting, evening prayers, or other religious activities.

    “Fasting during Ramadan is a traditional ethnic custom, and they are allowed to do that,” an employee who answered the phone at a local government neighborhood committee office in the regional capital Urumqi said confirming the restrictions.

    “But they aren’t allowed to hold any religious activities during Ramadan,” she added.

    “Party members are not allowed to fast for Ramadan, and neither are civil servants.”

    As for private companies, Uighur Muslim employees were offered lunches during fasting hours.

    Anyone who refuses to eat could lose their annual bonus, or even their job, Raxit added.

    Officials have also targeted Muslim schoolchildren, providing them with free lunches during the fasting period.

    A Uighur resident of Beijing said students under 18 are forbidden from fasting during Ramadan. Moreover, government campaigns forced restaurants in the Muslim majority region to stay open all day.

    More restrictions were also imposed on people trying to attend prayers at mosques.

    Everyone attending prayers has to register with their national identity card, he added.

    “They have to register,” he said.

    “[After prayers] they aren’t allowed to [congregate and] talk to each other.”

    In Ramadan, adult Muslims abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

    The sick and those traveling are exempt from fasting especially if it poses health risks.

    Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint and good deeds.

    No Ramadan for Uighur Muslims - Asia-Pacific - News - OnIslam.net

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    Inventing sensitivity in the name of national security and stability: passport denial and its political economy in Muslim areas in contemporary China

    A discrimination case against a Chinese Muslim citizen to apply for passport recently captures the attention of thousands of Muslims as well as other concerned citizens of China. The context of the case is that a Muslim student was forced to give up his study opportunity in Malaysia in 2008 because the local security authority in Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu (甘肃临夏回族自治州) had denied his application for passport. The reason behind the denial is very simple that he is a Muslim. This popular discrimination against Muslims in northwest China and the consequence of losing high-learning opportunity force his father Ma Zhifang (马志方) to openly appeal the local and provincial authorities to abandon discriminatory “internal” regulations that totally violate the Chinese constitution and laws on equal citizenship. 【不平等】回民和藏民难办护照-绿旗飘飘 / 君子和而不同-我的搜狐

    To deny Muslim access to passport and their basic citizenship is not new to China’s Tibetan and Muslim minorities in northwest China including Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai, and even Shanxi. Local public security departments and its passport control offices have various “internal” or local “regulations,” “adjustments,” or “amendments” on Uyghur, Tibetan, and Hui and created man-made barriers to passport application. The rhetoric stated in Personal Passport Control Regulations for Citizens in Special Areas associates the local practice with China’s national security:
    “The new passport control regulations are made in order to prevent unofficial Hajj or pilgrimage and to maintain national security and stability…”《特殊地区公民申请因私普通护照的调控措施》:“为有效预防零散朝觐和出境听经朝佛活动,切实维护国家的安全稳定,根据《中华人民共和国普通护照和出入境通行证签发管理办法》第三条第五款之规定,现制定特殊地区公民申请因私普通护照调控措施如下。”

    The detailed regulations beyond this policy include: Muslims (and Tibetans) have to present oversea invitation letter from immediate relatives for applying for passport if for visit purpose. For tourism purpose, Muslims and Tibetans have to travel with an officially approved travel agency and present ticket and other receipts from the travel agency when apply for passport. In fact, even Muslims who qualify these special requirements are often requested to pay so-called deposit to local security office in the pretext to guarantee the returning of Muslim passports after travel. The deposit, however, is never returned and no Muslim dares to get it back from the security office. Those Muslims and Tibetans who are not or less qualified for the special regulation have to purchase passport in the black market through public security officials or their affiliates. In Linxia, general price for a passport is ¥3500 in 2001 and in neighboring provinces such as Qinghai and Gansu the price ranges from ¥5000 to ¥10,000 . By contrast, in Han areas such as Beijing, Chinese citizens only need to show you identification card when fill the application form and pay less than ¥200.

    This open discrimination and practice indicate that like China’s other public offices and departments, security offices in Muslim populated areas have actively deny Muslims’ basic right for passport by inventing sensitivity in the name of national security and stability. By do that, local security offices have heavily exploited Muslims to enrich them by either selling passport or requesting huge sum of bribery. Ma Zhifang’s case is only an edge of iceberg in China’s political economy.

    Together with passport control, there is much dirty practice in northwest China directly attacking not only Muslim citizens but also China’s constitution such as
    1. “Giving candy to Muslim students during Muslim Ramadan” in Xinjiang,
    2. “Asking Muslim cadres to drink wine” in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Ningxia, and many others.
    3. “Beard training class in Xinjiang” (to educate Muslim men to be beardless)
    4. “Weakening religious consciousness.”
    5. “execute terrorists on the spot” (or immediately execute “terrorists” without trial”).
    …
    Not only public security officials master the art of getting rich through their power, even academic in recent years in Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Shanxi have invented many man-made sensitive projects on Islam and Muslims (see project professor article on Xinjiang Review【新疆评论】). Project proposals on so-called three forces (“extremism, separatism, and terrorism”) are frequently submitted in Ningxia not only to educational department but also to security department for large funding, which, just like deposit or bribery for passport, has gone to project professor’s own pocket.

    Domestically, these barbaric inventions of sensitivity and discriminations against China’s citizen have created local grievances among Muslim and Tibetan populations and alienating Muslim citizens from the state. Internationally, in a globalizing world, communist bourgeois have tried every means to apply politics to economy to enrich the ruling class by abandoning the rule of law. By doing so, they have contributed growth of grievance at local level and converted communist China in ethnic areas into a black market, if not society, where even the realization of basic human and citizen right has to be purchased.

    Inventing sensitivity in the name of national security and stability: passport denial and its political economy in Muslim areas in contemporary China « Xinjiang Research Institute Blog 新疆研究所博客

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  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Not So Halal: Qingzhen Food Industry in Xinjiang

    The changes on the Chinese government policy towards Xinjiang after the July 5th event in 2009 have been epitomized in the replacement of the former CCP Secretary in the region Wang Lequan -known for his ‘stability’ policy line- and the arrival of Zhang Chunxian and his ‘development’ approach. By doing this, Beijing has shifted his focus from class-struggle (ethic struggle) to economic construction in the restive region. In his speech delivered at the VIII Xinjiang CCP Conference, Zhang announced his guidelines for economic reform in the region. Amongst them, the development of the Qingzhen food industry was highlighted as one of the potential profitable sectors for Xinjiang (Xinhua, November 3).
    ‘Qingzhen’ stands as the Mandarin translation for Islam and its derivates, such as ‘Halal’ food, that is the food permissible by Islam precepts such as meat from animals slaughtered according to Dhabiha method. ’Qingzhen’ term has been used for centuries in Xinjiang and despite different philosophical and religious interpretations of its meaning, it is widely accepted that its main meaning connotation is ‘Islamic’.

    However, this religious symbol and sign for ‘Halal’ food has been monopolized in recent times by local ethnic and religious officers who have actually traded with a certification strongly chased by companies,factories and restaurants. In the current context of control and restriction of Islamic religious practices in
    Xinjiang, the Qingzhen official certification has lost its Islamic value and connotation, and has been turned into a merely ‘merchandized’ label which has little or nothing to do with Islamic regulations on food and nutrition.

    According to Xinjiang official regulations on the Qingzhen certification, almost any company employing ethnic Muslim workers (mainly Uyghurs) and having a canteen/eatery place can successfully apply for this official recognition. Therefore, it is not surprising that the most famous Xinjiang restaurant, the ‘Islamic Restaurant’ -located at the Xinjiang government office in Beijing and owned by a Han from Henan province- is widely known among Muslims working there for serving non-Halal chicken food despite having obtained the Halal certification and claiming to serve real Halal food.

    This is just one of many examples of the deterioration of the Qingzhen certification standards within the Xinjiang food industry. This decline has been the result of Han businessmen poorly running ‘Qinghzen’ labeled canteens at the streets or even in official buildings. Just at happens in China with other ‘fake food’cases –such as fake egg, fale meat, etc.- which have shocked the public opinion, many officially sanctioned ‘Qingzhen’ restaurants run by Chinese Han coming from provinces other than Xinjiang and with little or no knowledge of the ‘Halal’ requisites have turned into ‘fake Qingzhen restaurants’.

    This situation has forced Chinese Muslims to look for restaurants run by members of the Uyghur or Hui minority rather than to pay attention on whether the spotted restaurant has the certification or not. The Qingzhen qualification has therefore lost its value and credentials and this reality might jeopardize the Xinjiang government efforts in developing a ‘Halal’ food international industry in Xinjiang. If the ‘Qingzhen’etiquette is not recognized by Chinese Muslims in China, how is it going to be exported to other Muslim countries? The plan for developing a ‘Halal’ food industry in China is currently being considered in several provinces with large Muslim populations such as Ningxia, Yunnan, Qinghai, Gansu and Xinjiang, which have discovered the potential economic benefits derived from targeting the Islamic countries market with a quality ‘Qingzhen’ food industry. So far, Ningxia stands ahead on these efforts after holding several Sino-
    Arab economic forums and setting up the regional standards and regulations for ‘Qingzhen’ food, which must really meet the international Halal certification (Ningxia Government news service, September 16).

    Under the current political context in Xinjiang, with a fierce campaign of religious control and restriction going on aimed at curbing the ‘religious extremism’ alleged by the Chinese government, the definition and quality of the ‘Qingzhen’ certification is at a serious risk of becoming just another ‘fake’ phenomenon. Nowadays, it only takes for a restaurant to serve beef and lamb in order to become a ‘Halal business. Just as other Islamic (that is, Qingzhen) symbols such as beards and niqabs have been undermined by the‘civilized and modern’ beard-less face and bikini-style clothes promoted by the government in Uyghur populated areas (such as Khotan and Kashgar), the real ‘Qingzhen’ food cooked and prepared under Islamic precepts might become a mere Xinjiang gastronomic ‘fashion’ with no Islamic authenticity at all. If Xinjiang truly wants to develop a competitive ‘Qingzhen’ food industry at the international level which helps
    the economic development in the region, it must first start by introducing the international Halal certification in China and equating the ‘Qingzheng’ certification with it.

    Not So Halal: Qingzhen Food Industry in Xinjiang « Xinjiang Research Institute Blog 新疆研究所博客

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  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The origins of Uyghur malaise: colonisation and socio-economic stratification

    Colonisation and its socio-economic consequences are much disliked by the Uyghurs: they constitute the main grievance among the protest movements. Indeed, colonisation tends, through a complex process, to exclude Xinjiang’s national minorities from the benefits of economic advance. In attempting to stabilise the region, the central state has made significant investments15 that have contributed to developing the local economy. This region, once among the poorest in China, today, within the provinces of China’s “Great West”16, now boasts the highest per capita GDP; in these terms it ranks twelfth among all China’s provinces17. However, these encouraging macro-economic figures hide pronounced inequalities that apply along ethnic lines. To Uyghur eyes, the investments are directed first towards the areas of colonisation18, and have benefited the Han colonists most of all. Thus, the per capita GDP in Han areas is far higher than that in areas where the Uyghurs are still in the majority (see Table 2). The low figure for GDP per head in the Tarim Basin, where three-quarters of Xinjiang’s Uyghur population is concentrated, makes it likely that a significant number of families have incomes below the Chinese poverty threshold and even further beneath the threshold set by the international organisations19.

    20 In Xinjiang, bearing in mind the omnipresence of putonghua in the administration and the economy, i (...)
    9At the same time, these differences in income imposed along ethnic lines underlie unequal access to the educational system—which, in turn, serves to reinforce the economic inequalities. In effect, the inability of the poorest people to finance their children’s schooling perpetuates—even more than linguistic handicaps20 and a sometimes discriminatory job-recruitment system—socio-professional inequalities condemning much of the Uyghur population to the lowest rungs of society.

    [​IMG]

    Theoretically, the Chinese education system is supposed to make it easier for minorities to climb the social scale, by means of a system of quotas and university scholarships. However the partial withdrawal of the state from financing the education system has led to an increase in schooling costs and falling numbers of scholarships. With the liberalisation of the Chinese economy, some financial security is more and more necessary in order to pursue one’s studies. The poorest families do not have the means to provide a full education for their children; and they have to restrict their years at school. While Han families, usually urban and better off, can extend their children’s education, and send them to the best establishments, the children of the minority communities are unable to complete their secondary education (see Table 3), which means they leave school with fewer qualifications (see Table 4).

    21 The continuous influx of the Han produces on the labour market significant tensions that are aggrav (...)
    22 Emily Hannum and Yu Xie, “Ethnic stratification in Northwest China: occupational differences betwee (...)
    11These differences in educational funding combined with recruitment methods that are often discriminatory in the private sector21 tend to perpetuate, over a period of several decades, socio-professional stratification: Uyghurs are penalised in comparison with the Han. The national minorities in Xinjiang are over-represented at the bottom of the socio-professional scale and the Han are over-represented at the top. Thus, while the national minorities represented nearly 54% of Xinjiang’s population in 1990, they accounted for more than 76% of its agricultural workforce (as against 69.4% in 1982 when they were 52.8% of the total population), less than 41% of those employed in liberal and technical professions and less than 30% of managers and administrators22.

    12As the national minorities descend the socio-economic scale in Xinjiang, their living standards become more precarious because China has almost no social security system whatever. According to the 1990 census, the infant mortality rate among the national minorities in Xinjiang was 3.6 times higher than among the Han and their life expectancy was 62.9 years as against 71.4 for the Han. At the same time, unemployment among young Uyghurs has led to higher crime rates and drug-taking—though these are culturally alien to this Muslim society. Poverty, and also the inequalities mentioned above, give Uyghurs the sense that they are excluded from economic growth to the benefit of the Han. The status of “second-rate” Chinese citizen contrasts with the promises of wealth and equality made by the regime at the time of Xinjiang’s “peaceful liberation”, and it has led many Uyghurs to think that they have been fooled by Peking’s communist pretensions and that, in reality, they are living under the yoke of a colonial regime.

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

    Elite expectations and nationalism among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang


    It is suggested, in the debate over the notion of internal colonialism23, that under administrations that are colonial or perceived as such, socio-economic stratification along ethnic lines around the peripheries of some states is likely to encourage an increasing sense of identity and the rise of nationalism. Even though this kind of approach does not explain all the factors and paradigms entering the equation in the birth and the growing influence of nationalism in Xinjiang since the start of the twentieth century, it does help us to see how such inequalities have favoured the strengthening of Uyghur nationalism over the past twenty years. Indeed, going beyond cultural identity, socio-economic and political stratification in Xinjiang has brought many Uyghurs to view themselves as a lower-grade community, separate from the central community (that is to say, the Han) that dominates the economic and political systems. To that extent, it has favoured the emergence of anti-colonial nationalism24, fuelled by the distinctive identity of the Uyghurs to legitimise the establishment of real self-government (which would at last serve the interests of the Uyghurs—and not those exclusively of Peking and the Han).

    25 Interviews, Xinjiang, 1999-2002.
    26 Ibid.
    14The Uyghur elite, more numerous and driven to compete with the Han, have increasing difficulty in fitting into the system25. It is true that the Chinese regime does attempt to co-opt a proportion of the Uyghurs into the administration but, even though noteworthy efforts have been made since the 1950s, it seems that over these last decades they have not been enough to integrate all the new Uyghur elite inside the system. In the 1950s, because of the small number of Uyghurs who had been educated, it was relatively easy for them to find posts on a level with their expectations. Over the past twenty years, with the end of the policy of the “iron rice bowl” (tiefanwan) and the arrival of greater numbers of well-qualified Uyghurs and, in particular, Han in the job market, the integration of some elite Uyghurs has become more problematical. Thus, many young Uyghurs of working-class or middle-class origins reproach the Chinese regime for not providing them with job opportunities commensurate with their training and, instead, for favouring the appointment of Han to management posts26.

    27 Cf note 22.
    28 Colin Mackerras, “Xinjiang and the causes of separatism”, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 20, No. 3, 200 (...)
    15The small amount of data relating to the ethnic origins of some of the Xinjiang elite appears to support such contentions. For example, in 1990, the national minorities provided only 28.8% of the total number of managers and administrators in Xinjiang27. This state of affairs is also observable within the political system: officials drawn from the national minorities are still under-represented in the Xinjiang Communist Party. They accounted for only 37.3% of its members in 199728. Moreover, bearing in mind that their loyalty towards Peking is considered suspect, they are often held down in posts with little power or posts where they can easily be controlled. Admittedly, the Presidents of the People’s Government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, of each Autonomous Prefecture and of each Autonomous Village are elected on the basis of the titular nationality of the autonomous administrative entity. However, as everywhere else in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the controlling force behind political institutions. And the most important CCP posts in Xinjiang are held by Han loyal to Peking and not by members of national minorities. For example, it is revealing to note that, ever since 1949, the post of Secretary of the CCP in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has been occupied in an almost systematic way by Han Chinese.

    16In sum, while a proportion of the Uyghur elite is integrated, even very well integrated, and has been for several generations, a growing number of the new elite find increasing difficulty in fulfilling their expectations and feel resentful of being excluded, even colonised. Shifting this fault line, where the integration of Uyghur elites is concerned, acts as a kind of measuring instrument for Uyghur nationalism. If the indicator moves towards “fewer well-integrated elite”, the nationalist opposition is likely to show itself more structured and more vigorous. Today, the fact that poorly integrated elite Uyghurs are more numerous than before explains the rising discontent among young educated people and the strengthening of their political opposition. Yet, the fact that a proportion of them continues to be “well integrated” harms the structure of Uyghur nationalism by preventing for the present the large-scale recruitment of officials likely to organise mass movements.

    The Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Malaise Grows
     
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    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Reassertion of identity and Islamic revival among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang

    Ever since the dark days of the Cultural Revolution, the relative openness that has followed Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power has left the way open to a vast movement for revitalising local culture. The 1980s saw a return towards the traditions and the “imagined foundations” of Uyghur identity. This phenomenon in its many forms manifests itself, for example, in the proliferation of books and academic research into Uyghur history and culture. It has also taken the form, as among the Hui, of an Islamic revival29. While publications relating to Islam flourished, mosques were renovated and many new ones built. Similarly, religious education developed strongly: Koranic schools were opened, attached to mosques on the one hand or, on the other, as private schools—usually undeclared30. This Islamic revival, observed right across China, has nevertheless assumed a distinctive dimension among the Uyghurs. For them it is part of a logic of return (or perceived return) to practices formerly discouraged or repressed, but it is also at the margin part of a more militant logic using Islam as an instrument for distinguishing Uyghur values31 from the non-clerical and atheistic values promoted by the Chinese authorities.

    Table 1 : Demographic strength of the main Xinjiang nationalities

    [​IMG]

    ource: Fenjin de sishi nian: 1949-1989. Xinjiang fenci (The advancing 40 years. 1949-1989. Xinjiang Volume), Zhongguo tongji chubanshe, Urumchi, 1989, p. 332; 2002 Xinjiang tongji nianjian (Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook), Pékin, Zhongguo tongji chubanshe, 2002, pp. 107, 109.

    32 Artoush Kumul, “Le séparatisme ouïghour au XXe siècle”, CEMOTI, n° 25, January-June 1998, p. 88. (...)
    18The revival of the Uyghurs’ Islamic culture and identity has also led, during the 1980s, to the formation of student associations aiming to promote the rights and culture of the Uyghurs: the Tengritakh Association (Tianshan), the Youth Association of East Turkistan, the Students’ Cultural and Scientific Association32… Some of these student associations, which reflect the growing strength of the democratic student movement in China and challenge “Great Han chauvinism”, seem quickly to have adopted a militant style. This is conveyed in a report reflecting CCP anxiety:

    33 Zhang Yumo, “The Anti-Separatism Struggle and its Historical Lessons since the Liberation of Xinjia (...)

    19In the thirty years between 1949 and 1979, almost no demonstration was held by the Xinjiang minority students in Xinjiang, but after 1980, student demonstrations have broke out one after another. This is a new phenomena. Uyghur students from seven universities and colleges including Xinjiang University in Urumqi demonstrated on December 12th 1985. They were openly against the Central Government's decision. [. . .] Some of the students from Xinjiang University got together and organized this well planned and well organized political incident for which the Xinjiang University became the headquarter. Before and after that incident, some pro-separatism posters and flyers with contents such as: “Chinese out of Xinjiang”, “Independence for Xinjiang”, “Cut off the railroad from China proper to Xinjiang” were discovered in Urumqi and other districts. In June 1986, another demonstration was organized by a student association in Xinjiang University. [. . .] Using the “support for the minority education” as a cover, they attacked Central Communist Party's minority autonomy policy, damaged the good relationship among the nationalities. They used slogans such as “No big Chinese Nationalism”, “No Chinese population transfer to Xinjiang”, and created a very bad influence in the society.33

    34 The meshrep are gatherings at the local level, favouring the communication of traditional Uyghur cu (...)

    35 Amnesty International, “People’s Republic of China: Gross Violations of Human Rights in the Xinjian (...)

    20Outside the campuses, the revival of the meshrep34 expresses the wish to revitalise Uyghur culture and identity. At the start of the 1990s, young Uyghurs of the region of Ghulja (Yining) launched a movement to re-invigorate these gatherings which have spread rapidly. However, the movement has also taken, according to the Chinese authorities, a “counter-revolutionary” turn. Fearing that it might become a focus for protest and “local nationalism” (difang minzuzhuyi), the regional government banned the meshrep in 1995; and the people who had launched the movement were imprisoned35.

    The Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Malaise Grows

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

    The rise and fall of two clandestine political movements of some stature

    This aspiration to greater militancy36 has also taken the form of clandestine political movements37 that, in Xinjiang and in the Diaspora38, are founded on Uyghur nationalism tinged with Pan-Turkism39. Admittedly, these movements are not “mass movements”—and even less so in the present climate of repression. Uyghur militancy is driven mostly by a fringe group of young students and intellectuals, purged regularly by Chinese repression. Up until the 1990s, two successive clandestine groups in the tradition of the pre-1949 oppositional currents, both quite durable, dominated the underground political scene. Of these two nationalist Pan-Turkist parties, one, socialist and secular, relied on Soviet aid, and the other came from the anti-communist and Islamic tradition centred on the south of Xinjiang. Both could call upon a base of militancy that was relatively wide compared with present-day groupings (see below). At the same time they were counting on significant underground mobilisation to prepare for a general uprising in Xinjiang.

    40 Interviews, Uyghur Diaspora 2002. According to Artoush Kumul, it was already active in the late 195 (...)
    41 Taipei Times, October 11th 1999.
    22After 1949, the first big organised clandestine party was formed under the name of the Eastern Turkistan People’s Party (ETPP) (Sharki Turkistan Halk Partisi). Mainly drawing in Uyghurs but also Kazakhs, it was founded in secret, according to the Chinese authorities, in February 1968; but, according to the militants who have now taken refuge abroad, some of its cells had already been active for several years beforehand40. This was a separatist Pan-Turkist party with Marxist allegiances. Well-structured and hierarchic, it swiftly recruited former officials of the East Turkistan Republic as well as young people from Turkic-speaking minorities. According to the East Turkistan National Centre, this party numbered more than 60,000 members and 178 branches in Xinjiang41. These figures are hard to verify. However, the ETPP is probably the largest secret organisation ever created since the liberation of Xinjiang. The rise to power of this underground party seems to have been favoured mainly by the excesses of the Cultural Revolution and by the deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations. Indeed, the USSR did give help to the ETPP. As is confirmed by Chinese sources and the testimony of some of its former militants, the KGB developed its links with this party mostly through its agents active in Kazakhstan and seems to have provided it with logistical support on several occasions:

    42 Zhang Yumo, op. cit.
    23The ETPP's Central Committee and subcommittee drafted articles such as “The Destiny of the Uyghurs”, “Eastern Turkestan People's Party's Constitution” and “Eastern Turkestan People's Party's General Principles”. [. . .] they all claim [. . .] “Seize the power with the help of the Soviet Union and establish an independent Eastern Turkestan Republic” [. . .]. Some of them even held the banner of Marxism and Leninism and proposed: “We want to establishing an independent country according to the Marxist principle of self-determination of different peoples”. [. . .] On a dozen occasions, the “ETPP”'s Ili Committee, Urumqi Branch, and Altay Bureau also sent their delegations to Soviet Union and Mongolia Republic to beg for arms and the use of radio stations for their riots and ask for military advisors. The Soviet Spy agency sent a group of fourteen people with spies carrying radio transmitters, weapons and funds for their activities. These groups arrived in Xinjiang and established communication with the “ETPP” nine times.42

    Table 2 : Distribution of wealth in the main sub-regional administrative units in Xinjiang


    [​IMG]

    Source: 2002 Xinjiang tongji nianjian, op. cit., pp. 106, 110-115, 713, 715; 2002 Zhongguo tongji nianjian, op. cit., p. 51.

    24The ETPP focused its activity on mobilising Turkic-speaking populations and officials in Xinjiang with the aim of preparing a mass insurrection against Peking. At the same time, it took up guerrilla activities (sabotage, skirmishes with the police and the Chinese army…) and was behind various attempts at insurrection during the 1960s and the 1970s. Still quite active during the 1970s, it was gradually weakened by the arrest of its leaders, by the gradual falling away of Soviet support as the tension between Moscow and Peking relaxed, and then by the decline of the communist ideology. Nevertheless, while the ETPP was in decline, a new party of anti-Marxist opposition was developing in southern Xinjiang.

    43 Ibid.
    44 Cf note 8.
    25As the Soviet Union lost its appeal among anti-colonialist Muslims to the benefit of revolutionary Islam, and as the revival of Islamism was gathering pace in Xinjiang, the Islamic Pan-Turkic trend centred on the south of Xinjiang was given renewed vigour by new young leaders. It was re-organised around the East Turkistan Islamic Party (ETIP) (Sharki Turkistan Islam Partisi). This Pan-Turkic nationalist movement also aimed at renewing Islam among the Uyghurs and developed from networks of mosques in southern Xinjiang during the 1980s. According to official sources, it apparently generated offshoots in numerous cities in the Tarim Basin, indeed as far as Ghulja (Yining), Turfan and Urumqi43. Probably also inspired by the Afghans’ success against the Soviets, it really came into prominence in April 1990 at the time of the Baren insurrection (near Kashgar). The rising took the form of a jihad recalling that which led to the creation of the Turk Islamic Republic of East Turkistan (1933-1934)44.

    26The insurrection, which lasted for several days, caused several dozen deaths on the insurgents’ side and forced the Chinese army to deploy significant forces in the region to put down the rebellion. The Chinese authorities view the ETIP as part of the Jihadist current on the other side of the Pamirs; and they consider that it gave birth to more “radical” groupings such as the Party of Allah and the Islamic Movement of East Turkistan. Because of the little information available about this organisation, such links are difficult to check and to determine as true or false. However, the slogans proclaimed during the insurrection suggest that the ETIP at this time was more a renovated form of the Islamic Pan-Turkism historically established in the south of Xinjiang than a pure reincarnation of radical Islam:

    45 Ibid.
    27He [Yusuf Zeydin, leader of the local branch of the ETIP] and his followers openly shouted: “Down with the socialism!”, “In the past Marxism suppressed religion, and now it is religion's turn to suppress Marxism”, “Unite all the Turk peoples, long live the great Eastern Turkistan!”, “Take Barin, establish Eastern Turkistan”.45

    28The subsequent repression prevented the party from being reconstituted on such wide foundations, despite attempts at this of some of its members in the early 1990s.

    The Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Malaise Grows
     
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    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The 1990s: the turn towards repressionThe 1990s: the turn towards repression


    29Whereas the 1980s are perceived by many Uyghurs as a period of reduced tension, even of an improvement in the relations between Uyghur society and the Chinese state, the 1990s saw the emergence of a repressive climate that engendered powerful frustrations and resentment. The 1990s increase in repression is generally linked with exacerbated Party anxieties on several levels.

    46 The main part of the Uyghur Diaspora has sought refuge in Central Asia where it numbers according t (...)
    47 The new name for the former Shanghai Group created in 1996, the SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhs (...)
    48 Thus, for example, the government of Kazakhstan, which had officially recognised organisations seek (...)
    30Nationally, the conservative wing of the CCP considered that the worst was avoided after the Tiananmen events in 1989, whereas similar events took place in consequence on campuses in Xinjiang (see above). It considers that an authoritarian crackdown is essential to ensure the survival of the regime. At the same time, at the start of the 1990s, the Chinese regime feared that the accession to independence of the Central Asian Republics, and also the spread of radical Islam in the region (see below), would seriously destabilise Xinjiang if nothing was done. On the one hand, the accession to independence of other large Turkic populations of Central Asia was likely to legitimise and strengthen Uyghur separatism. On the other, the cultural links that bind the Uyghurs together with the peoples of the new Republics, and also with the Uyghur Diaspora in these countries46, allowed Peking to fear that solidarity would build up between the Uyghur separatists and these states (or certain organisations present on their soil). Firstly, some of them (Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan in particular) have effectively offered asylum to the new refugees, and even recognised organisations of the local Diaspora defending the independence of East Turkistan. Peking then applied itself to cutting off the militants active in Xinjiang from these potential supports outside. By playing on the prospects for settling frontier disputes and for economic co-operation, and by promoting co-operation in the struggle against separatism and Islamism in Central Asia through the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO)47, China persuaded the Central Asian republics to ban the Uyghur organisations present on their territories, and even today to extradite some militants who have recently taken refuge there48.

    49 Control over illegal religious activities was tightened by means of regulations such as Temporary R (...)
    31On the domestic front, the Chinese regime confronted by the rise of Uyghur nationalism and by Islamic anti-governmental subversion has progressively tightened its control over society and the spaces for expressing identity and religion49 to prevent the start of dynamics that might have made the situation uncontrollable. At the same time as relations between the Chinese state and Uyghur society were becoming strained and disturbances, sometimes violent, were on the rise (the Baren insurrection in 1990, the disturbances of the summer and autumn of 1993 over the whole province, and the riots of July 7th 1995 in Khotan), the Chinese regime’s grip was progressively tightened.

    Table 3 : National minorities’ share in Xinjiang’s total school population in 2000


    29Whereas the 1980s are perceived by many Uyghurs as a period of reduced tension, even of an improvement in the relations between Uyghur society and the Chinese state, the 1990s saw the emergence of a repressive climate that engendered powerful frustrations and resentment. The 1990s increase in repression is generally linked with exacerbated Party anxieties on several levels.

    46 The main part of the Uyghur Diaspora has sought refuge in Central Asia where it numbers according t (...)
    47 The new name for the former Shanghai Group created in 1996, the SCO includes Russia, China, Kazakhs (...)
    48 Thus, for example, the government of Kazakhstan, which had officially recognised organisations seek (...)
    30Nationally, the conservative wing of the CCP considered that the worst was avoided after the Tiananmen events in 1989, whereas similar events took place in consequence on campuses in Xinjiang (see above). It considers that an authoritarian crackdown is essential to ensure the survival of the regime. At the same time, at the start of the 1990s, the Chinese regime feared that the accession to independence of the Central Asian Republics, and also the spread of radical Islam in the region (see below), would seriously destabilise Xinjiang if nothing was done. On the one hand, the accession to independence of other large Turkic populations of Central Asia was likely to legitimise and strengthen Uyghur separatism. On the other, the cultural links that bind the Uyghurs together with the peoples of the new Republics, and also with the Uyghur Diaspora in these countries46, allowed Peking to fear that solidarity would build up between the Uyghur separatists and these states (or certain organisations present on their soil). Firstly, some of them (Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan in particular) have effectively offered asylum to the new refugees, and even recognised organisations of the local Diaspora defending the independence of East Turkistan. Peking then applied itself to cutting off the militants active in Xinjiang from these potential supports outside. By playing on the prospects for settling frontier disputes and for economic co-operation, and by promoting co-operation in the struggle against separatism and Islamism in Central Asia through the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO)47, China persuaded the Central Asian republics to ban the Uyghur organisations present on their territories, and even today to extradite some militants who have recently taken refuge there48.

    49 Control over illegal religious activities was tightened by means of regulations such as Temporary R (...)
    31On the domestic front, the Chinese regime confronted by the rise of Uyghur nationalism and by Islamic anti-governmental subversion has progressively tightened its control over society and the spaces for expressing identity and religion49 to prevent the start of dynamics that might have made the situation uncontrollable. At the same time as relations between the Chinese state and Uyghur society were becoming strained and disturbances, sometimes violent, were on the rise (the Baren insurrection in 1990, the disturbances of the summer and autumn of 1993 over the whole province, and the riots of July 7th 1995 in Khotan), the Chinese regime’s grip was progressively tightened.

    Table 3 : National minorities’ share in Xinjiang’s total school population in 2000

    [​IMG]

    The turning point really came in 1996-1997, following the launch in April 1996 of the great national campaign against crime “Strike hard”. This campaign began shortly after a special meeting in March 1996 on maintaining stability in Xinjiang, and so there it assumed a special dimension, being targeted at separatism and illegal religious activities. The Permanent Committee of the Politburo of the CCP then issued an exhaustive list of strict directives aimed at tightening control over Xinjiang and eradicating potentially subversive activities50. As part of the same campaign, a succession of strong-arm police operations was mounted (the special 100-day crackdown from January to March 1999, the “General Campaign against Terrorism” from April to June 1999, the new campaign “Strike hard” from April 2001 onwards, the drive against separatism in October 2001…). This intense campaign of repression led to thousands of arrests and also to constant human rights violations and the improper use of the death penalty51. By fencing off, even closing down, the last spaces for the expression of identity or religion52, these restrictions put relations between Uyghur society and the Chinese regime under considerable strain. They gave the impression that the real target of the Chinese regime’s attacks was not so much separatism or even Islamism but Uyghur identity itself53.

    ********************************
     
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    Now Notice the Catch 22 for China!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
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    China & Islam in the Northwest Chinese Region

    Kingdoms have risen and fallen in China's Xinjiang region for the past 2000 years. In the early 20th century, foreign archaeologists were surprised and delighted to find Muslim communities built upon Tang dynasty ruins built upon Tibetan villages built upon Han forts built upon Indian Buddhist monasteries – with Roman and Bactrian frescos thrown in for good measure.



    The Silk Road brought two of the world's most influential religions, Islam and Buddhism, together, and the two struggled with each other for hundreds of years – Buddhists reigning supreme up until the Tang Dynasty, and Islam wresting away control after the Mongol period

    Eventually, Islam came to dominate the western half of this region and reached past Dunhuang (Blazing Beacon) in Gansu Province – long China's gate to the west – while Buddhism retreated back into India, Tibet, and China's heartland.

    The people of the region retain the traces of the past in their buildings, mode of life, and faces – local Uighur populations range from dark and heavily bearded to green-eyed and pale. Kazakhs, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Han, Hui, and Mongolians have carved out niches and held on to cultural traditions strong enough to withstand any onslaught.

    Even the cultural menace modernization.





    Tension

    Much has been written about China's Xinjiang policy. By most accounts, China is considered a repressive and destructive influence on local culture and religion but an energetic and positive force in terms of economic development.

    Take for instance the Uighur Muslims and the Han – probably just about the least compatible cultures in the world. But in the provinces east of Xinjiang, especially Gansu, Qinghai, and Ningxia, the Hui Muslim minority has managed to live in peace with the Han and still visit the mosques and refrain from various sins.

    But many Uighurs look down upon Hui and never resist a chance to crack a joke about the alleged duplicity and lack of character of the average Hui. According to more prejudiced Uighur, Hui are donkeys – bastard offspring of Han and Muslim. According to the less prejudiced, Hui are bad Muslims who have been corrupted by the Han.

    The Hotan region is a good example of what happens when Han and Uighur are thrown together. Hotan was and still is a center of Islam in Xinjiang – the tomb of Imam Asim, one of the first missionaries of Islam in the region is a pilgrimage spot and site of a festival and market every Thursday, pretty much year round.

    The gates to the festival, which I visited, are manned by Han and Uighur opportunists, who charge five yuan per person. On Wednesday, 138 buses full of Muslims bounced down the road through the fields and into the desert where the imam's tomb lies. A banner hangs above the entrance proclaiming "The greatest threat to Xinjiang stability are the splittists" in Uighur Arabic script.

    Uighur police stroll through the sands with an eye out for suspicious foreigners. One displayed his loyalty to the center by calling in my presence and demanding my passport number.

    But the overall atmosphere of the festival is relaxed and religious – musician-preachers strut up and down aisles formed by sitting Muslims and bark out wisdom from the Quran and "the University of Life." Beggars line the path toward the tomb and benefit from the generosity of Muslims attending a holy event.

    Uighur don't have much of a chance of gaining a passport from the government, so this is as close to Mecca as any of them will get .…

    In Hotan city center a recently finished plaza that knocked out most of the ancient wall boasts a large statue of Mao Zedong meeting Durban Tulum, a local farmer who made his way to Beijing in the 1950's. The other night children sat around a stage built around the statue, accompanied by local Public Security Bureau (PSB) and waited for a government-sponsored dance and song show to begin. While they waited, Cultural-Revolution-era ballads about "beloved Chairman Mao" blasted across the square.

    The city displays the benefits of development, a medical and teachers' university, paved roads and a surplus of goods – but also the dark side – Sichuan and Hunan prostitutes have shown up, and public drunkenness under neon lights makes the beard of an old Uighur tremble.

    Get 'em While They're Young

    Children in Xinjiang are not allowed to attend Islamic school until the age of 18, and they do not have leave to attend prayers on Friday due to school. This grates on locals who see Islam as the core of their culture.

    In Kashgar, the former palace of King Said, one of the last kings of Kashgaria, is now the Communist Party headquarters, and the Islamic school he founded is now the site of a "Patriotic Religious Training Center." This training center meets ten times a year, and Imams from around the Kashgar area gather to learn how to pray, when to pray, and what new laws have been established to enforce the Party line.

    Teaching Islam at home is a crime in Xinjiang, and many have been arrested in southern Xinjiang since 1995 when the police began enforcing the law. Schoolchildren spend much of their time learning Party theory (Mao, Deng, Jiang) by rote. Clerks in the Executive Administration – a puppet government subordinate to the Party – also spend at least six hours a week studying Party Policy and are required to monitor the mosques every Friday. Names are taken and ages are checked and any mistake by the clerk means their job.

    Who Is Native?

    Han who came here in the 1960's and have lived here and had children tend to speak a little Uighur and have reached an agreement with their Muslim neighbors. There is mutual respect, business, and even friendship – but people eat, drink, and play separately. Han who arrived in the past 30 years refer to themselves as natives.

    There is a Uighur part and a Han part of the city – the separation is as clear as the "Peace Wall" that divided Ireland's Falls and Shankhill neighborhoods. The Uighur part of town tends to be poorer and less developed, but a swath of locals have taken advantage of Xinjiang's importance to Beijing to make themselves rich and powerful. There are as many Uighur police as there are Han patrolling the streets and for every ten soldiers living at the base between Hotan and Kashgar, one is a Uighur.

    Two boys I talked to near the tomb of Mahmood Kashgaria, a scholar of the 10th century who translated the Quran into Uighur, hail from Hunan and Sichuan. But they were born here, their parents live here, they speak in the Xinjiang dialect with but a smidgeon of their grandparents' mode of speech to be detected.

    Are they natives? Most of their friends are Han, but they play in the deserts and fields of Xinjiang. They eat lamb and bread as much as they eat rice and pork, and they have no desire to return to a home they have never known.

    Uighur farmers and small time entrepreneurs say they do not have the same access to loans as the Han. When money from the center arrives in Urumqi and is dispersed throughout the regions, Han businessmen flock to the small towns and gobble up the loans, acting on tips from Party and bank officials.

    Justification?

    How can China justify prohibiting children from visiting the mosques? What possible purpose could Cultural Revolution songs blasted into the ears of the populace serve? Why occupy the center of Kashgar's old city, unless you are a conqueror?

    The answer is simple – China aspires to superpower status. And if China has learned anything from superpowers past and present, it has learned that there can only be one power in a nation.

    The only other culture as diametrically opposed to Islam as the Han is American culture. For China, to tolerate a Muslim enclave is to tolerate the Black Panthers. To consider any other status for Xinjiang would be to reconsider the US's southwest.

    But unlike the US, China's policy is to take Islam away from the children and replace it with desire – desire for wealth, desire for love in a "non-traditional" sense, and desire to assimilate into the nation as a whole. Not unlike the US, desire in Xinjiang is combined with a healthy fear of prison and death at the hands of the PSB.

    America's policy is purely to conquer in the classical sense – to replace Islam with fear and submission. Both nations intend to destroy the religion and plunder the resources – but what China has in its favor is that Xinjiang lies within its borders.

    China & Islam in the Northwest Chinese Region

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



    This is what is to be a Uighur and a Muslim in Xinjiang! and in Han-land!
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    To be fair to China, China is seeking to modernise China into a dynamic country where nationalism come FIRST.

    It requires to exploit the natural resources wherever it can within its boundary and Xinjiang is a part of China.

    True that there is repression and the Hans do not like the importance given to religion, be it in the hinterland or on the fringes.

    Are the Uighyr justified in remaining backward and steeped in religion?
     
  19. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Good! We expect our role model India to shed light on these ten-million-dollar questions by showcasing how India handles Kashmir, NE tribals, Quota for Backward Caste, and Communal Violence,

    Listen and learn, Chinese >>> http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/...-job-reservation-muslim-obcs-mamata-govt.html
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    But nothing about Xinjaing and how well China is handling it?

    I am sure you have not read the posts!

    Keep it up!
     

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