Posts tagged ‘East Turkestan’

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The OHCHR’s “Xinjiang Assessment” causes Beijing a practical Headache


Probably one of China’s vocational schools (click picture for source)
There have probably been few high-ranking UN officers who know better what human-rights violations are, than Michelle Bachelet, the 7th United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who left office yesterday, after presenting the OHCHR Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. And if there were statistics, it could well turn out that many of those who attacked her for being slow  (or worse) in publishing the OHCHR Assessment were close ideological neighbors of those “Chicaco Boys” who had Ms Bachelet – and her mother – tortured in Chile, in 1975.

Every paragraph of the Assessment is worth to be read carefully. It provides information about how China’s “judiciary” and extra-judiciary systems work. China itself has no face to lose anymore, but the report also contains a line that must have been really severely contested between the OHCHR and Beijing, because of the practical effects it may have on Chinese officials:

The information currently available to OHCHR on implementation of the Government’s stated drive against terrorism and “extremism” in XUAR in the period 2017- 2019 and potentially thereafter, also raises concerns from the perspective of international criminal law. The extent of arbitrary and discriminatory detention of members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim groups, pursuant to law and policy, in context of restrictions and deprivation more generally of fundamental rights enjoyed individually and collectively, may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.

It is unlikely that any criminal “tigers”, i. e. high-ranking officials, will ever be arrested because of human-rights violations in their capacity as Beijing’s henchmen in Xinjiang – but lower-ranking “flies” have always been a different story. To maintain its system of terror and intimidation, Beijing must keep its “flies” assured that they will be protected by the mighty Chinese Communist Party.

That’s how the OHCHR report may provide a glimmer of hope for Uyghurs, and how it may cause a headache for Beijing.

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Note

“The Journey never ends”, M. Bachelet, August 31, 2022
“Firmly opposes”, PRC Mission, August 31, 2022

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Friday, May 13, 2022

Uighurs yesterday is Han Chinese today

Tweet by Yaqiu Wang, Human Rights Watch, May 12, 2022

Click picture for tweet


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Related

“Uighurs Today is the Han Chinese peoples’ Tomorrow”, August 19, 2018
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Thursday, March 3, 2022

Forgetful Fury

There’s a lot of talk about China feeling uneasy about Russia these days – which may be so.

But don’t expect China to support any measures that could topple Russia’s regime. For one, they need Russia on their side if they try to invade Taiwan: politically for sure, and militarily (in terms of arms supplies or other kinds of technical support), probably. Also, it is generally useful to have a permanent backer at the UN Security Council (if the Chinese ambassador there forgets his smelling salts, for example, and passes out at a critical moment for feeling uneasy, next to Russia).

If you know China’s North Korea policy, you’ll know it’s Russia policy even better. North Korea is a disaster zone with missiles, and Russia is a gas station with missiles, working warheads, and veto power. And with tanks, obviously, but that doesn’t matter to China.

If China did anything that toppled Russia’s regime, it would be inadvertently.

But there’s another reason for China’s reservations, too. China’s regime is much worse than Russia’s. It’s fascinating how easily the hell named Xinjiang has been forgotten on the international scene. Do those who ask China to condemn the invasion of Ukraine really know who they are talking to? Do they want to prove the obvious, because they know the answer? Or do they hope for a moderating effect of Beijing’s unease, on Moscow’s killing spree?

The last point would be the likeliest. But it doesn’t look like a gamechanger either.

Be mad at Moscow, if you have to, but don’t be forgetful.
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Related

We cannot even die for a cause like them, Uyghur Times, March 2, 2022
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Sunday, January 9, 2022

Press Review: Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Speech comforts the Bereaved


Guanchazhe newsitems on home page today (Sunday):

1) Tianjin is considerate — netizens, inasfar as their comments aren’t removed – praise the municipal authorities, including the Tianjin Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Department, for timely information,
2) a woman whose brother lost his life in military service (in East Turkestan) got wet eyes when listening to Xi Jinping’s new year’s speech (清澈的爱、只为中国), and
3) an academic currently in America who believes it’s in the Chinese genes to help each other.

Guanchazhe online, Shanghai, Jan 9, 2022

Guanchazhe online, Shanghai, Jan 9, 2022

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

China’s Hate for the Free Flow of Information: Fascism is the absolute Principle

More than fourty years ago, China started policies of reform and opening up. The latter part is often overlooked, but the Chinese authorities had to find new ways to deal with a greater flow of free information, or, as Deng Xiaoping put it, “when you open the window, you can’t stop the flies and mosquitos from coming in, too”.

Despite the ostentatious nonchalance, the party made great efforts to keep the flies out anyway. Really inquisitive international press was only available in international hotels or airports, and shortwave broadcasts from the outside world remained heavily jammed. And to this day, “Uncle Policeman” will take care of the rest of the flies.


Uncensored info, hence harmful

Shut up, we don’t care

What the CPC may not have hoped to achieve though was a fairly successful immunization program against flies. They achieved it anyway. This vaccine’s effect is that it makes most Chinese people ignorant – or nearly ignorant – of information deemed undesirable by the party. Around 2008, “Anti-CNN” propaganda rose – at least partly, it seems – from the Chinese grassroots. On the eve of the Beijing Olympic Games, Chinese people appeared to be simply fed up with bad news about Tibet or Xinjiang, no matter if true or not, and any lapse in any overseas picture editorial room was gladly taken as proof that news about uprisings in China’s Tibetan or Turkic colonies were fake news.

But the real sources for the willful ignorance lie deeper. For one, there’s a natural desire of people to be proud of their country, even if there is little reason for that, and that seems to be a particularly strong desire in some East Asian countries.

Then there was an actual source of pride: China’s rising economic and political power, and a series of economic crises in the West. In the minds of many, might made right if only it led to even more might for the motherland.

Not all Chinese nationalists deny that Tibetans or Turkics are going through hell. Rather, they believe that they deserve no better, and that “those guys” had been pampered by their Han rulers for too long.

Obviously, that kind of news isn’t fit to print or be broadcast by China’s “Global Times”, or CCTV. It is enough that people know that their party’s “toughness” on “terrorism” knows no limits, and that resistance is futile.
The latter bit is immportant, too, because Han people, too, have grievances. They must not even dream of getting a verdict in their favor, when the party says “no”. The brutal message from the top is targeting “national minorities” for now, but as Rebiya Kadeer said in 2018, “Uighurs’ today is the Han Chinese peoples’ tomorrow”.

For the more general public inside China – the news has to be more subtle.
While the faces of many of the cadres “interviewed” by CCTV about their “ethnic work” speak volumes, the message itself is that the loving care of the party for the masses earns itself enthusiastic reactions.
The essence of these domestic news: resistance is futile, but then, there’s no reason for resistance, anyway, is there? Our cultural massacres are a beautiful garden.

And for audiences outside China, plain denial is the only possible answer – if that turns out unsuccessful, you can still try to sell the camps in East Turkestan as “vocational schools”.

Shut up and join us – you are part of the United Front

What strikes me most is the wide-spread preparedness among overseas Chinese people to take part in Beijing’s disinformation work.
A desire to be proud of the motherland may be one motivation for that, just as it has been among Chinese at home and abroad since 2008.
Intimidation may be another. As Joanna Chiu noted in a recent article for the “Toronto Star”,

Beijing leaders truly feel anyone of Chinese descent is fair game and they have a right to curtail their freedom of speech years or even generations after they settled abroad.

What Joanna Chiu wouldn’t write either, but what has to be said, is that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” isn’t socialism. It’s full-blown fascism.
Let me apply some of Matthew Lyons definition (the link will take you to more paragraphs):

Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism based on either racial or ideological solidarity across national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged nation or race.

When you encounter people on Twitter who dedicate many hours of their days to support Beijing’s disinformation work, they won’t necessarily be paid by Beijing. To think that to be the only explanation underestimates Beijing’s success in immunizing its underlings against unwelcome information. You aren’t necessarily dealing with troll factory products. You may be dealing with real-life fascists.

Shut up – you are doing it, too

To enter discussions beyond a few tweets with them may or may not be worth the trouble. In my view, it can be instructive to debate with them when you are aware that “your” side – the West, Japan, India or what have you – are no foreigners to disinformation either. But you won’t get much out of debates with fascists when you can’t stand justified criticism of racism, injustice or other deficits of the society you belong to (or feel you belong to).

On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel discouraged by such expedient “criticism”. When a reported million of Uyghurs is or was in internment camps, some individual stories that emerge internationally may indeed be fake news. China is “re-educating” its nationalities – Han included – on a massive scale, so obviously, some editor will pick the wrong photo or the wrong person.
What you should be aware of is Beijing’s nihilistic script. “You do it too, so even if we did commit atrocities (which we don’t, it’s all fake news), it would be nothing worth to be reported.”
It’s not the West that is running a massive brainwashing program against its own people, it is China that does so. It isn’t the West that is threatening war on its neighbors; it is China.

And while there are places in the West and elsewhere in the world that are rife with racism and bigotry, those aren’t usually run by the state as they are in China. Even most of the “pro-China” guys you meet on Twitter, whitewashing China’s crimes against human rights, would choose a life as a black person in the U.S., rather than an Uyghur’s life in East Turkestan, if they had to choose.

But they can’t admit that. After “a century of humiliation”, they feel that it is time for some fun. After all, they are consumers, too, and “me, me, me & now” is the absolute principle.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Ethnic Work, enthusiastic Reactions (1)

As reported by China Central Television’s (CCTV) main evening news on August 29, CPC secretary-general Xi Jinping’s speech on ethnic work at the Central Ethnic Work Conference in late August has met with an enthusiastic echo from the masses and cadres of all national ethnicities. The following are translations of some of that enthusiastic echo. Every quote is linked to the news program’s online video.


Link 1, 03′ 28”, Wang Yanzhong (王延中), head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology:

Secretary General’s important speech is a concentrated and innovative, summarized and purified expression of our ethnic work in the new era. Even more so, we continue to promote the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. It is especially the promotion of new strategic deployment in the building of ethnic affairs management systems and management abilities.
中国社科院民族学与人类学研究所所长王延中:
总书记的重要讲话是我们新时代民族工作在实践中创新,总结,提炼的一个集中表达,更是我们继续推进新时代中国特色社会主义现代化建设。尤其是在民族工作领域推进民族事务治理体系和治理能力建设的新的战略部署。



Link 2, 03′ 50”, Zhang Mou (张谋), head of the National Affairs Commission’s research department:

We will thoroughly study Xi Jinping’s thoughts concerning the strengthening and improvement of ethnic work, profoundly grasp the work rules shown in the “twelve musts”, firmly seize the distinct central theme of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities, and promote the new era party’s high-quality development of ethnic work.
我们将深入学习总书记关于加强和改进民族工作的重要思想,深刻领会「十二个必须」所揭示的工作规律,牢牢把握铸牢中华民族共同体意识这条鲜明主线,推动新时代党的民族工作高质量发展。



Link 3, 04′ 10”, Maulati Yibulayin [phonetic spelling], a vice director of Xinjiang Uighur “autonomous region’s” Ethnic Affairs Commission:

As ethnic workers, we must profoundly understand the spirit of the Secretary-General’s important speech, and, with the forging of a sense of community among China’s ethnicities as the central theme, guide the continuous improvement of the ethnicities’ recognition of the great motherland, the great Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics.
新疆维吾尔自治区民族事务委员会副主任地力毛拉提‧依布拉音
作为民族工作者,我们要深刻领会总书记的重要讲话精神,以铸牢中华民族共同体意识为主线引导各族群众不断增强,对伟大祖国,中华民族,中华文化,中国共产党,中国特色社会主义的认同。

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Part 2 is there.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

FMPRC Press Release re Taliban visit: “the East Turkestan Islamic Movement is an international terrorist organization”

The following is a translation of a press release by the Chinese foreign ministry. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link: Wang Yi meets with Abdul Ghani Baradar, person in charge of Afghanistan’s Taliban political committee

On July 28, 2021, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Tianjin with Abdul Ghani Baradar, person in charge of Afghanistan’s Taliban political committee, who is on a visit to China with a delegation. People in charge of the Talibans’ religious committee and propaganda committee are travelling with Baradar.

2021年7月28日,国务委员兼外长王毅在天津会见来华访问的阿富汗塔利班政治委员会负责人巴拉达尔一行。阿塔宗教委员会和宣传委员会负责人同行。

Wang Yi said that China is Afghanistan’s biggest neighbor, has always respected Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, has always maintained non-interference in domestic politics, and always pursued a friendly policy to the entire Afghan people. Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people, Afghanistan’s future and destiny must be in the hands of the Afghan people. America’s and NATO’s hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan actually symbolizes the defeat of America’s Afghanistan policy, and the Afghan people now had a major opportunity to stabilize and develop their own country.

王毅表示,中国是阿富汗最大邻国,始终尊重阿主权独立和领土完整,始终坚持不干涉阿内政,始终奉行面向全体阿富汗人民的友好政策。阿富汗属于阿富汗人民,阿富汗的前途命运应该掌握在阿富汗人民手中。美国和北约从阿仓促撤军,实际上标志着美对阿政策的失败,阿人民有了稳定和发展自己国家的重要机遇。

Wang Yi pointed out that Afghanistan’s Taliban are an influential military and political force in Afghanistan, showing promise to play an important role in the peace, mediation and reconstruction process. It was hoped that the Afghan Taliban would put attach most importance to the national and the people’s interests, hold high the banner of peace talks, establish peace objectives, establish a positive image, and pursue a policy of tolerance. All factions and ethnic groups should unite unanimously, genuinely implement a principle of “Afghans lead, Afghans own”, promote the process of peace and mediation to achieve substantial results, independently establish a broad and tolerant government structure that corresponds Afghanistan’s national conditions.

王毅指出,阿塔是阿富汗举足轻重的军事和政治力量,有望在阿和平和解和重建进程中发挥重要作用。希望阿塔以国家和民族利益为重,高举和谈旗帜,确立和平目标,树立正面形象,奉行包容政策。阿各派别、各民族应团结一致,真正把“阿人主导、阿人所有”原则落到实处,推动阿和平和解进程尽早取得实质成果,自主建立符合阿富汗自身国情、广泛包容的政治架构。

Wang Yi emphasized that the “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” is an international terrorist organization listed by the United Nations security council and an immediate threat to China’s national security and territorial integrity. To crack down on the “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” is a common responsibility of the international community. It was hoped that the Afghan Taliban would draw a firm dividing line between themselves and the “East Turkestan Islamic Movement” and similar organizations, to apply resolute and effective strikes, clear out obstacles for regional security, stability and development cooperation, play a positive role and create favourable conditions.

王毅强调,“东伊运”是被联合国安理会列名的国际恐怖组织,对中国国家安全和领土完整构成直接威胁。打击“东伊运”是国际社会共同责任。希望阿塔同“东伊运”等一切恐怖组织彻底划清界限,予以坚决有效打击,为地区安全稳定及发展合作扫除障碍,发挥积极作用,创造有利条件。

Baradar expressed thanks for the opportunity to visit China. He said that China had always been a good trustworthy friend to the Afghan people, and praised China’s just and positive role in the Afghan peace and mediation process. The Afghan Taliban were sincere in striving for real peace, wanted to work together with all sides in a commitment to the establishment of a broad and tolerant government structure accepted by the entire Afghan people, with a guarantee for human rights and the rights of women and children. Afghanistan would not allow any forces to use Afghan territory to do things that would endanger or harm China. The Afghan Taliban believed that Afghanistan should develop friendly relations with its neighbors and the international community. The Afghan Taliban hoped that China would participate even more in Afghanistan’s peace and reconstruction process, and play a big role in future Afghanistan’s economic development. The Afghan Taliban would also make efforts of their own to create an investment-friendly environment.

巴拉达尔对有机会到访中国表示感谢。表示中国一直是阿富汗人民值得信赖的好朋友,赞赏中方在阿和平和解进程中发挥的公正和积极作用。阿富汗塔利班对争取和实现和平抱有充分诚意,愿与各方一道,致力于在阿建立广泛包容、被全体阿人民接受的政治架构,保障人权和妇女儿童权益。阿塔决不允许任何势力利用阿领土做危害中国的事情。阿塔认为阿富汗应同邻国和国际社会发展友好关系。阿塔希望中方更多参与阿和平重建进程,在未来阿重建和经济发展中发挥更大作用。阿塔也将为营造适宜的投资环境作出自己的努力。

Also on the same day, assistant foreign minister Wu Jianghao held talks with Baradar and his delegation and had in-depth exchanges of ideas about matters of common concern, enhancing understanding and broadening consensus.

同日,外交部部长助理吴江浩同巴拉达尔一行举行会谈,就共同关心的问题深入交换了意见,增进了了解,扩大了共识。

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Related

Promising Profits, Febr 19, 2018
Syrian oppositionals visit China, Febr 17, 2012
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Genocide – an adequate Term?

Evidence without much psychological effect?
Click picture for source

In 2018, Adrian Zenz, a Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington D.C., published evidence that Chinese authorities “re-education camps” in East Turkestan. Under the weight of evidence, including leaked documents from within China’s authorities, Beijing doesn’t deny the existence of such camps. Instead, members of China’s political class refer to them as “vocational schools”.

In a show that it takes Zenz’s publications seriously, Beijing included him in a blacklist of ten European scholars and lawmakers, in March 2021.

Zenz and many critics of China’s repression of ethnic minorities say that the policy on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities constitutes genocide. But there’s a catch, at least in Zenz’s case. In an interview with Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zenz said that for exiled Uyghurs, genocide was

… the only word that expresses adequately what they are going through as a people. For what is happening there, there is no adequate category. It doesn’t fit well into existing pigeonholes. Merely in accordance with the UN Convention it is difficult to talk about genocide, because one would have to prove that China intends to annihilate a significant share of the Uyghur population. There is only scant evidence for that.

… das einzige Wort, das richtig ausdrückt, was sie als Volk durchmachen. Für das, was da geschieht, gibt es keine richtige Kategorie. Es passt nicht gut in bestehende Fächer. Rein nach der Uno-Konvention ist es schwierig, von Genozid zu sprechen. Denn man müsste nachweisen können, dass China die Absicht hat, einen bedeutenden Teil der uigurischen Bevölkerung zu vernichten. Da ist die Beweislage jedoch sehr dünn.

Still, Zenz advocates the use of the term “genocide”, because of its “strong psychological effect”.

It is tempting to do so. As Zenz says himself, this could lead to change for the oppressed. But it misleads those under this effect.

China’s “Communist” Party claims to base its policies on science. That’s clearly not the case. But there is also reason to doubt that the West’s worldview is still based on its heritage of Enlightenment. You don’t brainwash people by claiming genocide where it doesn’t exist. But you manipulate them.

As urgent as change for the Uyghurs is, you don’t bring about sustainable change by calling a deer a horse. You don’t bring about change when you leave political decisions to corporations- like Volkswagen’s choice to run a car plant in East Turkestan. You don’t bring about change without informing the public accurately, teaching your children some basic values, and without trying to be truthful. And you don’t bring about change if corporations determine politics, rather than the other way round.

Trying to achieve psychological effects is nothing new. There is no lack of guides and advice about how to “engineer consent”. But doing so has adverse effects on a free society, without helping the oppressed. People are oddly aware when you  cheat them, even if they can’t tell how it is happening.

Such an approach isn’t only ethically questionable, but unpractical, too. Even the best intentions can create low-trust societies. At home, that is – not where the crimes are happening.

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