Religious Minorities of China and China's balancing game

Discussion in 'China' started by sorcerer, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    I open this discussion to understand various religious minorities in China and how the practices of religion is affecting the CCP.

    A Tale of Two Chinese Muslim Minorities

    There is a chasm between the conditions experienced by the Hui and Uyghur peoples in China.
    By Brent Crane August 22, 2014

    There are two major Muslim ethnic groups in China: the Hui and the Uyghurs. While these two ethnic communities may share the same god, their respective positions within Chinese society remain radically different.

    The Uyghurs, who speak a Turkic language written with an Arabic script, are as distinct in appearance from the Han Chinese as Native Americans are from their Caucasian counterparts. Their population of around 8 million mostly resides in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a vast province situated along the borders of several Central Asian countries in China’s northwestern frontier.

    The Hui, estimated at around 11 million, can be found throughout China. Most, however, are concentrated within the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. They are unique in China as they represent the only one of the 56 officially designated nationality groups in China “for which religion…is the sole unifying criterion of identity.” In skin and blood, the Hui are little different from their Han brethren. For the vast majority of the Hui, Mandarin is a mother tongue, and besides refraining from pork and alcohol, they have much the same dietary preferences as the Han.

    The most striking difference between the two groups though is their respective positions in relation to the Chinese government . Unlike the Hui, the Uyghurs face an alarming amount of state discrimination. “Under the guise of counterterrorism and ‘anti-separatism’ efforts, the government maintains a pervasive system of ethnic discrimination against Uighurs…and sharply curbs religious and cultural expression,” notes a 2013 Human Rights Watch report on China. It cites an “omnipresence of the secret police,” a “history of disappearances” and an “overtly politicized judiciary” as common components of the “atmosphere of fear among the Uighur population.” The Hui are not mentioned in the full-country report. The cause behind the gap in government treatment is twofold.

    One reason is culture. Like the majority Han Chinese, the Uyghurs also have a strong attachment to their cultural practices and are deeply prideful of their culture’s long history. They have little desire to assimilate into Han society. Their reluctance to do so is met with reactions ranging from chauvinism to claims of ingratitude by the Han elite. Reciprocally, the Han inclination to patronize and discount the Uyghurs – referred to as “the barbarians” in dynastic times – as culturally inferior breeds resentment and frustration among Uyghurs.

    The Hui on the other hand are the ideal religious minority for the Chinese government. They have largely assimilated into Han society, having adapted their Islamic practices to fit into the Confucian-influenced macroculture. Their mosques, a harmonious blend of traditional Chinese dynastic architecture with Islamic motifs, are the perfect manifestation of the Hui’s fluid assimilation.

    Another aspect of the cultural dimension that affects the Uyghurs’ societal positioning is race. Racial discrimination pervades the Uyghur-Han relationship in China. Many of the Han feel uneasy towards the Uyghurs, believing them to be thieves and hotheads and in more recent years, religious fanatics. Part of this is because the Han are poor at distinguishing the differences between the Turkic minority groups. As a consequence, when crimes are committed by Tajiks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks or Tatars, Han will likely describe the wrongdoers to authorities as Uyghurs; suddenly nearly every non-Han crime taking place in China is committed by Uyghurs.

    The effects of this stereotyping is evident in Urumqi, where Han and Uyghur numbers are nearly equal. Xinjiang’s provincial capital is a city divided. While the Han Chinese reside in the wealthier north, most of the Uyghurs stay in the less developed south. “The Han don’t come down here,” an American expat living in Urumqi tells me as we stroll through a Uyghur neighborhood. “They are too afraid.”

    The Hui, however, mingle freely within both communities. Their command of Mandarin lends them legitimacy with the Han, while their Islamic faith makes them okay with the Uyghurs (though this isn’t to say that there haven’t been clashes). In contrast, many Uyghurs struggle with Mandarin, which only adds to the Han perception that they are an uncivilized, benighted people.

    Language plays a role in the income divide between the two groups as well. To be fair, the government is directing much effort towards addressing this problem with bilingual schooling and affirmative action programs (though both policies have had mixed results). Affirmative action programs notwithstanding, a mastery of Mandarin is essential for employment within the government or a state-owned enterprise (SOE), two of the best paying sectors in Xinjiang’s extraction-heavy economy. But while conducting research on income disparity in Xinjiang, University of California PhD candidate Anthony Howell found “a noticeable increase in Hui who were employed by SOEs” in comparison to his Uyghur control group. Furthermore, almost all of the Hui involved in his study were “conversationally fluent in Mandarin,” while only 73.8 percent of Uyghur respondents could be said to possess the same competency.

    “[The Hui] are better than us,” says a young Uyghur man in Urumqi who wishes to be called Askgar. He does not wish to share his name due to a fear of state retaliation. “Sometimes I feel like there is no future for us, like we are refugees. We’re not welcome anywhere. [The media] made us famous for some bad things,” he laments. “Now people are afraid of us.”

    Race impacts how the state-run media depicts Uyghurs. Since the start of the Global War on Terror, authorities have been quick to label instances of violence or crime committed by Uyghurs as acts of terrorism. Liang Zheng, a researcher of Chinese media at Xinjiang University in Urumqi, analyzed several state newspapers as part of his doctoral dissertation, hoping to shine a light on the media’s portrayal of Uyghurs. In his research he found that “Uyghurs [were] represented in China’s state media in a partial and biased way,” and that depictions of Uyghurs as terrorists and a threat to China greatly increased following 9/11. As a result of the media’s excessive use of the T-word, the impression that all Uyghurs are religious radicals has gained traction in the public sphere. When legitimate acts of Islamic terrorism do occur (and they may be on the rise) it only legitimizes that stereotype among the public. The Hui don’t experience these types of problems associated with bad press. But for the vast majority of peaceful, moderate Uyghurs, this public labeling has become a major burden.

    The second and most important reason for the government treatment gap is territoriality. The Uyghurs, who as recently as the 20th century experienced two separate periods of independence, generally believe Xinjiang is occupied unjustly by the Chinese. Many believe that the province – which Uyghur nationalists make a point of calling East Turkistan and not its Mandarin name – should be a sovereign nation ruled by ethnic Uyghurs, similar to the Stan states of Central Asia.

    The Hui meanwhile almost never challenge the territorial authority of the Party. They have historically shown little interest in politics. Nor have they had much experience in governance. Rather, they have existed within different Chinese polities throughout the centuries mostly as a minority group within a larger Han society. They care that they are able to practice their religion freely and not much else. Though they have experienced significant discrimination and hardship throughout the centuries under the ruling classes – and have fought back under the leadership of various figures – this experience hasn’t bred a serious desire for statehood. Thus the Chinese party-state today, perpetually obsessed with matters of territoriality and ethnic unity, harbors little ill will towards the Hui, who have challenged neither issue. This confidence holds true even when the Hui delve into religious fanaticism.

    In 2006, a religious leader of a Sufi sect in Ningxia established what the South China Morning Post described as a “virtual religious state,” with one and a half million followers and a network of mosques and madrasas. He spoke openly of his time seeing Osama Bin Laden speak and his meetings with several radical clerics while studying in Pakistan. But because he expressed unwavering loyalty to the Communist Party, he went unbothered by the authorities. Given the strict regulations enforced upon even the most moderate Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, such an example suggests that the difference in government treatment of the two Muslim groups rests not within religion but within the political realm.

    Much analysis of Beijing’s repression in Xinjiang attributes the state’s oppressive policies to something akin to Islamophobia or an animosity towards the sacred in general. Seeing the great lengths that the government goes to in its attempts to dilute the religiosity of Xinjiang, this wouldn’t be an illogical deduction. Besides, the Communist Party is an outwardly atheist regime. But a look into the degree of religious and political freedom experienced by Xinjiang’s Hui Muslims in comparison to their Uyghur neighbors illuminates a different explanation. What Beijing is motivated by in its oppression of Uyghurs is not a distaste for Islam as such, but it is an absolute neurosis towards the threat – serious or not – of territory loss, and with no small degree of xenophobia thrown in there as well.

    Source:A Tale of Two Chinese Muslim Minorities | The Diplomat

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  3. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Xinjiang: Reassessing the Recent Violence

    Western and Chinese media have their own narratives in reporting on the unrest. Both may be wrong.
    By Liam Powers August 04, 2013

    [​IMG]
    After a brutal attack on a police station in Lukqun left 35 people dead, Xinjiang and the Uyghurs have once again made the headlines. This massive chunk of land (one-sixth of China’s total territory) and this regionally, linguistically, and religiously complex minzu (ethno-national) group are back in the spotlight following an explosive episode of violence. And both Chinese and Western news outlets, respectively framing the event as an “act of terror” or as part of a continuous struggle against an oppressive regime, have once again oversimplified their narratives.

    Perhaps because Lukqun, unlike Kashgar, Hotan, and Turpan, was never a major post on the famed Silk Road or perhaps owing to its sheer remoteness, analyses of the event have overlooked some critical “local” details.

    What do we know about the June 26 violence in Lukqun? Reports circulated by Chinese and US news agencies agree on the basics. Just before 6 AM, a group of Uyghur men armed with knives attacked a local police station killing 24 individuals. Police then opened fire on the attackers, killing 11.

    Predictably, the similarities in reporting end here.

    News outlets operating within China’s massive state-run media quickly labeled the event a “terrorist” attack. An article posted by The Global Times that has caught the eye of several foreign observers claims that nearly 100 Uyghurs have received crash courses in military techniques in remote areas of Syria and some have even fought alongside Syrian rebels. The connection drawn between the Uyghurs and Syrian rebels implies a direct link between the acts of violence committed in Xinjiang and global terror networks – specifically Al-Qaeda.

    A report from Xinhua’s Chinese language website makes similar use of the “global terrorism” theme. According to Xinhua’s account of the events leading up to the June 26 violence, Ahmetniyaz Sidiq (Ch. Aihemaitineyazi Sidike) and Ali Ahmetniyaz (Ch. Aili Aihemaitineyazi), began convening an illegal religious organization in Lukqun in January. The seventeen members of this organization regularly viewed and listened to “jihadist” (Ch. shengzhan) propaganda distributed by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a group the U.S. has identified as an international terrorist organization, and “other” terrorists groups. These activities, the article asserts, “gradually engendered religious extremism” among the group’s followers.

    The two reports stick closely to almost every official explanation of any violence in Xinjiang. That is, malicious foreign groups have infiltrated Xinjiang and have influenced a very small (and misguided) segment of Uyghur society to commit heinous acts of violence (or terrorism) in an attempt to disrupt social order. In other words, the problem originates from the outside and in no way reflects broader grievances the Uyghurs hold against the government.

    Western observers have meanwhile clung to their own scripts. After the most recent episodes of violence, Western commentaries have once again reminded readers that Uyghurs have yet to benefit from China’s economic boom; they cannot compete with the growing number Han Chinese who are flooding the job market in Xinjiang; and they are victims of religious repression. While these issues are prevalent in many regions of Xinjiang and can certainly breed mistrust between some Uyghurs and the CCP, this narrative may not adequately explain the violence in Lukqun.

    Upon closer examination (since 2006, your correspondent has made several trips to Lukqun, most recently in 2012), Lukqun looks very different from other regions in Xinjiang making the news. Unlike Urumqi, Kashgar or even neighboring Turpan, Lukqun has not seen a huge influx of Han migrants. In fact, according to recent statistics, nearly 90% of Lukqun’s population remains Uyghur, the vast majority engaged in agriculture. To be sure, as farmers, Lukqun’s Uyghurs earn considerably less money than urbanites. Nonetheless, they have benefited from producing grapes, raisins and melons and, on average, earn more than farmers elsewhere in Xinjiang. In 2007, the government provided residents of Lukqun and its surrounding villages with materials to build winter greenhouses, which has allowed many families an opportunity to increase their annual incomes. Indeed, many of the individuals in Lukqun I have spoken to (mostly Uyghur men from their early 20s to their 50s) were satisfied with their (slowly) improving material lives.

    Their religious lives, too, have largely been left alone, at least until now. I saw middle-aged and elderly men walking to the small mosque located near my temporary residence. On one visit during the holy month of Ramadan, some people were observing the fast despite the physical demands of the harvesting season – the group of young men I mostly socialized with, though, appeared to favor cell phones and chasing girls over religious piety. And unlike in Hotan, where restrictions on certain styles of head coverings have been blamed for sparking large public demonstrations, Uyghur women in Lukqun, who routinely spend long hours engaged in domestic and agricultural labor, favor a simple scarf over more modest veils.

    Of course, this does not mean that religious activities go unmonitored in Lukqun. It did, however, appear to me that local government had an understanding with residents on what was allowed and what was not.

    With these considerations in mind, how do we make sense of the violence in Lukqun?

    A reasonable starting point may be an isolated event largely overlooked in the current discussion on Lukqun, in which a young Uyghur boy was stabbed to death by a middle-aged Han man, who mistakenly thought the boy was trying to steal from his factory. Immediately after the murder, authorities in Lukqun pledged to severely punish the perpetrator. To the dismay of local residents, an investigation conducted by local police concluded that the Han man was suffering a mental illness and that was to blame for the murder. Religious leaders in Lukqun’s Uyghur community warned that residents felt authorities were diminishing the severity of the crime.

    Of course, two brief articles does not prove a definite link between the attack on the police station and the March murder. Without a more thorough investigation, we cannot know with certainty if the two events are connected. Nor does the perceived inaction of the local government in Lukqun over the boy’s murder condone the June 26 violence. Still, on March 21, the seeds for retaliation against local authorities had been sown in a region that had seen no large-scale violence in the recent past.

    Prematurely weaving the recent violence in Xinjiang into broader narratives about global terrorism or systematic mistreatment of the Uyghurs, as has been the common practice among most Chinese and Western observers, does little beyond attempting to advance the respective side’s political motives. While it is possible the violence in Lukqun is part of a larger movement, personal experience in the region suggests that the violence was an unfortunate response to the local government’s unwillingness or inability to address local concerns.




    Xinjiang: Reassessing the Recent Violence | The Diplomat | Page 2
     
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  4. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    China’s Not So Secret War on Religion

    ‘Recent developments indicate increased measures to control Islam and Christianity.’
    By Steve Finch June 16, 2014


    The week starting May 18 marked a new low for religious groups in China. That Sunday, authorities quietly removed or destroyed crosses at 50 churches in Zhejiang in what appeared to be a widening campaign against Christianity in this prosperous eastern province. No mention of the campaign appeared in Chinese media.

    Four days later, Islamic separatists plowed into the crowded main market in Urumqi, at the opposite end of the country in Xinjiang province, throwing explosives at innocent shoppers and killing 43 people including the five assailants themselves. The next day, Chinese authorities announced a one-year crackdown in restive Xinjiang using “extremely tough measures and extraordinary methods” following a spate of attacks including this second incident in the provincial capital in less than a month.

    Although unrelated, these incidents mark a new battle against religion in China: a silent offensive against Christianity in the eastern Han heartland and a much louder campaign against Islamic extremism by minority Uyghurs in the northwest. Is it a fight the Chinese Communist Party can win?

    Later the same day as the latest Urumqi attack, more than 1,000 soldiers flanking white tanks and police vehicles put on a show of strength in the Xinjiang capital as President Xi Jinping promised to “severely punish terrorists” and “crack down on them with a heavy fist.”

    Severe punishments have followed in Xinjiang thick and fast. On May 27, authorities held a mass trial of 55 people in Yining City stadium packed with a 7,000-strong crowd, with three of the defendants sentenced to death on charges including “violent terrorism.” A week earlier, 39 people were found guilty amid scenes reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution of four decades ago. Mass trials have not been seen in China since the 1990s.

    Alim Seytof, director of the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), says that the new campaign in Xinjiang has seen armed police and special police forces deployed from elsewhere in China in the two biggest predominantly Uyghur cities of Kashgar and Hotan.

    “[They are] carrying out armed sweeps and security operations targeting Uyghurs, especially young males,” he notes. “In other cities, Chinese security forces are targeting devout Uyghur religious believers, especially men with beards and women with scarves.”


    Beijing is blaming minority Uyghur Islamic separatist groups – the most prominent of which is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – for at least 10 major terrorist attacks that have left more than 145 people dead in less than a year, mostly in Xinjiang.

    Although the government formalized a new campaign only after the recent Urumqi attack, Seytof says authorities slowly ratcheted up a crackdown on Uyghurs in recent months with each new terrorist attack, often using measures that directly punish religious practices.

    On April 16, the website of the Aksu prefectural government published details on how residents in Shayar county could be rewarded up to 50,000 yuan ($8,000) for reporting on local residents exhibiting any one of 53 proscribed behaviors. These included separatist preaching, storing guns, or providing funding to overseas anti-government groups, as well as people holding tabliqs, or informal religious discussions led by a layperson, or growing a long beard. Shayar, which lies close to the border with Kyrgyzstan, is 83 percent Uyghur.

    Following the latest terrorist attack in Urumqi, China’s state press has hinted at the growing resentment that lies at the heart of China’s growing ethno-religious fighting. Generally, however, such discourse is sidelined inside the country.

    Liu Lei, Xinjiang military command commissar, said in a front page article carried in the state-run China Daily the day after the attack that religious extremists in Xinjiang were typically aged as young as 10 to 25 and jobless. The rest of the article focused on addressing symptoms of Uyghur discontent – cutting off terrorist funding including from “The West,” the possibility of a new Chinese terrorism law, and increased security checks in hospitals, schools and shopping malls.

    “Not enough efforts are being made to solve terrorism at its roots,” Ma Pinyan, deputy director of the Ethnic and Religious Study Center at Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily for the same article. “The ideological basis for terrorism is religious extremism. The extremists have increased their efforts to indoctrinate people.”

    Seytof argues that Uyghur extremism is generated by years of worsening repression. Uyghurs are treated as second-class citizens on their own land, he says, and Beijing – in trying to assimilate the population in the name of stability – is forcibly attempting to erase this minority Muslim culture, including its religion.

    A vast region of deserts and bitterly cold winters that see temperatures drop to below minus 30 degrees Celsius, Xinjiang is a construct of the People’s Republic of China that has variously been wholly or partly controlled by previous Chinese dynasties, Russia and various Central Asian peoples. East Turkestan, the preferred moniker for the region used by separatists, was only in existence for one year, 1933, before it was taken back by Chinese Kuomintang troops.

    Strategically important, China’s largest province is a key part of an economic jigsaw connecting with Central Asia via oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the expansive Tarim Basin that dominates this remote region.

    “The Uyghur resentment toward Chinese rule comes from their failure to master and change their political destiny, and the sense of being overwhelmed by millions of Chinese settlers,” said Seytof.

    While Chinese authorities have typically played to the majority in announcing measures against this Muslim minority, when it comes to growing crackdowns against Christianity – quite widely practiced by Han Chinese – Communist authorities have generally proven less forthcoming.

    On April 28, authorities sent in bulldozers to demolish Sanjiang Church, a $5.5 million structure in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province the local government says overstepped documented planning permission but which the congregation says these same officials orally permitted.

    The little coverage the demolition has received in Chinese media has portrayed authorities treating the church even-handedly as a violator of building rules in booming Wenzhou, a port city of nine million people labeled “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian community.

    “All the churches that received demolition orders are illegal,” an official of Wenzhou’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement, China’s government-sponsored Protestant church, told the state-run Global Times.

    However, a document leaked and shared among Chinese Christian communities paints a picture of a systematic anti-Christian campaign in Zhejiang province this year. The document, which cannot be independently verified, details how authorities planned to identify targets including churches, unsanctioned house churches, and crosses from the start of the year until mid-February with the aim of tearing them down later this year under the pretext of building violations.

    “The priority is to remove crosses at religious activity sites on both sides of expressways, national highways and provincial highways,” the document says.

    Aside from the 50 crosses torn down and destroyed in Zhejiang on May 18, a further 60 churches have been forced to remove crosses or have been destroyed in Zhejiang province, according to China Aid, a Texas-based Christian rights group with a network of people inside China.

    House churches, which are considered illegal by the authorities, have come under increasing harassment, said China Aid, and a Christian park in Wenzhou was torn down in April.

    The heightened crackdown on Christianity in Zhejiang province appears to originate with the visit of provincial party secretary Xia Balong. Reportedly unhappy with the prominence of the Sanjiang spire, which rose more than 50 meters, a month later the congregation was told to remove the cross and the battle to save the church began.

    It remains unclear whether the government’s fight against Christianity in Zhejiang is just policy at the provincial level, or whether as a densely populated Christian region it represents a pilot for social engineering-obsessed Beijing for a program that could be extended countrywide.

    Many Christians in China say they fear the worst but are trying to remain optimistic. However, self-exiled Chinese Pastor Bob Fu, president of China Aid, says there are already signs an increasingly harsh anti-Christian campaign is spreading.

    “Even other provinces such as Guizhou, Anhui and Guangdong, house churches have started receiving notices to either join the government-sanctioned church or face destruction,” he observes.

    At Shouwang Church in Beijing, one of the most popular unsanctioned churches in China, police have started to detain members of the congregation for upwards of seven days, say church sources, whereas previously they were held for a few hours or turned away.

    Also last month, the government issued a statement banning the conversion of children at faith-based orphanages.

    Signs suggest the government has become increasingly irritated by Christianity, which has historically been viewed in China as a Western-originating threat to power in Beijing.

    When Fenggang Yang, director of the center of Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Indiana State, was quoted on April 18 claiming China would become the most populous Christian country in the World by 2030 with 247 million faithful, the party hit back six days later rubbishing the claim.

    Ye Xiaowen, a member of the party’s powerful central committee, told state-run media such claims were “obviously inflated” and “unscientific.”

    “It is completely meaningless to predict how many people might believe in Christianity in China in the future,” he added in the Global Times.

    Although urban migration from villages including those dominated by Christians has swelled congregation sizes at churches and cathedrals across the country – many of which have been forced to add extra services and put towers of plastic chairs outside to accommodate churchgoers, few in China doubt Christian ranks are swelling. Sheer numbers appear to be working against the party, a network of people over which it struggles to exert control.

    While the government says there about 25 million Christians, most independent estimates say the real number is at least 60 million, more than the total number of churchgoers in Europe.

    The Chinese Communist Party appears concerned. Last month, Beijing issued a policy-advising “Blue Book” report stating that religion posed a serious threat to national security along with Western democracy and cultural hegemony as well as the spread of information on the internet.


    “Foreign religious infiltration powers have penetrated all areas of Chinese society,” read the document.

    Chinese media reported that this policy paper could inform the new National Security Council created in November, which held its first meeting in April.

    At the very summit of government, there have been no explicit signs of a crackdown on Islam and Christianity in recent months, but few China watchers are in doubt that an apparently threatened Communist Party is clamping down on these religions.

    “Recent developments indicate increased measures to control Islam and Christianity,” Purdue University’s Yang tells The Diplomat.

    Steve Finch is a freelance journalist based in Bangkok. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, TIME, The Independent, Toronto Star and Bangkok Post among others.

    Source:China’s Not So Secret War on Religion | The Diplomat
    ====================

    China is really worried about people not worshipping Mao God...
    Chinese Citizens have tasted freedom...Something CCP cant afford!
     
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  5. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    China curbs Ramadan fasting in Xinjiang

    Authorities forbid Communist Party cadres, civil officials and students from marking Ramadan in mainly Muslim province.

    Chinese authorities in the northwestern province of Xinjiang have banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during the month of Ramadan, prompting an exiled rights group to warn of new violence.

    Guidance posted on numerous government websites called on Communist Party leaders to restrict Muslim religious activities during the holy month, including fasting and visiting mosques. :ranger:

    Xinjiang is home to about nine million Uighurs, largely a Muslim ethnic minority, many of whom accuse China's leaders of religious and political persecution.

    The region has been rocked by repeated outbreaks of ethnic violence, but China denies claims of repression and relies on tens of thousands of Uighur officials to help it govern the province.

    A statement from Zonglang township in Xinjiang's Kashgar district said that "the county committee has issued comprehensive policies on maintaining social stability during the Ramadan period.

    "It is forbidden for Communist Party cadres, civil officials (including those who have retired) and students to participate in Ramadan religious activities."

    The statement, posted on the Xinjiang government website, urged party leaders to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan.

    Similar orders on curbing Ramadan activities were posted on local government websites, with the educational bureau of Wensu county urging schools to ensure that students do not enter mosques during Ramadan.


    'Administrative methods'

    During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more closer to God, pious and charitable.

    An exiled rights group, the World Uyghur Congress, warned the policy would force "the Uighur people to resist [Chinese rule] even further."

    "By banning fasting during Ramadan, China is using administrative methods to force the Uighur people to eat in an effort to break the fasting," said group spokesman Dilshat Rexit in a statement. :tsk:

    Xinjiang saw its worst ethnic violence in recent times in July, 2009, when Uighurs attacked members of the nation's dominant Han ethnic group in the city of Urumqi, sparking clashes in which 200 people from both sides died, according to the government.

    China curbs Ramadan fasting in Xinjiang - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English
     
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  6. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Uighurs at Xinjiang mosque have to face China flag when praying :rofl:
    September 18, 2013

    Activists say local officials' move aims to 'dilute the religious environment' in the restive region.

    [​IMG]

    Authorities have placed a Chinese flag at the head of a mosque in western China, forcing ethnic Uighurs to bow to it when they worship, Uighur activists said Wednesday.

    The local government in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region’s Aksu area placed the flag over the mihrab -- the traditional prayer niche that points the direction to Mecca -- prominent Uighur rights advocate Ilham Tohti told Al Jazeera. He called it an effort to “dilute the religious environment” in the area, where minority Uighurs often complain of ethnic and religious repression.

    Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify the report at time of publication, and Aksu officials did not respond to multiple calls for comment.

    Reports from Uighurs in the area said the placement of the flag has upset residents amid a series of fresh religious restrictions, which analysts say Beijing hopes will integrate Uighurs into Chinese society and pacify the strategically important region. Xinjiang is perennially rocked by clashes between Muslim Uighurs and China’s majority ethnic Han Chinese. :ranger:

    “They placed the flag at a very sensitive place in the mosque,” Tohti said, explaining that he has seen Chinese flags prominently positioned in mosques in China before -- but never in such a sensitive spot.

    Tohti noted that Muslims pray facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia, but Chinese law and authorities demand unwavering allegiance to Beijing.


    “They are essentially saying the flag is higher than religion,” he said. :ranger:

    Authorities in Xinjiang have recently imposed new restrictions on religious behavior. These including posting signs across the region barring women from wearing headscarves in public venues.

    Tohti said the religious restrictions -- in a Chinese region bordered by Kyrgzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan -- are part of Beijing’s attempts to secure its business inroads in Central Asia, which analysts say is set to become a leading source of China’s natural energy imports.

    “China is opening up its foreign affairs to the West. They hope not to have any problems as they expand their influence, especially not in Xinjiang. They are worried about this danger,” Tohti said.

    China’s efforts to promote calm in a region that is key to its economic endeavors appear to be two-pronged. New religious restrictions compound decades-old bans on minors entering mosques to receive religious instruction and attempt to curb traditional fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The government has also engaged in a protracted crackdown on what Beijing calls violent Uighur separatists.

    Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday that local officials said 12 more Uighurs had been killed in a raid in western Xinjiang last month, bringing the total reported dead in crackdowns that month to 34.

    Beijing attributed the ethnic clashes that killed at least 21 in April and another 27 in July -- after similar riots that killed hundreds in 2008 and 2009 -- to what it calls "terrorist" and "separatist" groups. Uighurs say the assailants are upset with social repression and a lack of opportunities to partake in the Han Chinese-dominated local economy.

    “In (his recent visit to) Central Asian states, President Xi [Jinping] was really pointing out a Uighur terrorist threat,” said Sean Roberts, a George Washington University professor specializing on Chinese and Central Asian affairs.

    “In context of U.S. military pull-out of Afghanistan, China is concerned about ruffling feathers of Muslim populations to the West, as they have large plans of expansion of influence into Pakistan and Central Asian Muslim majority countries,” he said.

    But Roberts said it appears that Beijing's current methods are less than effective.

    “Putting myself in the position of Chinese bureaucrats, their strategy is not working, so they are pushing it harder and harder. And their strategy is only exacerbating the problem.”

    Tohti offered his own suggestions for a new strategy.

    “If China really believes Uighurs are part of the country, then meet your responsibility to them. Uighurs are impoverished and have no rights. China needs to improve their living standards,” Tohti said.

    Uyghurs at Xinjiang mosque have to face China flag when praying | Al Jazeera America
     
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  7. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    China Confiscates Muslims Passports

    HONG KONG—Authorities in northwestern China have begun confiscating the passports of Muslims, mostly ethnic Uyghurs, in an apparent bid to prevent them from making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, local residents and officials say.

    An officer who answered the phone at the Tengritagh district public security bureau [police department] of the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi, said local residents were required to "register" their passports with local neighborhood committees, the basic building blocks of social control in China.

    “The authorities of local residential offices are collecting the passports,” he told RFA’s Uyghur service.

    “Local residential offices are collecting the passports in order to register them...The authorities will keep the passports for the public. If they want to go to other countries, they can come to fetch their passports. The authorities will give the passports back to them accordingly.”

    I think the word is that it is to prevent some problems, like preventing people from going on the Hajj pilgrimage. So, that is why they are collecting,

    Officials working together

    “The [passports] will become invalid if they do not hand them in.” :ranger:

    An official at a neighborhood committee in a town near the city of Kashgar confirmed the move, adding that passports were being collected only from Muslims, especially the Uyghur people.

    “Today is the 18th,” the official said. “We were told to collect them within five days, and we've just started this afternoon ... the Muslims' and the Uyghur people's passports.”

    “I think the word is that it is to prevent some problems, like preventing people from going on the Hajj pilgrimage. So, that is why they are collecting [them],” the official said.

    He said local governments, provincial government, and the police were cooperating to accomplish the task.

    Here what's happened. They've ordered us to collect all the passports within five days and the authorities will finish investigating and registering the passports within 20-odd days. The authorities are not only collecting a few people's passports...They are collecting all the passports. We do not really know what is happening in other parts of Xinjiang,” he added.

    “Every Muslim who owns a passport must hand it to the authorities.”

    On June 19, the Tengritagh News Web site printed an article titled "Tightening the Pilgrimage Policy and Protecting the Public,” which carried a report on a speech by Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Party chief Wang Lequan the previous day to religious leaders from the Bureau of Religious Administration.

    Wang called on the government to tighten its pilgrimage policy and to harshly punish "illegal" pilgrimage organizers. He said the government should halt underground pilgrimage activities and either restructure the current pilgrimage policy or make new pilgrimage policy.

    The Xinjiang authorities began to confiscate passports immediately following the speech.

    All able-bodied Muslims are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, birthplace and holy city of Islam, once in a lifetime if they can afford it. Additional pilgrimages are recommended.

    With around 2 million Muslims making the pilgrimage annually, airlines and operators offer specialized Hajj packages. This year’s Hajj will begin Dec. 18, so the passport registration drive comes just as people would start to think about booking tickets.

    RFA’s Uyghur service was contacted initially by Uyghurs overseas who said their parents’ passports had been taken, making them unable to join them on the pilgrimage.

    The Hajj is traditionally undertaken with family, or with fellow pilgrims from a local mosque, and would constitute a deep show of unity for any group making the pilgrimage together.

    Uyghurs, who number more than 16 million, constitute a distinct, Turkic-speaking, Muslim minority in northwestern China and Central Asia. They declared a short-lived East Turkestan Republic in Xinjiang in the late 1930s and 40s but have remained under Beijing's control since 1949.

    China Confiscates Muslims Passports
     
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  8. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Uighurs and China's Xinjiang Region

    XUAR (Xinxiang Uighur Autonomous Region), or East Turkistan, is a territory in western China that accounts for one-sixth of China's land and is home to about twenty million people from thirteen major ethnic groups, the largest of which (more than eight million) is the Uighurs [PRON: WEE-gurs], a predominantly Muslim community with ties to Central Asia. The Uyghur American Association (UAA) says that East Turkistan is a part of Central Asia, not of China. Some Uighurs call China's presence in Xinjiang a form of imperialism, and there have been movements for independence since the1990s through separatist groups like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), inflamed in part by large migrations of Han Chinese to the region.

    In February 2012, at least a dozen people died after being attacked on the street by Muslims armed with knives near Kashgar, the western part of Xinxiang located near China's border with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. After the Chinese government said the men involved had links to terrorists in Pakistan, a Chinese woman was also killed in Pakistan in what was considered a retaliatory attack. China claims the rioters were trained in Pakistan and has asked Pakistan to take "credible measures" to safeguard its citizens. XUAR shares borders with five Muslim countries--Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan--which seems to be a Chinese concern. The China-Pakistan relationship in particular has been strained by the recent killings, and questions about China's traditional friendship with Pakistan are rising. :ranger:

    Terrorism and Counterterrorism

    During the 1990s, Uighur separatist groups in Xinjiang began frequent attacks against the Chinese government. The most famous of these groups was the ETIM, labeled as a terrorist organization by China, the United States, and the UN Security Council. China claims the group has links to al-Qaeda and says that they were trained in jihadi terror camps in Pakistan to launch attacks in Urumqi. :tsk: Reports say Pakistani officials have also admitted that the militants in western China have ties to the Pakistani Taliban and other militants in northwestern Pakistani regions along the Afghan border. Pakistan, a close ally, has assured China of full support to contain terrorism in China. Concern about Uighur terrorism flared in August 2008--just days before the Beijing Olympics--when two men attacked a military police unit (NYT) in Xinjiang, killing sixteen.

    The Chinese government has taken steps to combat both separatists and terrorists in its western province and monitors religious activity in the region to keep religious leaders from spreading separatist views. Since September 11, 2001, China has raised international awareness of Uighur-related terrorism and linked its actions to the Bush administration's so-called war on terror.

    But many experts say China exaggerates the danger posed by Uighur terrorists. While China has accused the Uighurs of plotting thousands of attacks, Andrew J. Nathan, a China expert at Columbia University, says, "You have to be very suspicious of those numbers."

    Some experts, including Bequelin, say China's anti-separatist campaign provokes resentment, which can lead to more terrorism. But others say China's counterterrorism measures have been somewhat successful. A review of U.S. State Department documents shows a decrease in Uighur-related terrorism since the end of the 1990s. ETIM, classified as a terrorist organization during the Bush administration, is not listed as Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) anymore in the list updated in January 2012.

    A 2010 report from the Congressional Research Service examines U.S.-China cooperation on counterterrorism, noting that tensions remain over handling Uighurs. The United States refused to hand over five Uighurs who had been captured by U.S. forces in Pakistan in 2001, despite Chinese calls to do so. :ranger: After their release from Guantanamo Bay in May 2006, the Uighurs were instead transferred to Albania. In June 2009, four Uighurs who had been detained at Guantanamo were resettled in Bermuda.

    Thirteen other Uighur detainees, said to be resettled in Palau, have not yet been resettled or returned to China. Though a U.S. district court ordered their release, the ruling was overturned by a U.S. Court of Appeals, which ruled that the district court "did not have the power to override immigration laws and force the executive branch to release foreigners into the United States." The issue is further complicated as the Congress passed legislation to prevent the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to the United States. :ranger:

    Uighurs and China's Xinjiang Region - Council on Foreign Relations
     
  9. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    For the PRC anything that challenges its authority is seen as a threat.

    Be it civil rights, Democracy or Religion.
     
  10. santosh10

    santosh10 Senior Member Senior Member

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    @sorcerer

    there is a certain role of religion in the rising terrorism in CHina, which they can't ignore. and if we have a look on the way even its own ally, Pakistan, has been providing sanctuary to Islamic terrorism just because of religious ground, we are left with nothing other then read these news about China :ranger:
     
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China will ensure that the Tibetans and the Uighurs are slowly displaced from their land and sent elsewhere in the Mainland, replace them with Han people and through Sincisation (making people Han, as they have done historically to non Han people of China) change the complex situation in favour of the Han people and wipe out all remnants of the original character of these areas.

    Sinicization that occurred historically to ensure that the Han identity triumphed and all 'barbarians' embraced the idea of being Han. One example:

    Also

    Then the Han had

     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  12. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    @santosh10
    China will learn in some time that religion in Pakistan is above the deeper than deepst fraaaaaaaaaaaaandship with China
    @Ray
    Sir,in my opinion, when Sincisation that occoured in quiet old times the world was not this global. WHen we vector the 'global-connected world' into this setting, where everyone knows what everyone else is doing it will be difficult for CCP, to contain the stronger reactions of such a move though however systematic.

    As shown in post #3, China's hush hushed and classified move to take down churches are now discussed in the public domain.
    If religion is used as a weapon to counter China, then any countermove by CCP including Sincisation will be brought to attention in global arena.

    Sincisation would have been succesful for CCP if the message traveled across the world slowly like in old days, to perfom this attrition, but I dont know how well capable the CCP will be in the more exposed world.
     
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  13. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Duplicate post..Self delete
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Check this out

    All this has happened in contemporary times when the world is aware and awake.
     
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  15. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Ray
    Sir, Tibetans with their budhist ideology are less violent than their islamic counterparts.
    Religious grooming does play a role in how one reacts to opposition. With Tibet CCP must have made progress in sinicization and must have concluded it in their favor. But the way the islamic fanatics react are very violent and they spread like wild fire.
    This is where I am sceptical on CCP and its current supression.

    The more churches are closed, the more indirect reaction is planned by Chritian western sponsors via East Turkestan. The more action in East Turkestan creates more direct violence. Its kinda like flanking China with conflicting ideologies that they want to keep off from its borders.
     
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  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I would not say that the Buddhists are not violent.

    Take the example of the Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka and the Buddhist who have made an example of the Rohingyas in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar.

    Or the Khampas/Khampbas of Tibet.
     
  17. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, I have read about it sir. but somehow i have a feeling that in these cases, it doesnt look like a part of western propaganda. It was more of a flared up regional communal issue. or was it a propaganda by a larger player?
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    This is not a Buddhist Pagoda. This not a Hindu Temple. This is a Mosque, but Chinese style. Note the figurines of animals, usually forbidden by the Wahhabi sect, and also the Swastika, usually associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

    Original caption by BBC:
    Source: BBC - Travel - Slideshow - Beijing’s unexpected Muslim enclave
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Funny Mosque.

    Decorations and figurines are forbidden in Islam.

    Most ridiculous.
     
  20. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Approaching Xinjiang Crisis Point

    “China Executes 8 Convicted on Terrorism Charges,” the headline reads. It is a succinct, eye-grabbing statement that causes me to pause. As I finish the byline, I recognize an all-too familiar pattern in the Chinese justice system. Where the Uighur ethnic minority are concerned, excessive force and an opaque sense of impartiality are the rule. Official Chinese news sources read off charges linking the men to violent and dangerous separatist activities. The Tiananmen Square attack from the end of October in 2013 that left five dead and twenty-nine injured is laid at the feet of one of the men, an alleged mastermind, but the response by the state rings hollow and the reason is a complicated one. The Uighur separatism issue is far from solved, and the threat of domestic terrorism still looms large in Xinjiang.

    For Western observers, Chinese domestic security policy has never had the appearance of justice or finesse, due largely in part to restrictions on a free press in matters important to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Law and order are important to every state, but a functioning justice system must rely on transparency and citizens’ rights as much as the guarantee of punitive action against a society’s worst offenders. One need only review the complex and controversial history of the CCP’s claims to the Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Regions to recognize that the law and public good have been capriciously applied in the CCP’s recent past.

    This relative inconsistency in the use of force and treatment of citizens’ rights belies one of the central failings of Beijing’s policy regarding the violence of the Uighur separatist movement in Xinjiang: Overzealous use of force from a variety of official and unofficial agencies in the region only hinders the CCP leadership’s goal of a pacification. Despite this inconsistency, these events can give foreign analysts insight into what means the CCP is willing to take to maintain its rule – and how far it is willing to go. At the very least, they reveal how adaptable and responsive the central party apparatus is at dealing with such a nebulous security threat.

    The use of force in domestic police action within China is difficult to fully conceptualize for the Western observer, whose political systems are usually based on the idea of political costs and finite political capital. How does one assess political costs for an arcane single-party system with state-run and officially-sanctioned public news bureaus? There can be no doubt that there are internal power struggles: Competition over resources and policy preferences and priorities must surely exist within the closed doors of the CCP. Ascertaining how much compromise, bargaining, and public influence are weighed by policy elites remains difficult, however. This is why the Uighur separatism issue is becoming more important and warrants greater scrutiny from foreign policy and academic circles. It is a litmus test to see how far the CCP and its leaders are willing to go in resolving a perceived internal existential threat in either direction: citizen rights reform or increasingly draconian security measures.

    Complex History

    Uighurs are the plurality in the western Xinjiang Province, which covers roughly one sixth of China’s territory: 47 percent of the population, with Han Chinese accounting for 38 percent. This is significant when considering just how important Xinjiang may become to China. Being the largest region within China, and a considerable energy resource base (Xinjiang is home to the Tarim basin, one of China’s largest potential domestic energy development sites according to Sinopec and PetroChina estimations). This information can be readily found in the first paragraph of virtually every news story in Western media discussing the recent surge in violence and ethnic strife in the region. What these pieces fail to discuss further when acknowledging the approximately 300 dead Han Chinese and Uighurs are the changes in Chinese domestic security apparatus within their cities. They ignore the complex history of Xinjiang’s annexation in 1949, the policies of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (a quasi-military body in charge of both peacekeeping and infrastructure development for the region empowered by the PLA), and the relative disparities in resource extraction to development and income the Uighurs face versus their Han Chinese counterparts in the region.

    China’s hold on Xinjiang has not always been as consistent as in the last six decades. The Uighur population has never been compliant with Han dominion, with a variety of uprisings and violent incidents since the annexation of Xinjiang in the 18th century. Moreover, during the 19th century, Uighur Chieftain Yakub Beg led a fierce uprising against the Qing dynasty rulers for twenty-two years, even gaining foreign support and trade from Tsarist Russia and the British Empire at the time. Additionally, the Uighurs established an independent state of Eastern Turkestan Republic in the 1930s, which lasted until Communist forces reoccupied the western province at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

    During the early years of communist rule, the establishment of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps led to a quasi-military body being in charge of the region’s security and economic development. Performing a hybrid role of economic planning, construction, infrastructure management, and militia, the XPCC, although technically a civilian bureaucracy, was instructed to remain armed at a time when China feared border incursions and an escalation of tensions with the Soviet Union. Although it was temporarily dissolved by Mao Zedong in 1975, it was reestablished by Deng Xiaopeng in 1981 and continues to be a powerful economic and kinetic security body in the region. Tellingly, Han Chinese largely fill the XPCC and exclude the local Uighur population from economic and security policy development. Complicating the reputation of communist rule in Xinjiang are controversial policies such as virtual slave labor (Kuomintang nationalist troops captured during the civil war and being sent to the west to civilize and transform the desert into arable farmland) and the relocation of the “Shanghai Girls” during the Cultural Revolution which, under the auspices of resettling urban Chinese to rural areas, is viewed by many historians as a means of pacifying the colonial Han by providing them with brides.

    Modern Uighur resistance to Han dominion over Xinjiang is peculiarly murky. It involves both legitimate appeals for human rights, and violent extremism and terrorism. The varying separatist political factions have received training and material support throughout Central Asia and from sympathetic extremist organizations, performing bombings, leading bloody riots that leave hundreds dead or injured, and assassinating local officials. These insurgency tactics complicate domestic security policy for Beijing, and of special consideration is the Uighur émigré population, of whom there are approximately one million worldwide, according to Chien-Peng Chung. Chung wrote in 2002 that “Beijing fears them nevertheless, because the mere possibility that they may cause disruption creates an impression of instability in Xinjiang and dampens foreign investment.” At the time, Xinjiang’s economic and civil infrastructure were considerably less developed. Twelve years later, with greater economic investment, energy resources, commodity production, and Han migration the Uighur separatist threat has even more potential to disrupt Beijing’s interests. Chung asserted that the impact on investment and development in the region of the physical threat would be of primary interest for the CCP in 2002, but economic growth (although of considerable value to the central party for maintaining its leadership mandate) is only half the equation. Beijing knows that a Han pogrom against the Uighur minority, even despite the continued terrorist threat, would have drastic consequences for the CCP both economically and politically.

    The other major threat to Beijing is the continued physical threat the Uighur separatists represent to territorial unity for China. Losing control of territory, especially territory as valuable as Xinjiang, is a particularly troublesome concept for the CCP leadership, and very likely an existential threat to the party’s leadership mandate. Consider the psychology that has undergird the CCP since the fall of the last imperial dynasty: fear of foreign aggression and dominance over China, dissolution of China as a single entity into separate states, and civil war. Henry Kissinger’s 2011 On China summarizes this psychology well in an eminently readable text, but a separatist group that is consistently able to secure training and material support from outside China and is able to consistently wage a violent opposition to Beijing is a very serious threat to the CCP’s image of absolute control, and its ability to provide the best leadership possible for its civilian population.

    Uighur separatists have been able to provoke radical domestic security measures from Beijing that apply to its own Han majority as well: long lines for security check points to ride the subway, armed paramilitary police patrols, and helicopters in the skies of Beijing are just the first of costly security measures that change the way the average Chinese citizen is affected by the separatist movement.
    Removing the insulation of the general Han populace from the fight in the remote western province has only further increased public scrutiny on the CCP’s domestic security policy. A popular Sina Weibo commentator blogged, “the terrorists have achieved their goals, in part. Increase the costs of law enforcement, reduce social efficiency, and raise public tensions.” A further complication comes from slowing GDP growth. A decline in annual economic growth of even a few percentage points is no small matter for the CCP leadership. Beijing has a vested interest in making sure its control is perceived as absolute (as well as competent) in order to maintain the party’s position at the head of Chinese society.

    On the subject of competence:
    Beijing’s draconian and paternalistic methods for dealing with the Uighur threat have been ineffective in curtailing the violence. Consider the more recent security policy decisions. Beijing has used a number of different tactics to quell disruption in the region at each instance of violence. The Chinese security forces have monitored and cut off Internet and communications infrastructure for the Uighur populace, instituted curfews, used “shock and awe” reprisal, enforced economic and political isolation, and even instituted public dress codes.

    What we see now is the nexus of Chinese security policy with the complications of its economic development policy. Throughout its history under communist rule Xinjiang has experienced dramatic and sudden economic and demographic changes. Chung wrote in 2002 that Beijing’s “war on terror” was ultimately fruitless because it was not addressing the systemic economic and political isolation that the Uighur minority faced in China. Furthermore, the lengths to which Beijing will go to subdue the Uighur separatists shows an inability to adapt to a complex ethnic divide in its own state. “China is distorting the real situation of the Uighur struggle,” Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress in Germany, said. “This so-called charge of terrorism is a way for the government to avoid taking responsibility for the use of excessive force that causes so many casualties.” Rexit argues a point that we have heard before in reference to Beijing: a failure to address human and citizen rights issues, only avoidable in the past because the CCP was able to consistently make good on economic development and security promises (or because of the threat of violence). This trend exacerbates the party’s problems in the modern era as interconnectivity through social media and internet publications continues to make it harder for a regime to enact information control on a populace. The harder they squeeze, the more the rest of the world hears of it, and that comes with consequences.

    The pressure of developing a robust economy in the last four decades has often led the CCP to forsake regional politics in favor of a greater macro-end result. And while the results of this focus speak for themselves, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty and dramatically changing the balance of economic power in the world, the CCP continues to alienate the party from the majority of its countrymen (the lower and middle classes) by failing to address citizen rights and quality of life issues. Uighur Separatists have engaged in terrorism and abhorrent violence, and those responsible should be prosecuted in accordance with accepted standards of justice. However, it can hardly be said that there is no legitimacy to the claims of economic and social inequality for the peaceful members of the Uighur populace within China. Denial of basic human rights, overzealous policing, and lack of access to the economic infrastructure of their homeland are a very real threat to their existence and way of life.

    In May this year President Xi Jinping paid lip service to the plight of the Uighurs in acknowledging efforts to increase bilingual education and job access, but absent from his assertions was any mention of the XPCC and other quasi-military structures employed by the Han migrants that continue to keep the Uighurs at barrel’s length. Stranger still is Xi’s push for “inter-ethnic fusion” by attempting to promote via cash incentive Han and minority marriages, a concept rooted in lofty goals of a melting pot society but ultimately seeking to dilute the ethnic identity of troublesome minorities in China. The speech and the solutions are tone deaf to the plight of the Uighurs, even going so far as to suggest dispersing the Uighur population into the rest of China in a “reverse migration.” There are few data to suggest that these measures are curtailing the separatist movement any more than their predecessors did.

    Why is the CCP consistently unable to resolve the threat of Uighur separatism and terrorism?

    There are no shortage of bright and dynamic leaders. Much is certainly written about ethnic divide and insurgency, with data to support it, and party control is no longer bolstered by ethnic chauvinism. It is obvious that part of Beijing’s policy for “integration” and maintenance of domestic peace and harmony between the minorities and Han within China should be a careful assessment and reform of discriminatory behavior by economic and political institutions, and yet those measures seem dangerous in the CCP’s eyes. Is the idea of reform linked with being perceived as weak on security issues for Beijing, or is it merely really a protracted campaign against extremists where even the slightest redress of grievances is seen as appeasement?

    Two Threats

    The Uighur minority represents two threats to the CCP: the existential threat of losing regional continuity (and therefore jeopardizing the strength of communist rule), and the inability to adapt to reform in order to diminish internal security threats. Considering the CCP’s necessity to appear strong at all times, it foregoes the scalpel in favor of the sledgehammer, ignoring a minority population rather than seeking to give them a greater economic stake in the region. Despite the control the party exerts in all facets of the Chinese state, the CCP leadership is content to either tie its hands and face the violence of Uighur separatists with paramilitary force and “shock and awe tactics” or it is fundamentally incapable of seeking broader income redistribution, citizens’ rights, and social reform that would help to appease or at least mollify and control Uighur groups. It would serve foreign analysts and academic bodies well to delve further into this issue, and seek to establish precisely what variables are affecting the decision-making process for the party.

    The difficulty the CCP faces in its own “war on terror” is deciding the lengths China and its security agencies will go to maintain their legitimacy. Can Beijing adapt at such a crucial juncture in its development to a threat that cannot be addressed by mere kinetic security policy? A real politik option may come to pass: CCP leaders will decide they are willing to endure the continued violence of the Uighur separatists until they can simply overwhelm them via Han population density that they become virtual refugees in their home province, with increasingly harsh security infrastructure keeping the population in lockdown.

    However, such a course could ultimately be far more costly for the CCP than it realizes. Internet communications, sympathy for an oppressed minority, and the costs of increased security infrastructure makes life unbearable for average citizens and business interests throughout China. Or, perhaps most dramatically, the CCP will embrace real reform via Xinjiang and the treatment of the Uighur minority and usher in a new age of citizen rights and regulation for security bodies. If so, this would be a risky maneuver for Beijing, but perhaps the most logical. It could set a precedent that would ameliorate concerns in other polities around China, helping to cement itself as acting in the best interests of the Chinese people. It is clear, however, that even if these exact scenarios do not come to pass, the CCP leadership will be forced to take more dramatic measures soon if it hopes to pacify the region. These consequences, intentional or unintentional, will be significant in characterizing the internal function and estimating political costs within the CCP.

    Scott Devary holds a Master’s of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy from Seton Hall University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington. He studied Mandarin Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing, PRC and has been a contracted researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Center for Global Security and Brookhaven National Laboratory.


    Source:The Approaching Xinjiang Crisis Point | The Diplomat
     
  21. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Anger in Hong Kong as protesters compared to slaves

    A prominent businesswoman has sparked outrage in Hong Kong by comparing the city's pro-democracy protesters to African-American slaves, suggesting they might need to "wait for a while" to win the freedoms they are seeking.

    "American slaves were liberated in 1861 but did not get voting rights until 107 years later, so why can't Hong Kong wait for a while?" Laura Cha, an HSBC board member, was quoted as saying by The Standard newspaper on Friday.

    An online petition calling for her to apologise, and for her fellow HSBC board members to denounce the comments, has gathered nearly 7,000 signatures.

    Pro-democracy demonstrators have held mass street rallies in Hong Kong for more than a month, demanding Beijing grants free leadership elections to the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

    The Chinese government insists that candidates for the 2017 vote must be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, which the protesters say amounts to "fake democracy".

    Cha -- who also sits on Hong Kong's Executive Council, which advises leader Leung Chun-ying -- has said she did not mean any disrespect with the comments and "regrets" that they have caused concerns.

    But the online petition described the remarks as "deeply insulting", as well as showing a "lack of understanding of American history".

    "We find it extremely distasteful and insensitive to compare the voting rights of average, natural-born citizens of Hong Kong to the path of voting rights of slavery," wrote Jeffrey Chan, who started the petition on Change.org.


    The protesters have occupied several major thoroughfares in the former British colony since September 28.

    Photographs circulating on social media Saturday showed the city's last colonial leader Chris Patten holding an open yellow umbrella -- the symbol of the pro-democracy movement -- in an apparent gesture of support at Oxford University, where he is chancellor.
     

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