The good Uighurs

In July 2009, in Urumqui, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, 160 people were killed, 800 were injured, most of them Han Chinese. Beijing accused Uyghur Rebiya Kadeer, a US-based business woman and vice president of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), of organising the uprising.

In March 2014, men dressed in black attacked people with knives at the railway station in the city of Kunming. They killed 29 travelers and injured 130. The police spoke of a terrorist attack by Uighur separatists.

These are two examples of a long series of attacks classified as terror by the Beijing government. In January 2001, China published data on terrorist attacks in Xinjiang for the first time. According to the list, attacks had already taken place up to 2001, in which 162 people were killed and 440 injured. Michael Clarke from the Australian National University in Canberra has critically reviewed this list. He concludes that there are indeed ambiguities and contradictions in the data. However, he does not doubt the existence of at least ten armed radical Islamic Uighur groups, including the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement”, which cooperated with Al Qaeda. The goal of these groups was and is to destabilize Xinjiang with terror and liberate it from Chinese rule.

For decades, Beijing has watched with growing concern the influence of Saudi Arab fundamentalism on the largely Sunni Uighurs. The influx Uighur jihadists to radical Islamic organizations in the Balkans, Chechnya or Afghanistan has been documented. President George W. Bush added some Chinese Uighur organizations to the list of terrorist organizations after 9/11 and imprisoned a number of Uighurs in Guantánamo.

The Chinese government fears that a Syrian scenario could emerge in Xinjiang. In Syria, the Saudis, together with Qatar and the NATO countries, had used a peaceful protest movement for their purposes and supported an armed uprising that has resulted in a civil war that has now lasted for ten years.

Our media hardly inform about such Chinese fears. The same Swiss newspapers, which spare no investigative effort to locate an" Islamist danger " in Winterthur or elsewhere and search for every jihadist like a pin in a Swiss haystack, have never found it necessary to say more than a few words about the terror of Uighur extremists in Xinjiang.

The constant concern about human rights violations in China (and in Russia) does not seem credible if human rights violations in the friendly states of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Egypt do not lead to sanctions. China and Russia serve as one-sided targets. Because the ranks behind the new Cold warriors in Washington are to be closed. Zbigniew Brzezinski and" America’s strategy of domination " are still a political Bible.

A Uyghur monument in Istanbul

In 1995, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then mayor of Istanbul, inaugurated a small monument in a corner of the Blue Mosque park. The brick obelisk bears a plaque that reads: “In honor of the Martyrs of East Turkestan”. East Turkestan is the name given by Uyghur activists to the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The monument commemorates Isa Yusuf Alptekin, the founding father of the Separatist Uighur movement. During the Civil War, Alptekin sided with Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang, which was supported militarily and financially by the United States to prevent a victory of the Communists. In 1949, Mao Tse-Tung’s Red Army marched into Xinjiang without a shot being fired. The Kuomintang troops practically joined the Communist People’s Army. Alptekin fled to Turkey.

From Istanbul he devoted his life to the fight against communism and for the independence of the Uyghurs. He found massive support on the part of radical Turkish nationalists and among nostalgics of a new Ottoman Empire. He was welcomed with open arms by the far-right party of the Nationalist Movement (MHP) and its militant arm, the Grey Wolves, which are classified as terrorists in some Western countries.

Erdogan said at the inauguration of Alptekin-monument: “East Turkestan is not only the homeland of the Turkic peoples, but the cradle of the Turkic history, civilization and culture (…) The martyrs of East Turkestan are our martyrs.“Uyghur belongs to the language family of the Central Asian Turkic peoples. Many ethnic groups from Turkey to China and Siberia speak variants of this language family.

Heavily loaded ratio

The short period in which the Uyghurs had their own state for the last time lasted from November 12, 1944 to October 20, 1949. It was the Republic of East Turkestan in the north of present-day Xinjiang, supported by Stalin. It defined itself as Islamic. In statements by leading clergymen it was said that the Uyghurs had shaken off the yoke of the Chinese oppressors with the help of Allah.

During this time, radical Uyghur groups carried out ethnic cleansing, which according to consistent estimates by historians had resulted in the expulsion or massacre of most of the Han Chinese in the region as early as 1945. The Kuomintang, then ruling in Beijing, responded with great repression and in turn tried to mobilize the traditional Islamic uyghurs of the oases in the south against the pro-Soviet uyghurs of the northern districts. These were times of extreme violence, and one must know this in order to understand how heavily the relationship between Han Chinese and Uighurs has been historically strained. The repression under Mao’s Cultural Revolution has certainly not improved the relationship between Beijing and Xinjiang.

A CIA man in Xinjiang

Since Mao Tse-tung came to power, the US has tried to organize ethnic minorities in opposition to the communist government in Beijing, especially in Tibet, northern Burma and Xinjiang. These attempts varied in intensity and determination. The goal, however, has always been and continues to be the destabilization of China and regime change in Beijing.

Douglas Seymour Mackiernan was the first agent of the then newly founded Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to die in the course of his duties. He was shot in 1950 while trying to enter Tibet from Xinjiang. The US Air Force colonel had previously installed a system of highly sensitive microphones in the border area of Xinjiang that could catch the sound waves of atomic explosions and approximately locate the test site. With the help of this system and measurements of air radioactivity in the region, the USA came to the conclusion in August 1949 that the Soviet Union had detonated its first atomic bomb in Kazakhstan.

Since 1949, opposition groups in Xinjiang have been striving for independence. That is their right. According to the UN Charter, however, they are wrong when they allow themselves to be financed and politically instrumentalized by a foreign state that views China as an enemy power and militarily arms against China-in the concrete case of the USA and its NATO allies. It is also questionable whether the autonomy movement has a solid anchorage in the population of Xinjiang. Thus, the largest Uyghur opposition formation, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), claims to represent the interests of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The WUC consists of exiled Uyghurs, who are little legitimized. And many residents of the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang may not even know the name of this” World Congress of Uyghurs " with its headquarters in Munich, Adolf-Kolping-Strasse 9.

The Washington-funded World Uyghur Congress

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is an independent grassroots organization that advocates for the human rights of the Uyghurs in China. In reality, the umbrella organization founded in 2004 with 33 branches in 18 countries is largely financed by the USA and is closely linked to the policy and strategy of the NATO states. WUC leaders have a curriculum as employees of propaganda media founded by the CIA during the Cold War, including Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

From the very beginning, the main funders included the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a foundation established by the US Congress and largely supported by US taxpayers ' money, which is known for its funding of dissident groups and “color revolutions” in countries where Washington wants to overthrow governments (Regime Change). According to NED, more than eight million dollars have flowed into the WUC and its network since 2004, including Campaign for Uyghurs, Uyghur Human Rights Project, The Uyghur Transitional Justice Database Project, China Free Press, etc. This, however, is likely to be only a fraction of the actual sums that go to the Uighur dissidents “for the promotion of democracy in China” under various forms of accounting by Western governments. Such information about financial flows must be searched on the Internet for a long time. They are not of interest to the leading Western media.

The WUC boasts on the homepage of its numerous contacts to the European Parliament, to the Western governments, to the major media, to the UN. The success of his “human rights campaign” is phenomenal. The claim that the Uyghurs in Xinjiang are cruelly oppressed has become a matter of course, which every TV presenter and news anchor is as safe from the lips as the traffic news.

However, there is probably no conflict worldwide in which the accusations of political activists and propagandists and the representations of internationally recognized China experts diverge as widely as in regard to Xinjiang. Many of the latter take a very critical view of the Communist People’s Republic, but none can fail to note that China has invested as heavily economically in none of its regions in recent years as it has in Xinjiang. Xinjiang is experiencing an economic boom and the material quality of life of the residents has improved significantly. The project of the new Silk Road (One Belt, one Road) has given Xinjiang, a region rich in natural resources, an enormous increase in tourism, infrastructure and processing industries and has raised the income of the once poor population above the Chinese average.

The Uighur opposition argues that this economic upturn does not benefit the Uighurs. In fact, with the increasing demand for labour, many Han Chinese have flocked to Xinjiang, so that the population structure is shifting to the detriment of the Uyghurs. When looking for work, Uyghurs are often disadvantaged because they do not speak Chinese well. Economically and socially, Han Chinese are increasingly setting the tone. Defenders of minority and human rights see the Uyghurs rightly in distress.

Holocaust: A proven Propaganda Club

Uyghur activists and with them the US government spread that in Xinjiang Uyghur culture is being systematically wiped out and a genocide is taking place. This is an immeasurable exaggeration and degradation of the actual genocides. Genocides occurred during the Second World War, during which around six million Jews and tens of thousands of Sinti and Roma were murdered, or in 1994 in Rwanda, where the Hutus killed around 800,000 Tutsis.

There are no signs of a massacre in Xinjiang. There is also no convincing evidence, let alone evidence, for systematic, organised rape and torture in the closed Uighur camps. This does not exclude that there has been and will be gross misconduct in individual cases.

If you don’t follow the propaganda machinery of the WUC, but independent China researchers, you get a more nuanced assessment. Wolfram Elsner from the University of Bremen, for example, recalls a realization of the ancient Greeks and Romans: “Slander only brazenly, something always gets stuck.” The Western media had"hardly dealt with the up to 10,000 or 20,000 Uyghur terrorists on the side of IS and other Stone Age terrorists.” The fact that they are not interested in the bloody terrorism in Xinjiang is hardly surprising. Terrorism in the West is “not fundamentally condemned, but always pragmatically-tactically evaluated according to power and geopolitical usefulness”. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had already spoken in his China book in 2011 about “possible effects of Islamist terrorism on Xinjiang province”.

The leading Western media paint a different picture. They spread almost exclusively representations of the Uighur opposition and the WUC based in Germany. According to them, Xinjiang is a cemetery of the oppressed. In addition to individual fates, horror stories are also reported, which are hard to beat in terms of quirkiness. For example, the chairman of the Belgian “Uighur Council” reported to an ARD correspondent in Brussels on 25 September. According to a statement issued on March 15, half of Xinjiang’s population is held in camps that can be compared to “concentration camps,” and that “the Chinese sell people’s organs on the black market as halal for Muslim countries.”

The Holocaust wording is a tried and tested instrument that Western politicians have repeatedly used to paint images of the enemy and justify “humanitarian military interventions”. Rudolf Scharping told the press during the Balkan crisis that he had information that “the Serbs play football with the heads of their enemies cut off.“And the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer justified the bombing of Serbia with the slogan “Never again Auschwitz”.

Western correspondents who recently visited the Xinjiang region report that daily life gives the impression of normality. In any case, the ambience is not comparable to conflict areas such as Kosovo or the West Bank. SRG China correspondent Martin Aldrovandi, certainly not a friend of the Beijing government, said that there was hardly a military presence on the streets. Others want to have seen the opposite, according to Felix Lee of Berlin’s"taz”. He experienced “grave silence"and” armored vehicles on the streets”. Although he could not find any of the “re-education camps,” he wrote in his report for Amnesty International that even though “exact figures are not known,” one knows “from testimonies” that there are millions of internees, brainwashing and torture. The Amnesty report is titled: “In the Land of the Invisible Camps”.

However, China’s government is contributing to the growing accusations against China, including the genocide, because it does not allow journalists or human rights organizations to freely research in Xinjiang and travel to self-chosen places.

In the collective consciousness of the Han Chinese, the Uighurs, in contrast to the Chinese-speaking Hui Muslims, are strongly anchored as a threat. Accordingly, China is taking drastic and uncompromising action to eradicate the radical terrorist groups. The Uyghur population has little opportunity to evade extensive surveillance and to defend itself legally against arbitrariness.

“Stop the madness before it’s too late”

Forces in the West, declaring China to be the number one competitor and enemy, are slaughtering the internal Chinese conflict with the Uighurs for fueling the Cold War. The targeted creation of enemy images suits the arms industry over and over. Warner there are few in the desert. In France, on March 11, former generals and other senior officers of all weapons categories wrote Osama Bin Laden of the West Jens Stoltenberg in an open letter: NATO must stop cultivating the enemy images of China and Russia. Europe should seek cooperation with Russia and China, instead of letting the US dictate scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons and developing the NATO military alliance into an instrument of world domination, as envisaged in the strategy “NATO 2030”: “Il faut stopper ce train fou avant qu’il ne soit trop tard”.