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Home / Contributor / Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal / Communist authoritarianism: Oppressed Muslims in China!

Communist authoritarianism: Oppressed Muslims in China!

By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

Authoritarianism knows no barriers and limit to push through its anti-humanity agendas, terrorizing and killing those who oppose or do not support the regime.

Though it has come too far from the communist path, china cannot tolerate any signs of diversions, or freedom of worship and speech that do not promote communist ideology.

Unfortunately, Islam has been the target of everybody else and Muslims are being butchered by the enemies of Islam world over. Capitalists and imperialists, colonialists, and those who pretend to be real “friends” of Islam and Muslims also hate Islam, insult and injure Muslims. Many Muslims hired by the foes of Islam also spread falsehood about Islam and are willing to help destroy all mosques to appease anti-Islamic tyrants.

For Israel, Europe, and America Islam is an predictable and serious threat because Islam survived their joint operations for centuries. US-Israeli joint hoax on Sept 11 2002 in New York have made the Muslims vulnerable to enemy attacks globally.

For China, Islam is a major threat to its existence.

China-Uyghur Muslims1On June 4, Chinese security personnel swamped Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing massacre. Foreign journalists were ushered away from the square and passers-by were searched and had their papers checked. In recent weeks, the authorities have detained dozens of activists to ensure their silence on the anniversary.

Hundreds of thousands gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to call for political reform on June 4, 1989. Protesters remained in the square for weeks while a power struggle raged within the ruling Communist Party. Hardliners prevailed and gave the order to remove the protesters by force; hundreds were massacred in nearby streets. The protests were the biggest rally against Communist rule since the People’s Republic was founded in 1949.

The 1989 protesters wanted political reform, but the crackdown was ordered after hardliners won a power struggle within the ruling Communist Party. The authorities classify the 1989 protests as counter-revolutionary riots and hold no memorial. In Hong Kong thousands are expected to take part in a Tiananmen remembrance rally. Activist groups in Taiwan are also marking the anniversary by erecting a huge image of Tiananmen Square during the crackdown.

A Chinese paramilitary policeman (R) watches as an ethnic Uighur family passesby outside the Grand Bazaar in the Uighur district of the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang region on July 14, 2009. A mosque was closed and many businesses were shuttered a day after police shot dead two Muslim Uighurs, as ethnic tensions simmered in restive Urumqi.   AFP PHOTO / Peter PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

From 1978, China opened up its economy to the world, but Communists maintained total control over politics, allowing corruption and oligarchs maintaining a strong hold decision making. USA which talks too much about human rights violations in oil rich Islamic world and elsewhere, and launched aggressive wars for regime changes in Mideast, does not really care to make Beijing behave well with its own people.

In the weeks before this year’s anniversary, the Chinese authorities have detained lawyers, journalists and activists. Internet search terms related to the 1989 massacre and the protests have been blocked, and access on Google has reportedly been restricted. Rights group Amnesty International said in a statement that 66 people had been detained, questioned, or have gone missing.

When China behaves so ruthlessly with majority Hans China community, one can image how does China, its military and police, deal with Muslims in the country, especially in Muslim dominated Xinjiang region.

China maintains strict religious policies across the country, and Islam is not exempt. For example, children under the age of 18 are forbidden from practicing religion. According to Greg Fay, Project Manager at the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), these laws are more lax in other regions, but are enforced with an iron fist against the Uyghur in Xinjiang.

Though Islam in China has enjoyed a robust revival in recent years, the Uyghur are facing growing oppression. More people are being arrested for online religious activities, such as watching religious classes online or searching for religious texts, in Xinjiang than ever before. “The policy in Xinjiang has become more and more rigid.

Uyghurs complain of religious, cultural and economic persecution by China’s Han-dominated government in Beijing and, much as Tibetans do, struggle to preserve their culture. Ostensibly to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism, China restricts the ability of Uyghurs to travel.

China-Uyghur Muslims3Standing taller than China’s native Han population, the Uyghur minority remains an oppressed community- oppressed by the Chinese regime and majority Chinese Hans. The Uyghur do not look ethnically Chinese. Their thick eyebrows, dark facial hair, and generally darker and slightly more olive toned complexion immediately mark them as physically different from their neighbors. The fact that they speak their own Turkic-based language, Uyghur, which is written in an Arabic script, does not help their image of being “the other” in China’s nationalist narrative.

Moderate Sunni Muslims who practice a form of Islam heavily influenced by Sufi brotherhoods, Buddhism, and East Asian ideologies, the presence of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region can be traced back to the eighth century. Like many peoples of Central Asia, their experience was shaped by war and conquest. Now, more than half a century after Xinjiang officially became a part of greater China, the Uyghur, who account for slightly fewer than 50 percent of Xinjiang’s overall population, are still treated like strangers. They remain oppressed.

The government’s efforts to crack down on Islamic violence began in 1998 with the “strike hard” campaign. Although this campaign was national in scale, in Xinjiang, it was solely focused on the Uyghur population. These security measures still result in hundreds of Uyghur arrests annually.

Later, in the post 9/11 era, Beijing took advantage of the global culture of fear surrounding Muslims, and branded the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uyghur terrorist group that some experts doubt even exists, as a terrorist organization. In August 2002, during a period of increased U.S.-Chinese cooperation, the U.S. State Department added the virtually unknown ETIM group to its list of terrorist groups. It was removed soon thereafter, presumably because of a lack of evidence.

Most Uyghurs in Xinjiang aren’t looking for independence. Even the expat Uyghur community isn’t.” Rather, what they seek is equality and opportunity. Thus, even the stated mission of what is currently referred to by the Chinese government as ETIM comes into question. There’s no compelling evidence that they represent a movement that presents substantial military threats to China.

There is no question that Islamic radicalism exists in Xinjiang, but its dimensions and impact remain unclear. China created a correlation between Uyghur violence and religion because the Uyghur are religious. But perhaps that’s not the motivation at all. Take three of the major alleged Uyghur separatist attacks that have happened in the last few years: the Urumqi riots in 2009, the Tiananmen Square attack in October 2013, and the Kunming knife attacks in early March this year. The first two were economic protests turned violent, in which the initial protests didn’t necessarily have radical Islamic elements but were expressions of mainline frustration with the government.

Xinjiang holds many untapped natural resources such as gas and cotton. In 2000, the Chinese began an aggressive campaign to develop and modernize its west, focused on Xinjiang, both as a way to expand the nation’s wealth and as a way to acquire more resources. As part of this project, the government has poured millions into Xinjiang.

While Xinjiang has become significantly more prosperous and modern in the last decade, the development programs have only widened the divide between Han Chinese and the Uyghur. The jobs created from this new economic boom have been filled by Han Chinese immigrants from the east looking for opportunity. These immigrants have reaped much of the benefit from the development, fostering Uyghur resentment against the state.

With this context in mind, the Urumqi riots of 2009 cannot, by any means, be attributed to Islam. The Urumqi Uyghur gathered to protest authorities’ inadequate response to a reported attack on Uyghur factory workers carried out by Han Chinese workers. The protest quickly became a call for equal economic opportunity. No manifestation of Islamic extremism and the riots were the cry of an oppressed, destitute people.

Xi’s platform of creating a unified China with equal economic opportunity could solve the violence in Xinjiang. If he manages to foster inclusion in Xinjiang to help the Uyghur transcend their current economic reality, he might well be on his way to ushering in a new era of Chinese leadership.

It is time, China, in keeping with global popular aspirations for speech rights, ended human rights violations to have a n iron hold on the masses of modern world. After all, Beijing is on its way to capitalism through mixed economic strategy.

Since the USA provides leadership in fighting Islam and killing Muslims, China also pursues anti-Islam policy in its own way, persecuting its own Muslims disregarding the principle of justice.

Enough of terrorization of international politics and harming the genuine interests of Muslims! Islamic sentiments of Muslims need to be respected by all means.

[Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal is Specialist on State Terrorism; Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); Independent Analyst; Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements (Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). He is also former university Teacher. He can be contacted at abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com]

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