HOW CHINA USES HIGH-TECH SURVEILLANCE TO SUBDUE MINORITIES

These systems are designed for a very explicit purpose — to target Muslims

KASHGAR, China — A God’s-eye view of Kashgar, an ancient city in western China, flashed onto a wall-size screen, with colorful icons marking police stations, checkpoints and the locations of recent security incidents. At the click of a mouse, a technician explained, the police can pull up live video from any surveillance camera or take a closer look at anyone passing through one of the thousands of checkpoints in the city.

To demonstrate, she showed how the system could retrieve the photo, home address and official identification number of a woman who had been stopped at a checkpoint on a major highway. The system sifted through billions of records, then displayed details of her education, family ties, links to an earlier case and recent visits to a hotel and an internet cafe.

The simulation, presented at an industry fair in China, offered a rare look at a system that now peers into nearly every corner of Xinjiang, the troubled region where Kashgar is located.

This is the vision of high-tech surveillance — precise, all-seeing, infallible — that China’s leaders are investing billions of dollars in every year, making Xinjiang an incubator for increasingly intrusive policing systems that could spread across the country and beyond.

It is also a vision that some of President Trump’s aides have begun citing in a push for tougher action against Chinese companies in the intensifying trade war. Beyond concerns about market barriers, theft and national security, they argue that China is using technology to strengthen authoritarianism at home and abroad — and that the United States must stop it.

Developed and sold by the China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Treating a city as a battlefield, the platform was designed to “apply the ideas of military cyber systems to civilian public security,” Wang Pengda, a C.E.T.C. engineer, said in an official blog post. “Looking back, it truly was an idea ahead of its time.”

The system taps into networks of neighborhood informants; tracks individuals and analyzes their behavior; try to anticipate potential crime, protest or violence; and then recommends which security forces to deploy, the company said.

On the screen during the demonstration was a slogan: “If someone exists, there will be traces, and if there are connections, there will be information.”

Pictures from presentations by the China Electronics Technology Corporation at recent industry shows. Paul Mozur/The New York Times

A New York Times investigation drawing on government and company records as well as interviews with industry insiders found that China is in effect hard-wiring Xinjiang for segregated surveillance, using an army of security personnel to compel ethnic minorities to submit to monitoring and data collection while generally ignoring the majority Han Chinese, who make up 36 percent of Xinjiang’s population.

It is a virtual cage that complements the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang where the authorities have detained a million or more Uighurs and other Muslims in a push to transform them into secular citizens who will never challenge the ruling Communist Party. The program helps identify people to be sent to the camps or investigated and keeps tabs on them when they are released.

The Trump administration is considering whether to blacklist one of the Chinese companies at the center of the Xinjiang effort, Hikvision and bar it from buying American technology. Hikvision is a major manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, with customers around the world and across Xinjiang, where its cameras have been installed at mosques and detention camps. C.E.T.C. owns about 42 percent of the company through subsidiaries.

“Xinjiang is maybe a kind of more extreme, more intrusive example of China’s mass surveillance systems,” said Maya Wang, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch who has studied the technology in the region. “These systems are designed for a very explicit purpose — to target Muslims.”

Shoppers lined up for identification checks outside the Kashgar Bazaar last fall.

Virtual fences

In the city of Kashgar, with a population of 720,000 — about 85 percent of them Uighur — the C.E.T.C. platform draws on databases with 68 billion records, including those on people’s movements and activities, according to the demonstration viewed by a Times reporter at the industry fair, held in the eastern city of Wuzhen in late 2017.

By comparison, the F.B.I.’s national instant criminal background check system contained about 19 million records at the end of 2018.

The police in Xinjiang use a mobile app, made by C.E.T.C. for smartphones running the Android operating system, to enter information into the databases.

Human Rights Watch, which obtained and analyzed the app, said it helped the authorities spot behavior that they consider suspicious, including extended travel abroad or the use of an “unusual” amount of electricity.

The app, which the Times examined, also allows police officers to flag people they believe have stopped using a smartphone, have begun avoiding the use of the front door in coming and going from home or have refueled someone else’s car.

The police use the app at checkpoints that serve as virtual “fences” across Xinjiang. If someone is tagged as a potential threat, the system can be set to trigger an alarm every time he or she tries to leave the neighborhood or enters a public place, Human Rights Watch said.

“The government’s arbitrary power is reflected, or coded, in the app,” Ms. Wang said, adding that the system “is programmed to consider vague, broad categories of behaviors, many of them perfectly legal, as indicators of suspiciousness.”

Intelligence agencies in many countries use sets of behavior to single out individuals for greater scrutiny. But China has taken that approach to an extreme, treating the Muslim population in Xinjiang as suspect from the start and defining suspicious behavior in sweeping terms, including peaceful religious activities such as making a donation to a mosque.

The Chinese government has defended the surveillance program, saying it has improved security in the region and says the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang are job training centers. Hikvision has denied “any inappropriate actions in Xinjiang,” and C.E.T.C. declined to comment when reached by phone.

C.E.T.C. traces its roots to the military research labs that helped build China’s first nuclear bomb, satellite, and guided missile. Established as a state defense manufacturer in 2002, it soon expanded into civilian security matters, working with Microsoft, for instance, to create a version of Windows that meets the government’s internal security requirements.

In recent years, it turned to Xinjiang.

The Communist Party, which took control of the region in 1949, has long been wary of the Uighurs, whose Turkic culture and Muslim faith have inspired demands for self-rule, and sometimes attacks on Chinese targets. State investment in surveillance took off a decade ago after anti-Chinese rioting in the regional capital, Urumqi, killed nearly 200 people.

The real bonanza of security contracts came after Xi Jinping took the helm of the party in late 2012. Spending on internal security in Xinjiang totaled nearly $8.4 billion in 2017, six times as much as in 2012, including funds for surveillance, personnel, and the indoctrination camps.

Hikvision has received contracts in Xinjiang worth at least $290 million for its cameras and facial recognition systems. Another company tapping into Xinjiang’s security gold rush is Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that the United States has described as a security threat. It signed an agreement last year with the region’s police department to help officers analyze data.

A checkpoint in Hotan last year. Andy Wong/Associated Press

 ‘The goal here is instilling fear’

The multilayered program to harvest information from Uighurs and other Muslims begin on the edges of towns and cities across Xinjiang in buildings that look like toll plazas.

Instead of coins, they collect personal information.

On a recent visit to one checkpoint in Kashgar, a line of passengers and drivers, nearly all Uighur, got out of their vehicles, trudged through automated gates made by C.E.T.C. and swiped their identity cards.

“Head up,” the machines chimed as they photographed the motorists and armed guards looked on.

There are smaller checkpoints at banks, parks, schools, gas stations and mosques, all recording information from identity cards in the mass surveillance database.

Identification cards are also needed to buy knives, gasoline, phones, computers and even sugar. The purchases are entered into a police database used to flag suspicious behavior or individuals, according to a 2017 dissertation by a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that features screenshots of the system in Kashgar.

Not everyone has to endure the inconvenience. At many checkpoints, privileged groups — Han Chinese, Uighur officials with passes, and foreign visitors — are waved through “green channels.” In this way, the authorities have created separate yet overlapping worlds on the same streets — and in the online police databases — one for Muslim minorities, the other for Han Chinese.

“The goal here is instilling fear — fear that their surveillance technology can see into every corner of your life,” said Wang Lixiong, a Chinese author who has written about Xinjiang as well as China’s surveillance state. “The amount of people and equipment used for security is part of the deterrent effect.”

A database stored online by SenseNets, a Chinese surveillance company, and examined by the Times suggests the scale of surveillance in Xinjiang: It contained facial recognition records and ID scans for about 2.5 million people, mostly in Urumqi, a city with a population of about 3.5 million.

“This can be pulled off by anyone, and that’s the part that worries me,” said Victor Gevers, a Dutch security researcher and co-founder of GDI Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes internet security.

According to Mr. Gevers, who discovered the unsecured database, the online records indicate that a network of about 10,000 checkpoints in Urumqi made more than six million identifications in 24 hours.

The authorities in Xinjiang also sometimes force residents to install an app known as “Clean Net Guard” on their phones to monitor for content that the government deems suspicious.

Kashgar and other areas of Xinjiang have in recent years systematically collected DNA and other biological data from residents too, especially Muslims. Officials now collect blood, fingerprints, voice recordings, head portraits from multiple angles, and scans of irises, which can provide a unique identifier like fingerprints.

These databases are not yet completely integrated, and despite the futuristic gloss of the Xinjiang surveillance state, the authorities rely on hundreds of thousands of police officers, officials and neighborhood monitors to gather and enter data.

“We risk understating the extent to which this high-tech police state continues to require a lot of manpower,” said Adrian Zenz, an independent researcher who has studied security spending in Xinjiang. “It is the combination of manpower and technology that makes the 21st-century police state so powerful.”

Security gates at the entrance to a Kashgar mosque in 2016.

Expanding beyond the region

Xinjiang’s security and surveillance systems are already attracting admirers from the rest of China. Delegations of police officers from other provinces and cities have visited Kashgar and other cities to admire — and consider adopting — the measures.

They often visit police command centers where rows of officers peer at computers, scanning surveillance video feeds and information on residents on the C.E.T.C. platform.

“The digitalization of police work has achieved leap-like growth in Xinjiang,” Zhang Ping, a counterterrorism officer from Jiujiang, a city in southeastern China, said during a visit to Xinjiang last year, according to an official report on the website of the city’s police bureau.

Xinjiang’s high-tech policing, he added, was “something we should vigorously study.”

Zhejiang and Guangdong, two wealthy provinces on China’s southeastern coast, have been testing the C.E.T.C. surveillance system used in Xinjiang, “laying a robust foundation for a nationwide rollout,” the company said last year.

C.E.T.C. has also signed an agreement with the police in the southern city of Shenzhen to provide an advanced “command center information system” similar to the one in Xinjiang.

The technology has some way to go. Dust and bad lighting can hobble facial recognition on security cameras, which struggle to track large numbers of people simultaneously. Even the best systems can be accurate in less than 20 percent of cases, according to one study published by a journal linked to the Ministry of Public Security.

A technician who until recently installed and maintained computers for the authorities in Xinjiang said police surveillance centers relied on hundreds of workers to monitor cameras, an expensive and inefficient undertaking.

And outside urban centers, police officers often do not have the skills to operate the sophisticated systems, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions for speaking to a journalist.

The spending spree on security in Xinjiang has left local governments across the region with staggering bills, raising questions about how the authorities can keep the systems running.

In Kashgar, for example, the county of Yengisar warned this year of a “huge shortfall” from spending on security and said that it had accumulated 1 billion renminbi, or about $150 million, in previously undeclared “invisible debt.”

“The pressure from ensuring basic spending for additional staff and to maintain stability is extraordinary,” it said.

Still, the region’s leaders told officials this year that they must not wind back spending.

“Preserving stability is a hard-and-fast task that takes priority over everything else,” the leadership said in the region’s annual budget report. “Use every possible means to find funds so that the high-pressure offensive does not let up.”

23 May 19/Thursday                                                                       Source: The New York Times

UIGHUR MUSLIM CRACKDOWN EXPANDS TO BEIJING AND SHANGHAI

The plight of the Uighurs has been raised around the world

“If I provide you with video and photos of how they treat the Uighurs here in Beijing, will you write about it without mentioning my name?” It was a private direct message on Twitter from a Pakistani expatriate, who asked to be referred to only as Khan. 

“I’m working in Beijing and I don’t want them [government] to destroy my career for speaking against injustice.”

After giving Khan my assurances I wouldn’t disclose his identity, we spoke by VPN, and I’ve since published our conversation on the podcast I host.

Khan told me he has lived in China for the past four years, relocating there to complete his Masters of Business Administration, but staying there to manage the business he and his Han Chinese wife operate together, along with their Uighur Muslim business partner who holds a 50 percent stake in the company.

“I’ve seen your many reports on China’s crackdown on Uighur in Xinjiang, and I have also read many others, but no one is talking about what the government is doing to them in Beijing and other cities outside of Xinjiang,” he explained in his initial messages.

Although alarming, an absence of Western media reporting on China’s human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in the country’s major cities is not surprising given the government’s unilateral control over the news media, alongside its ruthlessly efficient command over the internet and denial of social media, which together have played a major contributing role in why the international community has been reticent to condemn China’s brutal repression of its Muslim minority.

Simply, China has been successful in denying the world the kind of horrific imagery that would or could ordinarily spark a global movement of opposition.

"They are not even allowed to book a hotel room anywhere in China… Their only sin is that [their] ethnicity is mentioned on their ID card"

What we do know for certain, however, is China’s actions in the predominately Uighur province of Xinjiang, or what was independent East Turkestan for a brief moment until China placed the territory under its control in 1949, brings back into the view the worst crimes committed against persecuted minorities, which some have described as “cultural genocide”.

Now, however, at least according to Khan and other sources, China has extended its repressive policies to Uighur Muslims who live well outside Xinjiang, a territory the government sees as critical to successfully executing its “One Belt, One Road” economic strategy.

“My very good [Uighur Muslim] friends [Beijing] live each day, under fear from weekly checking of their house by a bunch of [government] officers… They are not even allowed to book a hotel room anywhere in China. It’s disturbing because they are graduates from Peking University,” Khan told me. “Their only sin is that [their] ethnicity is mentioned on their ID card.”

 

Khan explained to me how every Chinese resident and citizen must have their government-issued ID card with them at all times, with harsh penalties, including prison time, meted out to those caught without it. What distinguishes a Uighur from non-Uighur citizens is the placement of a small black dot in the middle of a series of Chinese language characters found under the name of the ID card holder.

By design, this black dot is to make it easy for those in the public and private sectors, including law enforcement officers, hotel managers, transport operators, and even private landlords, to see that the person holding the card is a Uighur.

Khan told me how on a recent overnight business trip to Qinhuangdao with his Uighur business partner, he booked two rooms at a hotel using the US-owned online travel booking service Hotels.com. After arriving at the hotel, Khan handed over both his identification and Visa card to the receptionist to check in. 

A moment later, he was handed a key to his room, but when his colleague handed over his credentials, the receptionist took a close look at his ID card, and then explained she had to step out quickly to “speak with the manager”.

Ten minutes later, the hotel’s general manager returned to advise that there had been a “mistake” and that the hotel was “overbooked,” before requesting Khan’s room key back and handing him a cash refund for the booking cost.

After arguing to no avail with the hotel manager, the pair stepped outside onto the street and made a booking with another hotel, again for two rooms, but using a different booking site.

To their shock and growing fear, the exact same thing that occurred to them while trying to check-in at the first hotel happened to them at the second, and then again at a third, with all three hotels refusing them a place to stay for the night, despite holding a booking confirmation for all three.

So, Khan called the police.

"Every time a Uighur now travels by train or plane, he is stopped and interrogated, and asked why he is going from here to there"

But when an officer from the nearby precinct showed, he advised the pair that the hotels had acted correctly in denying them a room, because the government had passed a “secret” law that prohibits hoteliers, landlords, and employers from providing accommodation or employment to Uighur Muslims.

“The best thing you can do is move on and go back to Beijing,” the police officer told Khan.

Khan then explained to me further how he has seen with his own eyes how life for Uighur Muslims has changed dramatically for the worst in the past two years: “Every time a Uighur now travels by train or plane, he is stopped and interrogated, and asked why he is going from here to there.”

According to Khan, every Uighur outside of Xinjiang must report to his or her nearest police station every month to update their address and purpose of stay, even those such as his partner who has lived in Beijing for eight consecutive years. Each visit is followed up by a weekly home visit from five or six officers, who search the property for any sign the Uighur still actively practices Islam.

Khan sent me a video showing me how and where in his own home he hides the prayer mat that belongs to his Uighur business partner, and explained how his Uighur friends are now choosing to not teach their young children anything about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad for fear they’ll mention something about their religious faith at school, which might prompt a “tip-off” from administrators to government authorities.

Evidently, it appears China’s effort to ethnically cleanse China of its 12 million Uighur Muslim citizens is taking place in two parts: First, erasing their culture and identity in Xinjiang, and then, secondly, removing them from other areas within the country to face the instruments of cultural cleansing at home – internment camps, harassment, and 24/7 surveillance.

CJ Werleman is the author of ‘Crucifying America’, ‘God Hates You, Hate Him Back’ and ‘Koran Curious’, and is the host of Foreign Object. 

 

10 Apr 2019/ Wednesday                        Source: The New Arab

HOW CHINA TRIED TO STOP MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH — IN CANADA

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Rukiye Turdush is a Uighur-Canadian activist living in St. Catharines, Ontario.

My brother was killed on the streets in 1992. He was only 18. He was attacked by a mob of Chinese construction corps soldiers. He was killed in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang region of western China) because he engaged in a peaceful protest with his friends against the millions of Han Chinese being sent into our homeland to dominate the land of our people, the Uighurs. I later gave his name to my newborn baby boy and decided to leave my country in search of a peaceful life for him in Canada.

To fly to Canada, we first had to travel to Beijing. Just before we emigrated, on our last night in China, my baby son and I were kicked out of our Beijing hotel room at gunpoint by Chinese soldiers. Why? Because we are Uighur, they wouldn’t allow us to stay in a hotel for Chinese. This nightmare occurred 20 years ago. My son, being a baby at the time, never knew what had happened, and I never told him about the fear I had that we would lose our lives that night.

I had thought that by escaping from the Chinese regime, I had guaranteed my boy a safe and beautiful environment in Canada, with all the opportunities he could want and need. Yet, last week at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, when I made a presentation about the dire situation of our people, I realized that the shadow of the nightmare we experienced so many years ago had followed me and my son to our adopted country.    

Image result for atrocities in china on uighurs cartoon

As I explained to my audience, the Chinese Communist Party has long aspired to wipe out the Uighur people and their identity. This was just as true 20 years ago as it is today, though back in the 1990s, the methods employed were gradual (such as the government’s calculated effort to change the demographic balance in East Turkestan by sending in Han Chinese).

Since 2017, however, Beijing has escalated its efforts dramatically. Today, there are more than 1 million, perhaps several million, Uighurs and other Muslims locked up in Chinese concentration camps. Conditions in these camps are horrendous — victims are subjected to physical and psychological torture under the guise of “re-education.” Moreover, Uighur children are forcibly removed from their homes to “break the lineage, break the origin, break the roots,” as Chinese officials have proudly announced their genocidal intent.

While I was speaking at McMaster about this horrible reality in East Turkestan, a group of Chinese students in the audience tried to disrupt my speech. One of them ostentatiously recorded the entire presentation and verbally assaulted me with foul language during the discussion period held afterward. Later, someone leaked a WeChat group discussion that revealed that the Chinese consulate may have directed the students to attend my event. The words of the participants of that WeChat group — including an exhortation to “find out about [her son]” — revived the feelings I experienced in that Beijing hotel room 20 years ago, even though I am a proud Canadian citizen and living on democratic soil.

The next day, these Chinese students reported the incident to the Chinese consulate, as is mentioned in their joint statement attacking my right to speak. In the statement, they also try to cover up China’s genocidal policy, claiming that I have fabricated the whole thing. The language of the statement exactly echoes the language of the Chinese Communist Party’s false propaganda line on what is really happening in East Turkestan. Despite the fact that the party has sent more than a million Han Chinese into Uighur Muslims’ homes to sleep with them, spy on them and coercively impose Han Chinese identity on them, the statement said that all nationalities in Xinjiang are living happily, friendly and in harmony. Nothing could be further from the genocidal truth.

The insulting and threatening words of those Chinese students dictated by the Chinese government grievously threatens the safety of every human rights defender who is opposed to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s repressive ideology and brutal regime.

The Chinese consulate in Ottawa on Saturday published a statement, praising the so-called patriotism of those students who attacked my Canadian right to freedom of speech.

Not surprisingly, this fascist form of Chinese nationalism not only opposes academic freedom and freedom of speech but also aims to bully Uighur family members who are citizens of Canada. Sadly, they don’t want to differentiate between patriotism and racist Han Chinese nationalism. What is clear is that the Chinese Communist Party has encouraged a large number of Chinese students that study in the West to export their lies about Chinese atrocities.

No matter how powerful the Chinese government may be, however, they will never succeed. Uighurs both inside China and abroad will continue to stand up for their rights and their identity as a people. But this task will become far more difficult if most of the world continues to stand by and let these crimes occur.

24 Feb 2019/Sunday                                                                                              Source washingtonpost.com

‘CHINA IS AFTER US’: UIGHURS IN PAKISTAN REPORT INTIMIDATION

Members of Uighur Muslim community say Islamabad is not fighting for their rights as it keeps close ties with China.

On a cold winter evening, Mohammad Hassan Abdul Hameed, 34, walks towards his restaurant, past silk stores in the busy China Market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

He, like many others here, belongs to the persecuted Uighur community from the Xinjiang province of China.

Abdul Hameed’s father arrived in Rawalpindi 50 years ago to work in a pilgrims’ guesthouse intended for Uighurs heading to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj.

Today, the guesthouse sits abandoned in the market, not far from Abdul Hameed’s restaurant.

According to members of the community, it was closed down at the request of China in 2006.

Uighurs have been migrating to Pakistan since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some to work as traders and others escaping communist persecution.

Today, China’s brutal crackdown on the community has made headlines around the world as up to three million Uighurs are believed to be held in so-called “re-education camps” where they are made to renounce Islam.

In Pakistan, there are around 2,000 Uighurs and for decades they have kept a low profile in the country – so much so that very few people are even aware of their presence.

There is danger for every one of us in Pakistan now. Whoever starts saying I am Uighur, I am Turkistani, is in danger.

  – MOHAMMAD UMER KHAN

But their presence here has not gone unnoticed by China, Pakistan’s “iron brother” and a helping hand at a time of economic crisis. According to the community, China has started putting pressure on Pakistan to silence its critics.

“They want to finish off Uighurs,” Abdul Hameed says, referring to the Chinese. “Here, we cannot do anything according to our wishes because China is after us.”

Beijing has invested $62bn in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will connect Kashgar in Xinjiang to the southern Gwadar port in Pakistan.

China has also promised financial aid to the country, which is desperate to sort out its economic woes.

Despite Pakistan frequently highlighting the plight of Muslim minorities across the globe, when it comes to Uighurs, Islamabad does not wish to anger its powerful neighbour.

The Uighurs in Pakistan know too well what goes on in China since many have family members who still reside in Xinjiang. Most have not been able to talk to them for the past two years because they have been held in the camps.

“From our family, 300 people are inside [the camps],” Abdul Hameed says. “Even my brother is inside.”

Others at the China Market have similar stories.

Abdul Latif, a silk trader, has relatives in Xinjiang.

“There’s no news about them,” he says. “We can’t call them. If they get a phone call from here, even if they don’t pick it up, after a couple of hours the police will come and ask who called them, what their relationship to them is, how long they have known them, and only with this excuse, they will be picked up.

“If someone dies, there is no one to read the funeral prayers,” he sighs.

“It is such injustice that even injustice itself becomes ashamed,” Abdul Raheem, another trader, interjects, agitated.

According to Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia programme at the Wilson Center, the Uighur community in Pakistan is of some concern for China, despite being minuscule in numbers.

“China knows that the plight of Uighurs has already generated major headlines and negatively impacted its global image. So, it doesn’t want Uighurs in Pakistan, where they have more freedom to speak out, bringing more attention to an issue that Beijing wants kept quiet,” he says.

Recently, news broke of the Uighur wives of Pakistani businessmen locked away in internment camps in China. Pakistan’s inaction has infuriated the community, although it has not come as a surprise.

“Pakistan is the greatest friend [of China]. Higher than the skies, deeper than the oceans,” Raheem says.

While Pakistan often laments the plight of Rohingya, Syrian, Kashmiri, and Palestinian Muslims, you rarely hear Islamabad making statements in solidarity with Uighurs.

  – MICHAEL KUGELMAN

Some members of the community say they have started facing harassment and intimidation in Pakistan for being too vocal.

One of them is Abdul Rehman, who requested his real name not be used because of the risks to himself and his family members in China.

“The Chinese government has put everyone here after each other. Me after him, him after me and him after him. We are afraid of each other. We cannot talk openly,” he says.

“The problem here is that there is pressure on the Pakistani government from China and the government of Pakistan puts pressure on us so that we wouldn’t talk about [the issues of] Uighurs in the media here,” Rehman says.

 “The agencies here put pressure on us from their side. They pick us up. They have taken many to safe houses. I am one of them. I was there for 12 days last year,” he continues in a hushed voice.

“They ask us about CPEC, what our opinion is about it. What opinion should we have about it?”

According to Kugelman, CPEC is one of the main reasons that the community has now come under increasing pressure in Pakistan.

“Beijing has ample influence over many things in Pakistan, thanks to its frequent largesse and to the trust it enjoys in Islamabad. China’s leverage has further intensified as it builds out CPEC, a major infrastructure project that’s critically important to Pakistan,” he says.

But China has also repeatedly raised alarm about what it calls “Uighur terrorists” who it believes are plotting attacks against it from the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In 2015, Pakistan said “almost all” fighters had been eliminated in army operations.

According to Kugelman, the number of Uighur fighters is modest.

“Inflating the threat posed by Uighurs gives Beijing a useful pretext to crack down on them,” he says.

Mohammad Umer Khan, a founder of an organisation called Umer Uighur Trust in Rawalpindi, says the problems for him and other Uighurs in Pakistan have increased significantly in recent years.

“There is a danger for every one [of us] in Pakistan now,” he says. “Whoever starts saying I am Uighur, I am Turkistani, is in danger.”

He says the problems started in 2006.

Men, who he thought were from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, would periodically pick him up and detain him for a day or two.

In 2010, Pakistani authorities closed down a school he had set up to teach the Uighur language to the community’s children, he says.

“They used violence against me and they put my name on an ECL (exit control list) so I couldn’t travel anywhere,” Khan says. His name was finally removed from the list in 2014 after he took the matter to the Supreme Court.

About a year ago, he says, he was picked up again and held for around two weeks.

Khan says he was beaten severely which left permanent scars on his left arm. He was subsequently made to sign documents where he promised to no longer protest against China’s policies.

Khan’s account could not be verified because the Interior Ministry of Pakistan did not respond to Al Jazeera’s repeated requests for comments.

“They say I am ruining the friendship between China and Pakistan,” he says.

But Khan says the real issue is not with the Pakistani government. “Definitely [the Chinese] have a hand in it,” he says.

The situation, say, analysts, is unlikely to change for the better as long as China continues to hold sway in Pakistan.

“It’s quite striking that while Pakistan often laments the plight of Rohingya, Syrian, Kashmiri, and Palestinian Muslims, you rarely hear Islamabad making statements in solidarity with Uighurs,” Kugelman says.”To be fair to Islamabad, it’s not just Pakistan that’s so hands off.

“The Muslim world on the whole, with a few exceptions, has taken a position of studied silence because of a desire not to upset a key global player that offers investments and other useful benefits.”

The Uighurs are aware of this and are slowly starting to lose hope.

“We have become very disappointed with Muslim countries, especially Arab countries,” Khan says. “After that, we had a lot of hopes from Turkey, but so far they haven’t done anything that big. When it comes to Pakistan, we don’t even have any hopes that they would raise their voice [for us].”

Despite the threats, Khan intends to continue speaking about his community’s problems.

“I am not against Pakistan or CPEC. But injustice is being done to my nation, to my relatives. I speak for their rights,” he says defiantly.

15 Jan 2019/Tuesday                   Source: AL JAZEERA NEWS

WHY IS THE WORLD SILENT ON CHINA’S UYGHUR MUSLIMS?

Protesting against China over the treatment of its minority is, in the eyes of Muslim leaders, presumably not worth the loss of economic privilege and security alliance

In the age of information technology, the atrocious reality of the Uyghur Muslim minority in China’s autonomous region of Xinjiang has been fed to the palms and appears before the eyes of the global citizens with frequent leaked images and reports on the mainstream and social media.

However, the global responses from individuals and states seem far less significant compared to the outrage expressed over human rights violations in Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Myanmar, and elsewhere. Perhaps, information overload in the world filled with violence might be one of the reasons which puzzles and hinders the world conscience that ultimately influences and determines their action or lack thereof.

Despite the fact that the West, spearheaded by the United States, the European Union, and Australia have become vocal in their condemnation of China over the plight of Uyghur, not much voice of complaint or protest is heard from the leaders in the Muslim world. There is more to the information surplus which explains the inaction and insufficient responses to the crisis.

This article analyzes the factors which cause such inaction and silence on the plight of the Uyghur minority in China’s Xinjiang.

China policy

Beijing’s iron fist control and surveillance make China a land of mystery, where truth acquisition is uneasy and challenging.

The absence of well-established truth is the key obstruction to raise global awareness and mobilize collective international solidarity to protect the rights of China’s Turkic speaking Muslim minority of Central Asian origin. Despite the evidence and oral testimonies of the Uyghur surviving witnesses fleeing their motherland into exile, their first-hand account of the mass ethno-religious violence seems insufficient to convince leaders of the Muslim world.

The well-established yet unresolved crisis is yielding adverse spillover effects on the internal affairs of Muslim states such as Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the Daesh wars in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, and Myanmar’s Rohingya exodus.

Intertwined with China’s image as an emerging power to wrestle the warmongering American hegemony led many ordinary citizens to doubt the authenticity of both the content and intention of the Western-affiliated pro-human rights groups and even the media.

The Chinese government’s divide-and-rule policy is effective that the Chinese Muslim populace is deeply polarized.

Unlike the Uyghur who strongly inherit Central Asian culture and Muslim heritage, the Hui Muslims residing across the country are considered by the government as moderate and assimilative to the Han dominant Chinese society. The latter enjoy more freedom and do not challenge the Chinese state’s unitary policy.

And the presence of a rigid, state-controlled media propaganda and severe censorship not only disallowed the cries of the Uyghur to be heard by their brethren but has also led to a kind of social endorsement of a heavy-handed approach to suppress them.

Restricted civil society

Since China’s political leadership believes that issues concerning social services and other basic rights should be solely awarded to the government, the roles of the civil society are then limited.

One infamous NGO law has set legal and regulatory mechanisms on how domestic and international non-government organizations should operate in the country. It is seen to be restricted to issues concerning individual and minority rights.

The brazen classification of civil society still stands among organizations – the ones that function with a bottom-up or grassroots approach are considered the “NGOs,” while those that work closely with government are called Government Organized NGO (GONGO).

The concept of civil society is totally in contrast to what a typical civil society is defined in some democratic and developing nations, where groups are permitted within a legal framework to have meaningful and democratic participation to raise, and openly discuss potential solutions on issues calling for government support. Most often than not, the latter receives enormous constraint from the government when it is perceived a threat to Beijing’s Reform Agenda.

In a speech delivered by Xi Jinping at the Central Conference on Ethnic Affairs in September 2014, he emphasized that the correct and Chinese way to solve ethnic issues must follow these principles: upholding the leadership of the Party; persevering in the socialist part with Chinese characteristics; safeguarding the unity of the country; mainstreaming and improving the regional ethnic autonomy system, and practicing the rule of law.

These restricting laws were also paralleled with state propaganda to be extremely cautious with foreign organizations and individuals instructing its people how to identify if a foreigner is a spy. The insistent argument of Beijing that its legal structure for civil society opens trust-building process among domestic and international NGOs looks different from what it promised. The broad categorization of NGOs in China is highly concerted with its national security law that confines international NGOs from the West due to security concerns paranoia.

The absence of a robust civil society in China provides a vivid image to the question why its people are silent on the oppression of Uyghur minority within its borders; a manifestation of how an authoritarian regime creates a climate of fear; and a repressed population for dissent.

From unipolar to multipolar new world order

The decline of the American hegemony due to its failed domestic and international capitalist policies, particularly the Iraq war in 2003, marks the end of the unipolar world order.

The electoral victory of President Donald Trump and his nationalist/socialist-like economic policies such as America First, with less global hegemonic ambition, resonates with the sentiment of many angry and frustrated working middle-class Americans. It also reaffirms the failure of the American capitalist system.

Subsequently, the world began to observe the new regional dynamics with the new era of multipolarity where nation-states are freely partnering with other emerging powers. China as a rising global power has formed economic and security alliance with several countries both in the pro and anti-American camps across the world.

The Chinese global project of the Belt and the Road Initiative (BRI), financed by its international financial institution, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), has conditioned countries from Asia to Africa to be part of the global value chain which primarily serves the interest of Chinese investors and, of course, the elites in the host countries. Some of the investments include the US$210-million Suez Canal Economic Zone in Egypt, the $53-billion trade deal with United Arab Emirate, and the $65-billion oil deal with Saudi Arabia while boosting its investment in Israel and sustaining strong trade partnership with Iran.

Aside from its close tie with the US allies in the Middle East, China continues strengthening its geopolitical-economic interests through Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), an economic and security alliance membered by mostly Eurasian nations, most of whom are considered illiberal in their governance.

China and Russia attempt to orient SCO to supersede NATO and EU. The aforementioned reality reflects both new balance of power and the rise of Chinese imperialism that has the influenced other countries regardless of their economic orientations. With economic strength, China managed to become the second largest funder to the United Nations, and together with Russia, it attempts to weaken the United Nation’s human rights protection apparatus by defending human rights posts.

Global Muslim leadership in crisis

It’s an undeniable truth that most of the Muslim countries share authoritarian characteristics where subjugation of their own people is common.

The condemnation and protest against China on the plight of its Muslim minority would be then counterproductive. Not only would the act be seen as interference to China’s internal affairs, but the protesting states that have no credibility to speak for human rights may also face the backlash for their internal malfeasance.

This is also true with Turkey. Its President, Recap Tayyip Erdogan, is praised by many Muslims across the world for his strong support of the Muslim minorities in the non-Muslim majority countries including the Uyghur. Given their shared ethno-religious and linguistic identities, the Uyghur gained more sympathy and solidarity from the Turkish society where they were granted asylum.

Nonetheless, there are multiple factors which undermine Turkey’s role in addressing the humanitarian crisis of Uyghur.

First, the Turkish government’s massive crackdown on the domestic political opponents has disqualified Turkey as the credible human rights defender.

Second, the Uyghur minority is not only the Turkic speaking minority group facing suppression. Turkey is often expected to extend the hand to the Turkic speaking minorities in Eurasia and Caucasus. Its support of Azeri in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the Armenian has jeopardized its relationship with Russia. It has become more careful in its international role, particularly in avoiding the confrontation with its few remaining allies. This reflects in Turkey’s less vocal intervention over Nagorno-Karabakh upon the normalization of Russia and Turkey diplomatic tie. Lastly, China, like Russia is a few remaining friends of Turkey; having a conflict with China over Uyghur would cause more harm to Turkey’s present international standing. The recent political stance of Turkey with China has been compromising as manifested in the crackdown on the pro-Uyghur media and movements in Turkey.

These developments perhaps explain the silence and inaction of the Muslim world on the Uyghur. Protesting against China on the treatment of its minority at this moment, in the eyes of Muslim leaders including Turkey, is presumably not worth the loss of losing economic privilege and security alliance.

While China is a big power which is uneasy to deal with, its escalating global strength is seen as the alternative to leverage against the US when it is in the weakest position than ever.

05 Jan 2019/Saturday                                                                 Source: www.rappler.com

CHINA’S GULAG FOR MUSLIMS

In modern-day “re-education” prisons, Beijing is forcing ethnic Uighurs to forsake their religion. Why don’t Muslim governments rise up in anger?

One of the darkest episodes of the 20th century was the gulag — the Soviet system of forced labor camps where dissidents were imprisoned in terrible conditions, often to perish. The camps were established by Lenin, expanded by Stalin and finally exposed to the world by the great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, with his 1973 masterpiece, “The Gulag Archipelago.”

“Thin strands of human lives stretch from island to the island of Archipelago,” he wrote, and “it is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold, and if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides.”

Today, Russia’s gulags are long gone, as is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that operated them. But now another dictatorship, ruled by another Communist Party, is operating a new chain of prisons that evoke the memory of the gulags — more modern, more high-tech, but no less enslaving.

These are China’s “re-education camps,” established in the far-western Xinjiang region, where up to a million Chinese are reportedly imprisoned in order to be indoctrinated. People are forced to listen to ideological lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and write “self-criticism” essays. Survivors also tell about military-style discipline, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, beatings, and torture.

The target of this mass persecution is China’s Muslim minorities — especially the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people based in Xinjiang. They follow a mainstream, moderate interpretation of Sunni Islam. But that is enough of a “mental illness” for Chinese Communists, whose ideology considers all religions, including Christianity, to be backward superstitions that must be diluted and nationalized. That is why they go as far as forbidding people from having beards or fasting during Ramadan and forcing them to consume pork and alcohol, both of which are forbidden in Islam.

Chinese authorities say they are alarmed about extremists among the Uighurs — and, in fact, a handful of terrorists have carried out attacks against government targets over the years. But those extremists arose partly in response to a decades-old policy of subjugation, along with ethnic colonialization, that Beijing has pursued against the Uighurs. That history suggests that Beijing’s current “counterterrorism” campaign will be only counterproductive — deepening a vicious cycle that authoritarian minds are often unable to understand, let alone break.

And here is the strangest aspect of this story: China’s “re-education” policy is a major attack on Muslim people and their faith, Islam, yet the Muslim world has remained largely silent. While the policy has been condemned by human rights groups and the liberal news media in the West, along with Uighur organizations themselves, only a few Muslim leaders, like the Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim and Pakistan’s minister of religion, Noorul Haq Qadri, have raised some public concerns. Not until last month did the Organization of Islamic Cooperation finally express concern about “the disturbing reports on the treatment of Muslims” by China.

That is all very meek given how grim the situation is — and how it compares to what we would have seen if the same persecution had been carried out by some other country, such as, say, Israel.

Why is that? Why are Muslim leaders, especially those who love to be the champions of oppressed Muslims, so lenient toward China?

There are three answers. One is that coziness with China, the world’s second-largest economic power, pays. China is the top trading partner of 20 of the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, a huge path of commercial and transportation infrastructure intended to pass through much of the Middle East, holds a lucrative promise for many Muslim nations.

Moreover, China does not shy away from offering its economic assistance as hush money. In July 2018, The Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, ran an interesting editorial suggesting that China’s government would help Turkey secure its “economic stability” — but only if Turkish officials stopped making “irresponsible remarks on the ethnic policy in Xinjiang,” which means stop criticizing China’s human rights violations. (At about the same time, Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, was also promising to help the Turkish economy, but only if Turkey corrected its own human rights violations. In other words, Turkey was being pulled in opposite directions, and, sadly, the dark side has proved stronger so far.)

A second reason for Muslim silence is that the Chinese government crackdown on Uighurs is based on a premise that law and order can be restored by eradicating enemies of the government and traitors within a society. This is authoritarian language that most Muslim leaders understand well. It is their own language.

The third reason is that most Muslims who are likely to feel solidarity with their oppressed coreligionists think of the oppressors as “the West,” defined as the capitalist, hedonist, Zionist civilization led by the Great Satan. These Muslims, particularly the Islamists, believe that all of their coreligionists should unite with other anti-Western forces — a stance that evokes Samuel Huntington’s prediction of a “Confucian-Islamic” alliance against the West in his 1993 article in “Foreign Affairs” titled “The Clash of Civilizations?”

For Muslim autocrats and Islamists, a Confucian-Islamic alliance may still be alluring. China can look like a great model, in which the economy grows without Western nuisances like human rights, free speech or limited government. For Muslim societies, however, the Uighur crisis must be a wake-up call. It shows what can happen to Muslims when authoritarian governments embrace Islamophobia as state policy.

Islamophobia exists in the liberal democracies of the West, too — but there it can be criticized by the news media, checked by the courts and constrained by liberal institutions and traditions. Muslims can still practice their religion freely, and can even become lawmakers by being elected to bodies like the United States Congress.

For Muslim societies, in other words, a choice between freedom and dictatorship should not be too difficult. In freedom, you can live as a Muslim in safety and dignity. Under dictatorship, as China shows us, you can end up in a re-education camp.

03 Jan 2019/Thursday                                                                  Source: www.nytimes.com

“WHAT IS OUR IS OURS… WHAT IS YOURS, WE ARE WILLING TO DISCUSS!”

China’s approach to its ethnic diaspora and neighbourhood 

In these interesting times, where China is the biggest advocate for globalism and the open market access concept, the biggest eyewash has been China’s domestic and foreign economic policy. Readers and government policymakers across the world can easily find a common narrative in sync with the old colonialist concept of ‘uplifting the downtrodden’. Even if it means using the most coarse and unacceptable means to browbeat their own ethnic or non-Han citizens, China, for all its claim as a rising superpower, will have to and will pay for the mistakes of its own thug-like (read Xi) policies trying to ensure that it sustains its economic and political clout at all costs.“WHAT IS OUR IS OURS… WHAT IS YOURS, WE ARE
 WILLING TO DISCUSS!”

 A great nation does not try to step on its minorities but uplifts and engages them willingly, on an equal footing with responsibly to achieve a sustainable growth. Else, as history has proved, it will fail either because of widespread resistance to the national cause or because of the surety of forced insurgency against a state that does not respect the minorities. The handling of China’s Uighurs in the so-called autonomous region of Xinxiang is a classic example where the actions of China Communist Party (CCP) minions will and is already propelling ethnic Uighurs to take up arms to protect their dignity, beliefs and natural resources.

Why is China handling the Uighur issue so immaturely?

Communist China is no different from erstwhile Imperial China. The oft-discussed ‘Middle Kingdom Complex’ has been carried on by the Communists, with the hope of regaining China’s so-called ‘lost glory’ and to rewrite the narrative on pre-Communist China’s ‘Century of Humiliation”. To them, Tibet and Xinxiang are not an integral part of mainland China but still the ‘Western Areas’ inhabited by barbarians, who are duty bound, to provide China with natural resources and raw materials for the benefit of the majority Han.

In other words, China is visibly but unconsciously considering itself as an Occupation Force in Tibet and Xinxiang, much like Imperial Japan treated Western China during the pre-World War II era.

They are not able to or are unwilling to understand the change of age, awareness levels of the common netizen or the concept of the global community. As a result, even their diplomatic rebuttals are resounding echoes of Imperial Japanese diplomatic retorts… coarse, shrill, extremely unsophisticated and desperate.

 China needs to realize that in spite of being having only selected gates for outside world access, it is increasingly leaving itself open to attacks from within. No human community, irrespective of region, will surrender their identity and dignity. Trying to suppress it will only increase their determination to defeat their suppressors even with meager resources. This is amply reflected in the rise of the East Turkestan movement and their increased connections to any help they can get including Al Qaeda and the politically powerful terror outfits rampant within China’s own all-weather ally, Pakistan.

This is a dangerous threat that cannot be ignored by both China and the global community because the downtrodden do not care whom they hurt in their fight for their very existence. They naturally become willing fodder for extremists in the hope of gaining recognition for their cause. No amount of forced ‘re-education’ in Chinese concentration camps will deter them. They are aware that unlike the Middle Ages, you can no longer wipe out their documented culture and rightful inheritance, thanks to the Internet and oriental scholars who are no longer limited to China.

The Only Way Forward

China, as a nation, needs to introspect. There is no longer a ‘Middle Kingdom’ nor are there any more barbarians. The actions were taken as a result of China’s domestic and foreign needs to be validated by the global fraternity. They may not like it but in reality, this is the only way forward for sustaining China’s image and reputation. China is a great civilization with some of the most brilliant and hardworking population in the world.

But ignoring this aspect will slowly eat up China from within and subsequently leave them open to inimical forces from without. Free the Uighurs, respect them and engage them as equals and include them as an integral aspect of Resurgent China. This will enable growth, national pride and sustained development in Xinxiang.

Similarly, China needs to discard their neo colonist foreign policy of “what is our is ours… what is yours, we are willing to discuss!”. This discriminatory approach backed by increasingly hegemonistic military growth (read the South China Sea and CPEC through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) will backfire. If not now, then certainly at a time when China cannot afford it. Corrective policy decisions taken and executed now will propel China to the forefront of global powers where the world is looking for a guiding light. Else, it will remain a rogue in see-through gentlemen’s clothing!

 

14 Nov 18/Wednesday     Written by Fahd Khan

 

THE CHINESE SLAUGHTER CHINA’S DARKEST SECRET : ORGAN HARVESTING

In a sensational revelation by a former Chinese medical surgeon Dr. Enver Tohti to  Epoch Times, it has now come to light that Uyghurs detained in secretive “political re-education” camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region may be having their organs harvested for profit by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He disclosed that almost 23 years ago he was ordered by his chief surgeon to remove the liver and kidneys of a live prisoner in Urumchi, Xinjiang stating that the operation would fulfill his duty to eliminate the enemy of the state. Dr. Tohiti strongly believes that this practice of organ harvesting is now rampant in the Uyghur re-education camps.

“The CCP is stealing their organs,” he said, referring to the ethnic minorities in Xinjiang mostly Turkic-speaking Uyghurs. When asked why he believes this is the case, Tohti explained: “China can deliver organs on demand. When someone needs an organ, on that day, somebody will die.”

Omir Bekli, a victim of organ harvesting

 

Xinjiang-born Omir Bekli, 42, a Kazakhstan national since 2006, was taken to a hospital for a rigorous health check-up before being detained in a prison and then a “re-education” camp in Karamay for six months in March last year. “I was taken to a hospital and checked there for three hours they checked my DNA, blood, lungs, heart, kidney … everything, even my eyes. I was so scared because everyone in Xinjiang knows the Chinese government is heavily involved in organ harvesting – it’s an open secret.

“I was so scared they would kill me instantly to take my organs because it was such a detailed and sudden checkup that was my biggest fear at the time,” Bekli told The Epoch Times in a phone interview from Istanbul. Despite his fears, Bekli believes it is more likely that those without family members abroad will have their organs harvested. Perhaps the Chinese are afraid that if they take the organs of those with relatives outside of China, their secret might be exposed to the world,” he said.

Organ database building in re-education camp

From September 2016, Chinese officials in Xinjiang ran a campaign named the “General People’s Health Examination Project” or the “Physicals for All Project” offering free mandatory health checks for local residents aged between 12 and 65. Patients were forced to undergo examinations of the “heart, DNA, urine, and blood sugar using electrocardiograms, x-rays, and ultrasounds,”Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

“I suspect they were doing a tissue match—building an organ database. Nobody was spared, it was compulsory,” Tohti said. Similar health checks were performed on 90 percent of the population in Tibet in 2017, China’s state media Xinhua reported.

Epoch Times,Segregation of Uyghurs in re-education camps for organ harvesting

Another Kazakhstan national aged 54 who was released in September from a camp in Urumqi after being detained for 15 months told The Epoch Times from Istanbul that the CCP is dividing inmates in the facilities into two groups; those with and those without family members abroad. CCP officials are doing the viewpoint is so they can escalate their organ harvesting business, so they will kill those with nobody outside the country, with nobody questioning or asking about them. She said detainees without family members overseas are given uniforms “numbered on the backs” and are sent to the hospital for medical check-ups.

Earlier in December last year speaking before the Parliament in the UK,  Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, expressed concerns over the mass collection of biometric data stating that “This genetic information facilitates organ harvesting, making it easier to compare blood types and compatibility of potential Uyghur victims.”

Mass murder of non executed prisoner population

 A 2018 report by the New York-based China Organ Transplant Research Center (COTRC) found that “the number of voluntary donations is far from sufficient to supply the volume of on-demand transplants currently being performed.” Despite the gap between organ donations and transplants, China continues to deny claims that it is using its non-executed prisoner population for organ transplants.

In addition to the sheer volume of transplants, COTRC reported that hospital forms from 2006 for a liver transplant at Shanghai Changzheng Hospital stated average waiting times of one week, with the shortest being four hours.

“This is China’s darkest secret right now. How can they deliver organs in four hours? The only logical explanation is that they have plenty in stock,” Tohti said.

 

 

Denial of Islamic death rituals

It is alarming that the bodies of those Uyghurs who die in the “re-education” camps are never released to their families. A report by RFA published in June stated that Xinjiang officials were “rapidly constructing crematoria staffed by dozens of security personnel,” with the official website of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps listing up to $1.52 million in tenders for contractors to construct nine “burial management centers.”

So where are these bodies? If they’re not returned to the people if they’re not buried, where are they going? Probably CCP is burning the bodies in crematoria to deny Islamic death rituals to those who happen to die in custody.

Organ transplantation racquet in China

China has one of the largest organ transplant programs in the world. As a matter of culture and custom, however, China has extremely low rates of voluntary organ donation, therefore, most organs used in transplants are sourced from prisoners. The Chinese government approved a regulation in 1984 to allow the removal of organs from executed criminals, and in December 2005, China’s Deputy Health MinisterHuang Jiefu acknowledged that up to 95% of transplant organs came from executed prisoners.

Despite the absence of an organized system of organ donation or allocation, wait times for obtaining vital organs in China are among the shortest in the world often just weeks for organs such as kidneys, livers, and hearts.

This has made it a destination for international transplant tourism and a major venue for tests of a pharmaceutical anti-rejection drug.

Video Player
 

History is repeating itself in China. What happened to Falun Gong practitioners is now being faced by the Uyghurs. They are been exposed to a wide range of torture methods, including brainwashing, forced labor, racial discrimination, sleep deprivation, sexual violence, psychiatric and other medical experimentation, and most alarming of all forced organ harvesting.

 

Viewpoint

Nobody should be locked up for their peaceful religious beliefs.

What is surprising is that Muslim countries, usually so vocal on issues of the rights of their co-religionists, are unwilling to criticise China for this barbaric act.  Why is Pakistan not quashing its beloved all weather friends un-holy practices?  Why the leadership of Pakistan both military and political supporting an un-Islamic country? Are they blinded to what’s happening to Muslims in China or are they sold out? Given China’s growing international influence and economic ties with West Asia, there has been a little outcry about this war on Islam. Especially from “all weather” ally Pakistan, which lambastes India over Jammu & Kashmir, the silence on Xinjiang is deafening.

Therefore, it is necessary to uncover and ascertain any possible connect between forced disappearances of  Balochs in  Pakistan with this barbaric activity of ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in China.

 

 

06 Nov 18/Tuesday                Written by Afsana 

CHINA’S WAR AGAINST UYGHUR MUSLIMS

An all-out assault

Ethnic groups in CHINA

Undoubtedly, “ethnicity” is now akin to the national identity in China. However, for reasons more than but obvious, Uyghur’s – Sunni Muslims, a Turkic minority with stronger cultural links to Central Asia are desperately struggling to save their identity in their own home. Xinjiang (which translates to “new territory” in Mandarin), the resource-rich, far-western region home to more than 10 million Uygurs, earlier known as “Uyghur Autonomous Region” is now flooded rather “dominated” by waves of Han migrants from China’s heartland.

There are no human rights in Communist China and it quells all types of protests ruthlessly but the protests related to religion, secession, democracy, and terrorism are crushed more brutally. There are reports about the oppression of Christians and other religions but the Government-sponsored repression of Muslims all over China especially in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is unparalleled.

The population of Xinjiang has increased by eight folds, all thanks to the most liberal residency rules implemented in Xinjiang which is in total contrast to cities across China, where migration is strictly controlled, with new arrivals struggling for years to secure the all-important household registration, or hukou, entitling residents to education, healthcare, social insurance and more.

This experience of discrimination and sense of loss resulting from growing Han migration (who now account for more than half the population of Xinjiang) has clearly engendered a profound feeling of bitterness and alienation for the Uighur, in the ‘Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’.

Uncanny similarity between Hans and Punjabis

The case of Hans in Xinjiang is verily the same as that of Punjabi’s in Pakistan. A parallel to Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan for Punjab is perfectly orchestrated by the Chinese govt in Xinjiang – Hans are Chinese and China is Han

Pakistanis may not accept this, but it is a fact that the Punjabi domination (the bulk of the army and officialdom is drawn from this province and therefore the bias) of Pakistan has been the biggest obstacle in nation-building. By virtue of its population predominance, sense of martial superiority, and political and economic prowess, the Punjabis in Pakistan have treated the other provinces as their vassal states. The fact that historically and culturally the Sindhis and the Balochis are much older, is conveniently dismissed by the Punjabis similar to what the Hans are doing to the minorities in China.

Marginalization of Uyghur’s & Dominance of Hans

No statistics available after 2008

Historically, the agrarian civilization built by Han people was confined to the agricultural areas. Han people are both numerically and politically dominant in mainland China, Taiwan, and the city-state of Singapore; they also reside in nearly every country in the world as Overseas Chinese. The majority of the Han people are concentrated in the eastern half of mainland China. The only areas outside this region that are now predominantly Han are the islands of Hainan, colonized during the last thousand years; Taiwan, settled by Han during the last 400 years; and Singapore, colonized only since the nineteenth century.

Uyghur’s at the mercy of Hans

Ethnic tensions have persisted since the founding of the Peoples Republic (PRC) in 1949 and have been exacerbated in the last three decades by the steady migration of ethnic Han Chinese into Uyghur and Tibetan regions of China. In an attempt to ease ethnic tensions, the Chinese government has introduced a range of “positive discrimination” measures for ethnic minorities including the allocation of development funds to minority areas, the relaxation of family planning rules and easier university entrance exams for minorities. These measures have however led to resentment among the Han majority and have done little to ease employment discrimination against minorities.

In a 2011 study of 10,796 advertised job positions, researchers found significant discrimination against job applicants with ethnically distinct names. Only about half of the companies contacted had treated applicants equally regardless of ethnicity.

Chinese Crackdown on  Muslim minorities

Minorities face Employment discrimination in Xinjiang

Employment discrimination is pervasive and widely tolerated, practiced by both private employers and government institutions. Laws and regulations aimed at eliminating employment discrimination are hampered by technical shortcomings, ineffective enforcement and conflicting legislation and government policies that appear to promote, rather than discourage, the continuation of discriminatory practices.

Ethnic and religious minorities also face discrimination in the service sector, especially in low-level retail and restaurant positions where employers prefer to hire staff that appears more “familiar” and less “threatening” to Han customers.

Minorities face racial discrimination in Xinjiang

Approximately, 11 million Uyghur Muslims live in the Xinjiang autonomous region. However, the word, autonomous is misleading and there is no autonomy in the region. Thousands of Muslims are forcibly kept in detention centers and re-education camps. Human Rights Watch mention that 800,000 Muslims are languishing in these detention centers while Uyghur leaders residing out of China claim that more than one million Uyghurs are imprisoned. There were cases where both husband and wife were jailed and children were sent to overcrowded orphanages.

Another aspect of the cultural dimension that affects the Uyghurs’ societal positioning is the 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. Suddenly nearly every non-Han crime taking place in China is committed by Uyghurs. Recent years have seen violent incidents and ethnic clashes between these two groups, such as the Urumqi riot in July 2009, which resulted in the death of nearly 200 Han individuals.

Re-education camps

Analysts mention that Government agencies take a large number of Uyghur Muslims to these re-education camps and brainwash them against Islam and its teachings. At few places, de-radicalization and re-education centers are camouflaged as vocational training centers and even as educational institutions. A US-based non-profit organization claims that the Chinese Government maintains the profiles of minorities and persecutes them on mere suspicion.

Re-education camps

Chinese government’s justification that the crackdown on Uyghur’s is a pre-emptive measure; to stop China from becoming another Pakistan is disturbing and weak on many grounds. First, we try to dissociate minorities from their historical links, deprive them of their rightful resources, implement repressive policies to suit own interests, then scream terrorism and call them anti-national.
This sort of religious, cultural and economical intrusion is most definitely termed “ethnic cleansing” and not “ethnic unity”.

Viewpoint

Why are Muslim countries, usually so vocal on issues of the rights of their co-religionists, unwilling to criticize China?  Why is Pakistan not quashing its beloved all weather friends un-holy practices?  Why the leadership of Pakistan both military and political supporting an unIslamic country? Are they blinded to what’s happening to Muslims in China or are they sold out? Given China’s growing international influence and economic ties with West Asia, there has been little outcry about this war on Islam. Especially from “all weather” ally Pakistan, which lambasts India over Jammu & Kashmir, the silence on Xinjiang is deafening.

Kahlil Gibran had said “Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle. Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation”

15 Oct 2018/ Monday                                                              Written by Afsana

CHINA FEELS THE HEAT OF UYGHUR INSURGENCY IN PAKISTAN

Demands More Security For Chinese Ambassador to Pak.In a bizarre turn of events, China has requested the Pakistan government to increase the security of Mr Yao Jing, newly appointed Chinese ambassador in Islamabad, after the intelligence information that terrorists are planning to attack him. The focal person for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Ping Ying Fi, has identified Abdul Wali as the terrorist and also shared the details of his passport. Wali belongs to the banned East Turkmenistan Independence Movement (ETIM) an extremist group which largely operates in China's troubled northwestern border region of Xinjiang.

China has followed barbaric practice to deny every fundamental right to its Uygher Muslim population living in Xinjiang. As a result, China’s Xinjiang province is facing insurgency by Uyghur Muslims, which also have their historical links with the terrorist wing of ETIM. China has always suspected Pakistan of harbouring the ETIM terrorists but never came out openly blaming Pakistan. Pakistan on the other hand has played their cards deftly and always denied their existence on its soil. Incidentally Pak COAS has repeatedly claimed Operation Radd ul Fasad and Khyber IV as a huge success in many forums both nationally and Internationally. The latest request by China to Pakistan to provide more security to their Ambassador is a direct slap on the face of the government, Army and the notorious ISI.

CHINA WOOS BHUTAN WITH $10 BILLION IN STANDOFF WITH INDIA

After being locked in a two-month long border standoff with India and tiny Bhutan in the heights of  Himalayas, China is offering $10 billion in economic assistance to soften its stance. This may be seen as an offer to Bhutan to tone down its allegations that China is violating its territorial integrity.

The development may complicate Indo-Bhutanese relations, which blocked Chinese troops after Bhutan, India’s long-time security ally, notified New Delhi that the Chinese troops were attempting to construct a road in a part of the Doklam Plateau claimed by both China and Bhutan. Accusing each other of violation both the countries had a face-off since June. Hence, China wants to win over Bhutan to gain more credibility in the stand-off.

In June, Bhutan’s foreign ministry had already blasted China, saying that the construction work violates an agreement between the two countries. China is seen clearly wooing Bhutan in order to validate its presence in Doklam, wherein, India is seen to have sent troops only after Bhutan claimed that China had started construction work in Bhutanese territory. Beijing hopes that Bhutan will relinquish its claim to the disputed area, thereby obviating the need for Indian troops, which would then be violating Chinese territory.

Chinese Track Record in the region

The Chinese track record of similar loans with another Himalayan country Nepal has not been good.

In August 2012, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and CWE Investment Corporation, subsidiary of CTGC, signed an MoU to construct the hydropower project on river Seti. As per the MoU, the Chinese and Nepalese will have 75:25 Stake in the project with an estimated cost of $1.6 Billion. The NEA board immediately approved the agreement, but the Chinese did not move ahead until 2017, when Nepalese government threaten to pull back.

Similar is the fate of Kulekhani Dam project has three stages was scheduled to be completed costing about US$117.84 million. Construction work started in 2008 to be completed in 2011. Inspite of repeated warnings by the Nepalese govt the Project is yet to be finished by the Chinese contractor.

In the backdrop of Chinese failures in Nepal and other regional countries like Sri Lanka, Bhutan will have to decide which friend to choose: an age old friend or a friend with a lucrative bargain offer, which may not be beneficial to Bhutanese interest in the long run.