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The new geopolitics of the Uyghur movement

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] R [/yt_dropcap]ecently the Uyghur organizations abroad are increasing pressures to convey the image of China as a “State of torture”. We do no certainly want to deny that the Muslim population in Xinjiang, which at the time of Mao’s Long March was simply called “the Western Region”, does not tolerate some restrictions, but it is anyway true that the Islamist and jihadist networks are largely present in the region and that, as always happens in these cases, they have visible structures covering the invisible ones.

And not necessarily the visible ones are bigger than the invisible ones. The amount of “invisible agents” in the case of a terrorist and jihadist organization is far greater than you can think of.

Finally, while recently Greece vetoed the EU’s condemnation of China for its “repression of human rights”, it is equally true that the congerie of human rights is a cornucopia where you can put everything and the opposite of everything. Moreover, it is hard to establish a subjective and natural “law” without an equally universal and shared order placing it into a framework of binding rules.

Unfortunately the strict nature of Roman Law – the perennial sphere of every sound legal reasoning – is not so widespread as it would be currently needed.

Instead of the Latin Ratio, there is a new “right of feelings” or even of “impulses and drives”, which now characterizes the EU position – a law heir  to the one represented by the drunken leaders of the Germanic tribes under their oak.

A commercial, devised by the now endless private agencies safeguarding  said  “human rights”, has even created an artificial link between mass migration from Africa to the EU (but above all to Italy ruled by foolish  leaders) and torture.

Not to mention the implementation of the human rights ideology to the LGBT minorities in the West, as well as the use of this theory of human rights for the now huge masses of immigrants from Africa to Europe, or even to minorities that although existing for centuries, are used against Asia’s development projects, such as the Baloch people in Pakistan against the “Sino-Pakistani Corridor” and the Sindh and Punjabi ethnic groups between Pakistan and India, as well as the Kachin people between China and Myanmar, a region where China is also investing massively.

In short, the non-State areas among the largest nations are used as clockwork mechanisms to destabilize or regionalize major economies in a phase of economic growth.

And this is already a clue.

Obviously this applies also  to the Uyghur issue.

It is also worth recalling that, according to the Turkish police, the bomber of New Year’s Eve attack in Istanbul was an Uyghur – and Daesh-Isis mostly  uses Uyghurs for its actions in Turkey.

Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western China are all areas belonging to the region that has been identified as “Khorasan” by the Caliphate.

 In fact, the terrorist of the “Reina” nightclub attack in Istanbul was identified as an Uyghur, but with the significant name of Abu Mohammed Khorasani.

An Uyghur who had been trained in Syria, then returned to Xinjiang and later moved to Kyrgyzstan with his family. From there he had arrived in  Istanbul approximately one month before the attack.

According to the Chinese and Turkish security forces, at least 300 Uyghurs have become members of the Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate.

If we consider that, apart from training, every jihadist needs a protection and cover network of at least 40-50 people, we can calculate that there is a not negligible number of jihadists in Xinjiang.

Moreover, criminal gangs also regularly sell fake Kyrgyz passports to the Uyghurs fleeing Xinjiang to join the jihad.

There is already collaboration between Taiwanese and Uyghurs for actions against China, including non-military ones, while Rabija Kader, the founder of the World Uyghur Congress, would already like to proclaim the “East Turkestan Republic” against which, last March, Xi Jinping called for the construction of a “big steel wall” to control and isolate Xinjiang.

So far China’s policy towards the Uyghurs has been designed to integrate Xinjiang into the phase of fast economic expansion that has taken place throughout the country, as well as establishing shared security and economic relations with the neighbouring countries of the Uyghur region.

In the “New Silk Road” project, Xinjiang is seen as the primary corridor for energy and trade between mainland China, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Furthermore, we must also consider that one of the reasons that led to the war in Syria was the proposal made in 2009 by Qatar – an Emirate which is currently de facto at war with Saudi Arabia and many of its allies – for a gas pipeline from its North Field, at the border with the Iranian field, crossing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria up to Turkey, to finally supply the European market.

The following year, however, Bashar al-Assad decided to support the Iran-Iraq-Syria line, the so-called “Islamic pipeline” which, however, would have been an alternative to Gazprom.

Therefore, while this happened in Syria, with a careful management of internal chaos, of destabilization and of Gene Sharp’s technique of “nonviolent action”, that would be nothing compared to what may occur in Xinjiang to slow down, block and destroy China’s energy and economic project with the “New Silk Road”.

This is the second clue.

China will shortly invest 25 billion US dollars in the streets of  the region characterized by the old Turkmen ethnic group.

The Sino-Pakistani Corridor, another key Chinese project, starts with a  900 billion US dollar infrastructure investment for the Tashkurgan-Gwadar line – and once again the starting basis for the line, as well as most of its immediate borders, are at risk of jihadist terrorist infiltration which, however, will always have its natural platform in Xinjiang.

Let us not consider the do-gooding rhetoric of the European Parliament, which on June 22 last, with its EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, called for greater attention by the Chinese government to “civil society” (a concept fully alien to China’s old and modern political culture), as well as to the protection of “activists”, who are often agents of the enemy soft power, with a view to drafting or revising useless treaties.

Europe is a continent which cannot distinguish between friends and foes, neither its own nor its allies’.

A continent that will not last.

Moreover, the Uyghur region also has as many as 122 minerals, often with the largest reserves throughout China.

Even rare metal reserves, which are currently decisive for developing new information technologies.

Not to mention precious stones, gold, jade and salty materials which are needed for the production of glass and paints.

The same holds true for the 25 billion cubic meters of water, which are essential in the rest of China, with glaciers having a surface of 24,000 square kilometres, which could provide 2,580 million cubic meters of additional water.

It would be the solution to China’s huge water problem.

The Xinjiang coal reserves account for 38% of Chinese total reserves.

Currently oil and natural gas in the Uyghur region account for 25% of the Chinese total reserves.

And it is hard to believe that this region, which serves as a base and primary land corridor for the great Chinese Road and Belt project, cannot become the starting point triggering off a new “chaos strategy” in the near future.

This is the third clue.

Initially, the Uyghur terrorists of the Bishkek bombing and of the Urumqi revolt were largely trained in Pakistan.

Moreover, Al Qaeda trained Uyghurs in Afghanistan so as to send them back to their areas of origin to carry out terrorist attacks.

Furthermore, with a view to differentiating their energy sources from the increasingly dangerous Middle East, both China and Japan look to Central Asia’s oil and gas with great interest. China, in particular, needs a safe  corridor for the Azeri, Kazakh, Uzbek and Kyrgyz oil and gas.

Blocking the Xinjiang line or making it unsafe is the best way to force China to the prices, political tensions and military crisis of the Middle East countries.

Hence, incidentally, this is the reason underlying the farsighted Chinese policy towards Israel.

At geopolitical level, for the new Central Asia’s “big game”, the United States can rely on the only projection force of the Armed Forces, while the Russian Federation has the strategic advantage of its position and its long relations with many countries in the region. China has the chance of being the most capitalized country in Asia and also having Armed Forces capable of controlling the territory and projecting its power onto the Pacific and the South China Sea, as well as onto the South.

But it has a weak point, namely the great ethnic differences which, unfortunately, materialize above all on its borders.

At this juncture, we could consider for China a Horatii and Curiatii- style policy.

Separating the ethnic groups, making some of them friendly, while hitting the target minority with the necessary harshness.

Certainly, the participation of ethnic minorities in current China’s rapid economic development – as is currently already happening – is a further good strategy.

However, this creates a class of new wealthy people linked to the government, while the new impoverishment will inevitably create new insurgency areas.

Instead of believing in some “human rights” militants, paid by who knows who, it would be useful for Europe to tackle the geostrategic problem of  supporting Central Asia’ stabilization, by cooperating with the Sino-Russian axis to avoid the jihadist contagion and, above all, the contagion of the powers that support or use it.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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East Asia

The China Syndrome: The Rising And The Existing Power

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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China is a large country.  It has a large population, a productive population.  It has the largest Gross Domestic Product of any country in the world including the US on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.  It was $27.307 trillion.  A nominal GDP basis does not reflect the actual buying power of the currency.  China’s nominal GDP of $14,140 trillion is much less than the US, which is $21.44 trillion, both nominal and PPP as the dollar is the benchmark.  Since 1871, the US has been the world’s largest economy without question.  Now there is a question although the real question might be, so what?

Britain used to be the world’s foremost power.  No longer, yet Britain remains wealthy and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future, as will Europe and North America.  A couple of hundred years earlier to that the great powers were:  China, India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire.  The world changes. 

Among the problems President Trump has with China is its friendship with Iran.  Why that is a problem with Donald Trump is not some nefarious plan Iran has concocted to harm the US but the impression he has generated of he himself being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Benjamin Netanyahu and his LIkud party.

Thus Mr. Trump’s dead-on-arrival peace plan, to all appearances, had its birth on the drawing boards of the LIkud.  Iran happens to be Netanyahu’s nemesis and surprise surprise is also Trump’s.  A perfectly reasonable nuclear agreement bearing the imprimatur of the UN and the major European powers has been jettisoned by Trump in favor of saber rattling.  Europe is not cheeringly on board in this solo venture.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu feels free to start annexing the West Bank — at least the choice parts — and using it to shore up political support while he goes on trial for corruption.  He is the first sitting Israeli prime minister to be so besmirched in the country’s history.

The implacable Xi Jinping and the stubborn Donald Trump happen both to be making their respective countries great again.  Donald Trump claims he has succeeded using a metric known to him alone:  China’s effort is more prosaic.  Between 2014 and 2018 it put to sea more ships for its navy than the British, German, Spanish and Indian navies combined.  And it has embarked on a campaign for tighter control of its coastal waters.  The ship-building program betrays a clear intent to project power beyond coastal waters to the open seas in a challenge to the U.S., the present policeman maintaining open sea lanes.  China prefers complete independence. 

Then there is China’s bid to be a prominent player in the world of high-tech industry, a role that can influence future economic power.  Huawei and its 5G capability is one example.  But the Trump Commerce Department has issued new rules designed to choke off Huawei’s access to chips and semi-conductors that it needs to manufacture 5G cellphones and infrastructure.  These are made made mostly in Taiwan and South Korea, and the new export rules issued May 19, 2020 forbid chipmakers from using US machines and software to make and sell chips to Huawei.  It closes a loophole allowing such sales as long as the manufacture was outside US territory.  While Huawei plans alternatives, its customers in Europe and globally are likely to be affected by higher prices and delays.

The cold battle goes on.

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East Asia

From Patriotism to Humanity: China Leading the Fight of the COVID-19

Sabah Aslam

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The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has not only impacted human and social life in terms of disease and infection but also created a controversy in the international media and social network to the point that some western media fell into the trap of racism and xenophobia showing an unusual and an inhuman reactions, instead of solidarity and unity exhibition.

Since China is the first country infected with this virus, so it has already started its fight, the government as a leader has put a clear and effective strategy with successful measures of treatment, protection and prevention. In order to maintain the situation the government dedicated all kind of resources and today’s statics shows an increasing of the confirmed infections and death cases and a considered decrease of healed people’s number.

As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization’ Chief TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus has defended his earlier praise of China’s response to the outbreak and mentioned that all the member of the WHO has praised China for what it did by taking action in the epicenter, helped to prevent cases of being exported to other provinces in china and the rest of the world. This formal statement just confirmed the truth to the world about China’s reliability and the sacrifices made to safeguard the world.

All Chinese government’s management and measures wouldn’t be successful without the great response of the society. As a matter of fact we need to acknowledge the high level of patriotism of the Chinese citizens. No matter their social status;the military, police, engineers, workers, doctors and nurses, business and company owners, celebrities, civilians and ordinary people, students and volunteers, young-middle-old generations, all this people responded to the call of duty applied and followed meticulously all the recommended measures by the government, indeed by their own free will, they sacrificed wealth, made many donations, provided help and assistance donated free masks , free supplies, goods, food and even provided free services, and differently some people made a priceless contribution such the doctors, fully dedicated, working on clock on the front line risking and even sacrificing their lives to save other people’s lives.

Meantime, in the other side of the globe the coronavirus kept spreading, the virus is traveling the world it has no boundaries and it’s affecting the economy, the social life and the public health, it becomes a public enemy, presenting a threat especially for the African communities, in fact many of them they do not have neither the financial means nor a good health security. But since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Africa CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) took many actions and followed the Chinese in term of union and solidarity.

Indeed Africa CDC collaborated with the World Health Organization to train in-coming analysts in event-based surveillance. Also The Africa CDC has been working with member states to build infection prevention and control capacities in healthcare facilities and with the airline sector to support screening of travelers.

These prevention measures may help control the COVID-19, but African leaders still need to pay attention and follow suit to avoid an outbreak and not reproduce the Italian or Iranian scenarios. Recently, World Health Organization chief TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus warned about the efficiency of the prevention measures and said mediocre preparations could have fatal consequences. He also said the real struggle lies in management of the situation in case of an outbreak.

Generally, Africa doesn’t have a high level of public health. Many diseases and viruses have appeared on the continent, such as HIV, Ebola and tuberculosis. In order to fight and eliminate this threat, a number of African governments have increased expenditures allocated to health and started cooperation for health development with the Chinese government.

China promised to continue to scale up assistance to African countries by creating a health care intuitive allowing the African countries to achieve independent and sustainable development. The plan also contain a long-term strategy of health development, exchange of scientists and new research and technical support for strengthening health-related capacities under the International Health Regulations. China aim to improve African medical and health service and hospital management to provide a better services to the African people by training medical staff, public health workers and administrative personnel. Besides China promised to upgrade its medical and health aid programs for Africa, particularly flagship projects such as the headquarters of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cooperation’s plan shows the Chinese-African comity, the friendship and the mutual respect and we can clearly see that China is determined to the contribution in the development of the African nations. The actual epidemic situation of the COVID19 in Africa needs more attention and prevention, the collaboration precisely with china will be a wise action considering the Chinese experience of management, logistics, and organization to maintain the situation in case of outbreak and bringing out the best of the Sino-African alliance.

Despite that China is still fighting this epidemic in its own territory, the government express his readiness to help the other infected countries, recently the Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses sincere thanks for the support and assistance provided by many countries such South Korea and Japan, adding that China is ready to improve and strengthen the mechanism of responding to health and epidemic emergencies and promote the exchange of epidemiological information, exchange of experiences, prevention and control, to implement cooperation In the areas of diagnosis, treatment, research programs, and the development of medicines and vaccines.

China is acting heroically; in the middle of its own fight against the virus the PRC still showing gratitude and good will to help others countries. Till now Africa still has the chance to prevent and learn the Chinese experience, sadly some Africans countries still didn’t take serious prevention measures but China can provide the help and the assistance.

During the outbreak of the COVID-19 we all have seen the Chinese citizen showing patriotism and helping to maintain the situation, meanwhile the Chinese government have shown the same to the world, the lockdown was a strategy to stop the virus from spreading globally, if the Chinese government didn’t take the decision to lockdown cities and stop flights and traffics, experts confirmed that the COVID-19 could infect much more of global population, in fact it was a noble and human act, full of altruism and unselfish, all the matter was the human life.

Now China jumps to the next step which is helping the affected countries and proposing ways of preventions, sharing the genetic code for the virus with researchers around the world and providing medical trials information, treatment, and research programs for the development of medicines.

It’s time for solidarity and support and to have hope. This is a matter of life or death, and China can fight against the outbreak with the rest of the world to the safety…. to restore faith in humanity.

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East Asia

Predicting the course of US-China relations in the post Covid-19 era

Ayush Banerjee

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Authors: Ayush Banerjee and Dhritiman Banerjee*

The coronavirus pandemic is a natural threat to the geopolitical order. And it is needless to state that this majorly affects the currently international paradigm in a manner that the world has not seen before. Although there have been a few instances where pandemics have shaken the mortality rates, no pandemic has spread this amount of sheer panic among the public at large. This is largely due to the growing interconnectedness and the advent of the cyberspace. Just as the internet has influenced the lives of the most privileged public, data has been influential in academics and politics alike. However, this argument has its own set of problems that continue to affect public-politic relations in ways more than one.

In the same regard, one of the most strained and keenly debated relations in international politics is that between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China. In the context of the virus itself, the virus originated in Wuhan, a province in China while the most number of fatalities have resulted in the United States of America. This idea fuelled with the new world media at the public level created an atmosphere of tension on such platforms. On Twitter notably, there were several instances of a tweet naming Covid-19 as ‘Chinese Virus’ spread like wildfire. This sparked a major controversy even at the diplomatic level. Even Donald Trump momentarily subscribed to the idea and deliberately worded his speech to use the phrase ‘Chinese/China virus’ to refer to Covid-19 at least 20 times between March 16th and March 30th 2020. The US Secretary of State- Mike Pompeo went on to accuse China of its lack of transparency, even scrapping a joint G7 statement after its members refused to refer to the virus as the ‘Wuhan virus.’ China has remained apologetic ever since. Hence, it can be rightly inferred that the relationship shared between China and USA have strained ever since the Covid-19 outbreak.

However to predict how the outbreak might jeopardise the current paradigm of world politics we must look no further than the Phase One Trade deal signed between the two countries. This deal previously ended an 18-month long trade war between USA and China. Through this deal, China committed to purchasing $200 billion additional foreign goods and services in the sectors of agriculture, energy and manufacturing. However, it is evident that in the post-Covid19 era, it will be rather implausible for China to adhere to the terms of the deal due to reasons more than one. The IMF estimated the reality of an unprecedented economic slowdown in which China is expected to grow at only 1.2% this year. Several reports suggest that investors are planning to pull out their investments from Chinese industries to fit in with the Western bandwagon.

The outbreak turned pandemic coupled with the authoritarian nature of China’s response to the entire situation has had a detrimental effect on their domestic economy creating various tremors in the anticipation of demand for various products and services. For instance, the 12 most Covid-19 affected countries account for over 40% of the Chinese exports. Nations like India and Italy that also make that list of twelve may voluntarily pull out of importing to China as they are set to gain from deferring of investments. These nations are also top suppliers of intermediate goods for the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is quite dependent on external demand stimuli from the US and most western European states such as the United Kingdom. Therefore, until the point in time the US and EU economies completely recover from this pandemic, Chinese policymakers are bound to hold back domestic stimulus efforts as it will only have little effect if the global economy is in shambles.

The Chinese economy has crippled down considerably due to the ongoing trade war that has led to a disproportionate ratio of debt to the annual Gross Domestic Product. This ratio reached an overwhelming 248.8% by the end of March 2019 and it has only increased ever since. China has also been forced to restructure the debts of the Belt and Road initiative (erstwhile OBOR). This restructuring meant that the capital owed to China as loans by the contributing states have been readjusted to affect the projected collection considerably. As Covid-19 nearly decimates the economy of most developing nations, it is becoming increasingly difficult for these states to pay their loan back to China within the stipulated timeframes. Thus adding to the stress on the Chinese economy at large.

There has already begun a region-specific boycott of Chinese goods and industries, especially in conservative parts of USA, among the southern districts. Instances of racial abuse against ethnic Chinese communities have been on an unfortunate rise. These are all deterministic factors of public consciousness, if not, public opinion for the future that lies ahead of us. This reaction has already seen international spillovers and investors have become more anxious about investing in Chinese companies.

According to Deepanshu Mohan, the world may experience radical shifts in the global political economy post-Covid19 based on two factors namely, the relative degree of economic recovery in the affected nations and the existing domestic political scenarios in such nations. He further states that in the post-Covid19 era, protectionist trade policies are likely to increase in the developed nations who in the name of ‘supply security’ may disentangle trade relations with China which will inversely affect the current geopolitical world order. Donald Trump could also make the pandemic a focal point in the 2020 election campaign and therefore aim to capitalise on the anti-China fervour in the US and thus strain relations even further. There lies evidence for this as well. Trump recently presented his anguish towards China being categorised as a ‘developing’ state under the World Trade Organisation list and due to the low contributions of China to the World Health Organisation. Although this may seemingly appear appropriate accusations, this is far from the whole truth. The USA, themselves have cut major proportions of its funding capacity towards the United Nations especially concerning peacekeeping and security operations.

Minxin Pei, on the other hand, stated that the Covid-19 outbreak has led the average American to view the Chinese political system with chronic scepticism as Americans blamed the repressive Chinese political system for the pandemic with the Harris poll indicating widespread American dissatisfaction with the alleged Chinese cover-up of the virus. This poll also showed overwhelming support for US punitive measures on China and the removal of US investments and businesses from China. These developments could lock the two countries into a cycle of escalation that could trigger another potential international diplomatic conflict leading to numerous security issues and economic degradation. USA and China remain the two largest economies in the world. Hence, it can be inferred that this fallout of diplomatic and economic ties between the two states might amount to significant damage in the entire global political order and the globalised system of economies and markets. In the US itself, the number of jobs created since the recession in 2008 has been washed away in two weeks.

The trade war between the two economic giants had already shaken the world before the outbreak. And the prevalent fault lines will only widen in the post-Covid19 era just as a global economic slowdown is expected. Thus, it is imperative for the world economy that this US-China relation remains amicable and stable. However, the available narratives indicate a significant detour from the ideal stability that USA and China should normatively maintain to protect the global economy from crumbling down like biscuits. The USA has resorted to legislations that are actively anti-China in terms of financial relations and international trade while China has strengthened its protectionist response system both politically and economically during this outbreak.

The Covid-19 outbreak has not acted as an impediment to Chinese aggression in the South China Sea region either. China has recently renamed 44 features in the disputed region, a decision that is considered illegal under international law. This has been time and again criticised by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. With increasing US-China missile competition a reality in the region post the abrogation of the INF treaty, the post-Covid19 era will likely see more prominent conflicts in the South and the East China Sea regions which is a strategically important waterway for both the countries alongside other nations such as Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

*Dhritiman Banerjee is an undergraduate student at the Department of International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He has recently published for the Millenniumpost, a Kolkata based newspaper as well as contributed to publications like the Geopolitics and South Asia Monitor. His interests lie in International Relations in general and Strategic Studies in particular.

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