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The new geopolitics of the Uyghur movement

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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

Centenary of the Chinese Communist Party: 100 years of Prosperity and Greatness

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Since its establishment, the Communist Party of China has made many national contributions and has become the main engine of Chinese progress since the revolution led by Chairman Mao Zedong and the policy of reform and opening up pursued by Deng Xiaoping up to the era of achievements laid down by current President Xi Jinping. In conjunction with the upcoming centenary of the Communist Party of China on July 1, China will launch the Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft with three astronauts on board to the Chinese space station, whose construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, thus becoming the third country in the world to send humans into space with its own potential. Some political scholars from different backgrounds unanimously agree that the Communist Party is behind modern China, through the wise policy of governance and administration and the modern ideas presented by the philosophers of the Chinese Communist Party in economic and political structures and laying foundations for rational competition with countries and blocs opponents of China.

Within a hundred years, China has the second largest economy and is likely to rank first in the coming years, according to World Bank reports, a strong army that possesses advanced weapons capable of harming the enemy and achieving inevitable victories, a society in continuous prosperity through wise policy in poverty eradication and social welfare strategy, a fair and impartial political leadership. These and other elements of power were enough to transform China into a country that preoccupied the West and slew the most powerful countries. Some consider, out of ignorance, that communism is synonymous with backwardness and oppression, but the reality is otherwise. In communist China, human dignity is preserved and a person has value regardless of whether he/ she is poor or rich, and everyone shares the same rights and duties, in addition to freedom of belief and the practice of religious and social rituals. In some countries, cases of racial discrimination based on skin colour appear, the most recent of which was the George Floyd incident, which stirred the conscience of peoples, and cases of permanent indiscriminate killing and disrespect for public morals, which indicates a loophole in holding national security while claiming to maintain global security and spread the ideas of democracy.

The Communist Party of China has 91 million members from all over China, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency. This number indicates satisfaction with the party’s performance and the great public turnout to contribute to the promotion of its ideas and principles. But according to my humble Chinese experience, it is not necessary to be a member of the Chinese Communist Party to believe in and defend its principles. This party is linked to national identity and constant struggle, so it is enough for you to be Chinese to be represented by this party. The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921 as a political and revolutionary movement by some revolutionaries who laid its foundations and general principles, including Li Dazhou 李大钊 and Chen Duxiu 陳獨秀. These two revolutionary men emerged from the May Fourth Movement of 1919 and joined Marxism after the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917. During the turmoil across China in the twentieth century, some cadres of the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong 毛泽东, Liu Shaoqi 刘少奇 and Li Lisan 刘少奇, began organizing trade unions and founding the Chinese Revolution.

The Communist Party of China supervises the organs of government throughout China according to unified organizational rules and a centralized system of government. When this party was established in 1921, China was dominated by cases of political dependency and rampant extreme poverty. The Republic of China was established in 1912, but it was a weak and crushed country with no influence on the international community, and many groups at that time sought secession and independence. On May 4, 1919, the first public protest against the government was attended by more than three thousand students from 13 colleges in Beijing, denouncing the decision of the Versailles Peace Conference, which transferred concessions in Shandong Province from Germany to Japan. Under the banner of the Communist Party, the Chinese people have waged a long struggle to achieve national sovereignty and enhance China’s international standing at all levels. National dignity is not bestowed but gained. Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party has made great sacrifices in order to achieve national dignity and elevate China to the highest ranks.

Currently, all the streets of China are decorated with red banners that read “100”, the 100th anniversary of the founding, with the sickle and hammer emblem representing the Communist Party, and  posters of Lei Feng 雷锋, who became a Chinese national hero and symbol no less important than the founding cadres of the Communist Party. Also, giant pictures of Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers shouting to go to fight. All these pictures and advertisements raise the national spirit and patriotism of the Chinese people and increase their attachment to the Communist Party, which has become an inseparable part of history, present and future. China has the second largest budget allocated to the military after the United States, which indicates the Chinese leadership’s awareness of the great risks that China can be exposed to in parallel with economic and technological progress. A strong military is an essential part of preserving national sovereignty.

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East Asia

High time for India to Reconsider the One-China Policy

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Sino-Indian bilateral relations have seen major challenges in the recent years, beginning with the Doklam crisis to the current pandemic situation. The sugar-coated rhetoric of Beijing proved to be mere duplicity after tensions erupted along the Line of Actual Control where soldiers of both the states clashed in mid-2020, resulting in the martyrdom of several Indian jawans including a commanding officer. The other side also saw several casualties, though Beijing has kept the actual count under wraps. More recently, China suspended the state-run Sichuan Airlines cargo planes carrying medical supplies to India for 15 days citing the deteriorating situation in India due to COVID-19. This was after the Chinese government promised all the necessary help for India to battle the pandemic. 

The People’s Republic of China under the leadership of Xi Jinping has been maintaining an aggressive posture with India even while making calls for ‘maintaining peace’. Its support for all-weather friend Pakistan has attained new peaks when it proclaimed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor under the Belt and Road Initiative passing through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, a territory claimed by India, despite New Delhi’s staunch opposition. It is in the light of all these events that the calls of the strategic community in India to review the recognition of One China policy has gained some attention. 

India’s Sensitivity versus China’s Duplicity  

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) under the Communist Party of China (CPC) claims itself as the only representative of the Chinese nation including the territories of Tibet and Taiwan among others. Any country having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, also known as Republic of China shall be seen by China as challenging its sovereignty. The same parameter applies to any country recognizing Tibet or similar ‘autonomous regions’ under the Chinese control. This is known as the ‘One China Principle’ or ‘One China Policy’. India was one of the first countries to recognize the PRC in 1949 after the civil war as well as to accord recognition to its occupation of Tibet. However, China claims the whole of India’s Arunachal Pradesh as ‘South Tibet’, a claim that India has always rebuffed. Moreover, it occupies Aksai Chin which it captured during the 1962 war as well as the Shaksgam valley, ceded illegally to it by Pakistan in 1963.

Even after the war and the re-establishment of cordial bilateral relations, China has continued to repeat its illegitimate claims and nibble into India’s territory.  India’s protests fell on deaf ears and this is despite India recognizing the One China Policy. India stopped mentioning the policy since 2010 in its public announcements and publications, however, without repealing it. Taking undue advantage of this China pays little concern to Indian sentiments. This view in India, to challenge China’s One China Policy, has been strengthened by aggressive diplomatic postures of China as well as its regular incursions along the disputed border while continuing to support Islamabad on all fronts – overtly and covertly, encircling India. 

The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to give in to the bullying attempts by China by allowing the Army to go ahead with offensive countermeasures against Chinese incursions in 2017 as well as in 2020, in addition to taking measures including banning dozens of Chinese mobile applications. It has also started actively taking part in initiatives like Quadrilateral Dialogue as well as strengthening relations with ASEAN states. However, a dominant section within the strategic community in India feel that these measures are not enough to knock China into its senses. 

Challenging the One China Policy 

The most significant among the measures suggested in this regard has been to review India’s adherence to the One China policy. In an atmosphere where China does not recognize the One India policy comprising of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territories, experts argue the need of reciprocity. Initiatives such as providing greater global visibility and access for Tibetans including the 14th Dalai Lama, using Buddhist history and traditions as a trump card since New Delhi has the advantage of having the Dalai Lama on its side, provides legitimacy for India unlike China. India can facilitate the appointment of the next Dalai Lama and extend protection for the existing and the next Dalai Lama. The repeal of the recognition for Chinese occupation of Tibet can also send major tremors in Beijing but that seems to be a distant dream. The new democratic Tibetan government under President Penpa Tsering should be given greater official acknowledgment and publicity. India has already taken small steps in this regard by acknowledging the involvement of the elite Special Frontier Force (SFF), majorly comprising of exiled Tibetans, in a game changing operation to shift the balance against China during the recent border crisis. The funeral of an SFF commando attended by a Member of Parliament and leader from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ram Madhav was an overt signaling to China that Indians are not refraining from openly recognizing Tibetan contributions to the state of India. Another sensitive issue for China is the Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslims being allegedly tortured and deprived of their basic human rights in the ‘re-education camps’ by the CPC and a state sponsored genocide being carried out against them. India can take up the issue vigorously at international forums with like-minded countries, increasing the pressure on China. Similarly, the pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong, pro-Mongol movements such as the protest against Mandarin imposition in the school curriculum of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, can also be encouraged or given moral support. India, a country which upholds its virtue of unity in diversity must take a strong stand against the ‘cultural assimilation’ or ‘liberation’ as the Chinese say. This is nothing but cultural destruction imposed by China using the rhetoric of ‘not being civilised’ and branding the non-Han population as barbaric in China and the regions it illegally occupies.

India can also stir the hornet’s nest by engaging more formally with the Taiwanese leadership. Taipei has always been approached by New Delhi keeping in mind the sensitivities of China in mind. However, it does not have to do so for a power that bullies both the nations with constant threats and provocations by its action. It is a well-known fact that Taiwan is a center of excellence in terms of the semi-conductor industry and high-end technology. Engaging more with Taiwan will not only hurt Beijing, but also will help India counter the strategic advantage possessed by China in terms of being the major exporters of electronic goods and telecommunication hardware to India. India can also attain more self-sufficiency by boosting its own electronics industry using the Taiwanese semiconductor bases. India can use this leverage to shed its overdependence on China in critical sectors, balance the trade deficit to some extent, while also securing its networks from Chinese intelligence. India must also focus on working with the states having stake in the South China Sea such as Philippines and Malaysia who regularly face aggression in their airspace and Exclusive Economic Zones from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces and China’s maritime militia, questioning their territorial sovereignty, imposing the One China Policy. New Delhi must pressurize China by working with the western nations, whose legislators have openly declared support for the Tibetan President in exile, to question China’s occupation of Tibet and attempts at homogenizing the population. Long term measures and strategies will have to be sought to end the dependence on China while seeking alternatives and becoming self-reliant over time. 

However, India will face several serious challenges to implement the above-mentioned measures. There is a deep lack of mutual trust among major powers like USA, UK, France and Russia through whom India can build a coalition. The American President Joe Biden is seemingly interested in partly co-operating with China and has a softer stance unlike the former President Trump. Nevertheless, the QUAD is a welcome step in this regard and India must undertake a greater role in pressurizing China through such forums, albeit not openly. India also has a serious issue of possibly having to incur heavy economic losses on having to limit Chinese goods and investments and finding similarly cheap and easy alternatives. These fault lines are exactly what is being exploited by China to its advantage. Thus, the Indian state and its diplomacy has the heavy task of working between all these hurdles and taking China to task. However, since China seems remotely interested in settling the border disputes like it did with its post-Soviet neighbours in the previous decades and instead gauge pressure against India. So, New Delhi will have to pull up its sleeves to pay back China in the same coin.  

The views expressed are solely of the author.

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East Asia

Who would bell the China cat?

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If the G-7 and NATO china-bashing statements are any guide, the world is in for another long interregnum of the Cold War (since demise of the Soviet Union). The G-7 leaders called upon China to “respect human rights in its Xinjiang region” and “allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy” and “refrain from any unilateral action that could destabilize the East and South China Seas”, besides maintaining “peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits”.

China’s tit-for-tat response

The Chinese mission to the European Union called upon the NATO not to exaggerate the “China threat theory”

Bitter truths

Amid the pandemic, still raging, the world is weary of resuscitating Cold War era entente. Even the G-7 members, Canada and the UK appear to be lukewarm in supporting the US wish to plunge the world into another Cold War. Even the American mothers themselves are in no mood to welcome more coffins in future wars. Importance of the G-7 has been whittled down by G-20. 

Presumptions about the China’s cataclysmic rise are unfounded. Still, China is nowhere the US gross National Product. China’s military budget is still the second largest after the US. It is still less than a third of Washington’s budget to be increased by 6.8 per cent in 2021.

India’s role

India claims to be a natural ally of the G-7 in terms of democratic “values”. But the US based Freedom House has rated India “partly free because of its dismal record in persecution of minorities. Weakened by electoral setbacks in West Bengal, the Modi government has given a free hand to religious extremists. For instance, two bigots, Suraj Pal Amu and Narsinghanand Saraswati have been making blasphemous statements against Islam at press conferences and public gatherings.

India’s main problem

Modi government’s mismanagement resulted in shortage of vaccine and retroviral drugs. The healthcare system collapsed under the mounting burden of fatalities.  

Media and research institutions are skeptical of the accuracy of the death toll reported by Indian government.

The New York Times dated June 13, 2021 reported (Tracking Corona virus in India: Latest Map and case Count) “The official COVID-19 figures in India grossly under-estimate the true scale of the pandemic in the country”. The Frontline dated June 4, 2021 reported “What is clear in all these desperate attempts is the reality that the official numbers have utterly lost their credibility in the face of the biggest human disaster in independent India (V. Sridhar, India’s gigantic death toll due to COVID-19 is  thrice  the official numbers”, The frontline, June 4, 2021). It adds “More than 6.5 lakh Indians, not the 2.25 lakh reported officially are estimated to have died so far and at best a million more are expected to die by September 2021. The Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that actual Indian casualties may be 0.654 million (6.54 lakh), not the official count of 0.221 million (2.21 lakh as on May 6 when the report was released. That is a whopping three times the official numbers, an indicator of the extent of under-reporting”.

Epidemiologist Dr. Feigl-ding told India Today TV on April, 16, 2021 that “actual number of COVID-19 cases in India can be five or six times higher than the tally right now” (“Actual COVID-19 cases in India may be 5 to 10 times higher, says epidemiologist. India Today TV April 16, 2021).

Concluding remarks

India’s animosity against China is actuated by expediency. There is no chance of a full-blown war between China and India as the two countries have agreed not to use firepower in border skirmishes, if any. Modi himself told the All-party conference that not an inch of Indian territory has been ceded to China. In May this year, the Army Chief General M M. Naravane noted in an interview: “There has been no transgression of any kind and the process of talks is continuing.”

It is not China but the Quad that is disturbing unrest in China’s waters.

History tells the USA can sacrifice interests of its allies at the altar of self interest. India sank billions of dollars in developing the Chabahar Port. But, India had to abandon it as the US has imposed sanctions on Iran.

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